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Crispy Butterflied Roast Chicken

by roselevit

My favorite way to meal prep a lot of meat for the week is to roast a whole chicken. If I’m the only one eating it, it’ll last a long time.

I almost never roast chickens whole because it takes a long time and results in dry, chalky breasts. Instead, the method I like to use is butterflying, also known as spatchcocking, where you remove the backbone and roast the chicken splayed flat so that it cooks evenly. It results in every part of the chicken being perfectly cooked, tender, and juicy.

Drying the chicken and adding a liberal amount of spice are key to getting perfectly crispy skin. I used a basic combination of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sweet paprika, but you can experiment with any spice combination that you prefer.

NOTE: don’t use olive oil to coat the chicken. Olive oil has a low smoke point, so it’s better for salad dressings and other things that aren’t heated. If you coat the chicken with olive oil, you’ll be hit with a wall of smoke when you open the oven door. Instead, use a higher heat oil or fat. My favorites are avocado oil and melted clarified butter (ghee), but you can also use vegetable oil, canola oil, peanut oil, etc.

Crispy Butterflied Roast Chicken

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Servings 4 people


  • 1 whole chicken giblets removed
  • High heat fat such as avocado oil or clarified butter
  • 1.5-2.5 tbsp sea salt
  • 1-1.5 tbsp black pepper
  • 0.5-1 tbsp paprika
  • 0.5-1 tbsp garlic powder


  • Preheat the oven to 425º F and position a rack so that when you put the chicken in, it'll be in the center of the oven. Rinse the chicken and pat the outside dry.
  • Lay the chicken breast-side down on a cutting board. Use a boning knife or a pair of kitchen shears (preferred) to remove the backbone by cutting along either side of the bone and pulling it free. Dry the inside of the body cavity, then flip the chicken over and use the heels of your hands to flatten the breast bone so that the chicken lies flat.
  • Prepare the spice mixture: to a small bowl, add the sea salt, black pepper, garlic, and paprika. The amounts I gave are estimates, so you can adjust them depending on the size of the chicken. Stir to combine. Drizzle in the oil or clarified butter until the mixture forms a thin paste.
  • Coat the chicken liberally with the spice paste. No need to coat the bony cavity, but make sure to cover all the skin.*
  • Place the chicken on a roasting pan, cast iron pan, or wire rack set above a roasting pan. Roast for 40-60 minutes, beginning to take its temperature with a meat thermometer after 40 minutes. Once the internal temperature reaches 165º F (measured on multiple parts of the bird), remove from the oven.
  • Let sit for 5-10 minutes, then carve and serve.


*You can marinate the bird in the spice mixture for 1-12 hours before cooking for more intense flavors. 
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