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Spatchcocked Chicken with Herb Butter by Michelle Tam / Nom Nom Paleo https://nomnompaleo.com
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5 from 2 votes

Spatchcocked Chicken with Herb Butter

One of my favorite weeknight dinner hacks (literally) is to have a spatchcocked and dry brined chicken ready to go. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, gluten-free, keto, low carb, paleo, Whole30
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 569kcal
Author: Michelle Tam


  • 1 4-pound whole chicken
  • 1 tablespoon  Diamond Crystal kosher salt  not all salts are the same!
  • ¼ cup softened butter ghee, or fat of choice
  • 1 tablespoon salt-free herb-blend of choice


  • Grab you chicken and remove the extra bits hidden in the cavity. I normally reserve the heart, gizzards, and neck for bone broth, and you should, too.
  • Next, spatchcock the bird. With a sharp pair of kitchen shears (and yes, the Kershaw Taskmasters are my fave), cut out the backbone of the chicken by making parallel cuts along each side of the spine.
  • If you hit a bone that’s hard to crunch through, swing the bird around and cut from the neck hole side instead. Once you remove the backbone, save it for that bone broth you’re going to make.
  • Use your shears to snip a shallow incision in the cartilage on the back of the breast bone. Then, use both hands to firmly press down to flatten the chicken. (The splayed-open chicken should now look the facehugger from Aliens.)
  • Flip the bird (tee hee!) skin-side up, and use your fingers to gently separate the skin of the chicken from the breast and thigh meat to create pockets. Make sure you don’t tear any holes or detach the skin from the bird entirely.
  • Measure out the salt in a ramekin, and sprinkle it on the outside of the chicken and massage it under the skin wherever you can reach.
  • Season the underside of the bird with the remaining salt.
  • Tuck the wings behind the breast so the tips won’t burn.
  • Set a wire rack on top of a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, and place the chicken skin-side up on the wire rack. Loosely cover with plastic wrap, and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. Pre-salting really does make a difference, but if you’re pressed for time, you can skip to the next part.
  • When you’re ready to roast the bird, heat the oven to 400°F on convection roast or 425°F in a regular oven, and place the rack in the upper middle position.
  • Grab your softened fat of choice—I leave my butter out in the morning so it’s ready to go at dinnertime—and mix in your preferred herb or spice blend. There’s really no wrong way to flavor-boost your chicken. (Caveat: I normally choose a salt-free blend because the chicken is already brined.) Some great blends include: Penzey’s Sunny ParisGarlic Gold Italian Herb NuggetsDukkah, and Madras Curry Powder. Be bold and try something new! If it smells great, chances are it’ll make your chicken taste great.
  • Spoon one-fourth of the herb butter under the skin onto a chicken boob. Repeat on the other side.
  • Press your fingers on top of the skin to spread the herb butter evenly over the breast.
  • Divide the remaining herb butter and tuck it under the skin onto the thigh meat. Do your best to massage the butter down to the drumstick. You’ll be able to spot the herbs under the skin, so you’ll know if you were successful or not.
  • Re-position the chicken on top of the wire rack, making sure the wingtips are still tucked behind the breast, and rearrange the skin to fully cover the meat. Then, pop it in the oven.
  • Roast the chicken for 45 minutes or until the breast meat reaches 150°F and the thigh meat hits 170°F as measured by an instant read thermometer. Remember: an accurate instant-read meat thermometer is the key to perfectly cooked chicken.
  • Take the bird out of the oven and rest it for at least 10 minutes before carving.



Don’t forget: you can successfully spatchcock big birds (e.g., turkeys) as well. If you’re at all nervous about using this method to cook your turkey on Thanksgiving, do a test run this week on a chicken. I have a sneaking suspicion you’ll be hooked, and that it’ll be your favorite way to prepare whole birds from now on. (For those of you advanced spackcockers who are ready to level up, make my Peruvian Roast Chicken + Aji Verde Chili Sauce from our cookbook!)
Tried this recipe?Mention @nomnompaleo or tag #nomnompaleo!


Calories: 569kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 44g | Fiber: 1g