Wednesday, April 22, 2020

How to Spatchcock a Chicken: A Step-by-Step Guide | 蝴蝶式全雞開邊法

For many a seasoned home cook, roasting whole chicken may be like a walk in the park; but for the vast many others, me including, roasting chicken instills a certain fear. There is often that most daunting fear that the chook cooks unevenly, with the breast turning into rubber while the drumstick runs pink; the hassle of turning, flipping, and then the basting; oh, and the long wait. For yet others, there is the issue with size - their oven is so petite that it can barely accommodate even a small bird lying on its tummy. Trust me, I have been there, done that. Nothing feels more comforting than a juicy roast chicken on a Sunday, yet for the longest time I have denied myself this ultimate pleasure for fear of failure and hassle.

This was all about to change when I learned how to spatchcock a chicken, which is just a fancy way of saying to butterfly a chicken. By removing the backbone from tail to crown and laying the chicken flat like an open book, you essentially turn something three-dimensional into two, not only creating a more even surface to cook evenly, but also exposing more skin, which crisps up nicely under high temperature - and who doesn't go nuts over crispy skin?! (Those who discard and push the skin to the edge of the plate, pass them over please.)

Another main advantage of spatchcocking a chicken is faster cooking time, whether on the grill or roasting in an oven. Time after time, I will have a perfectly juicy, tender roast chicken ready in just 35 minutes - a whopping third faster than roasting a chicken whole. Additionally, a butterflied chicken makes a wonderful palette for marinating, given the easier access to the cavity and exterior.

A whole chicken from the supermarkets in Hong Kong typically comes with the full package - head, neck, feet and all but the giblets. Spatchcocking is like operating a surgery. For first-timers, the process may get you a wee bit queasy especially with the poor bird staring back at you. Memories of dissecting a dead frog in biology lab may flash back. Go ahead, chop the head off and discard it out of sight to calm the guilt but never do so without giving thanks. If anything, spatchcocking a chicken allows us to be just one step closer to understanding and appreciating the animals that feed us. And if this step hasn't converted you into vegetarianism yet, go on and proceed with a pair of sharp kitchen shears.

Advantages of spatchcocking:
•  More even cooking - consistently tender and juicy
•  Greater surface area for crispy skin
•  Short cooking time - approx. 35 minutes
•  No flipping and turning necessary
•  Great for marinating
•  Perfect for both oven roasting and grilling
  Excellent for smaller ovens
•  No carving necessary - just section the chicken off when serving
•  You get to practice CPR
At the risk of sounding exaggerated, I dare say learning to spatchcock a chicken was positively life-changing. Consistent, juicy results every time. All my fears for roasting chicken dissipated, and not for a second do I consider going back to roasting a chicken whole, ever.

此不再恐懼烤全雞!把雞剪開成蝴蝶狀,使全雞在同一個平面及相同的厚度均勻受熱,除了大大縮減烤焗時間,更能每次都做出嫩滑多汁、皮脆可口的效果!— 拖延已久,終於完成了這一個小小的 tutorial 跟大家分享不敗烤雞秘訣 : 

{ A Step-by-Step Guide: Let's Begin }

Grab your kitchen shears

Pat your chicken dry. Remove and discard the head and neck. Cut feet off at the joint of the drumstick. Set aside.

Cut along the backbone

Starting at the tail, cut along one side of the backbone with kitchen shears. Make the cut as close to the spine as possible.

Remove the backbone

Repeat on the other side of the spine toremove the entire backbone from neck to tail.

Trim and clean

Trim excess fat and clean out the cavity. Reserve backbone and feet for stock or freeze for later use — do not discard!


Flatten the chook

Now, on to my favorite step: "give CPR". With breast side up, press down firmly in the middle of the breastbone to flatten the bird — you will hear a sensational crack. This step is dangerously satisfying.
「心肺復甦術」: 雞胸向上,用掌心於胸骨中央用力壓一壓,隨即會聽見「啪啦」一聲,將全雞壓平。

Get under the skin

For maximum flavor, you want to get your marinade under the skin. Carefully use your finger to create pockets between the skin and the flesh in the breast and thigh. Be careful not to break the skin!

You've just spatchcocked!

Well done — your chicken is now relaxed and ready for the marinade and the grill!

Do you like to roast your chicken whole or spatchcocked?
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