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Spatchcock Chicken with Lemon and Herbs

When you fancy a yummy roast dinner but the clock's against you, try a spatchcocked chicken. Splitting the bird down the backbone and flattening it out really reduces cooking time, whether you're roasting in the oven or sizzling over the barbecue. 


  • Prepare: 10 Minutes
  • Cook: 45 Minutes
  • Serves 6
Ingredients & instructions

An Organic Whole Chicken

2 Whole Lemons 

1 Bulb of Garlic 

A Small Handful Each of Thyme, Sage and Sorrel

70g Organic Butter

Salt and pepper to season

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C fan, 190°C, gas mark 5. Lightly grease a large roasting tray with cooking spray or oil.
  2. Zest and squeeze 1 lemon; slice the other lemon thickly into rounds and set aside. 
  3. If using a whole chicken, place the organic whole chicken, breast-side down and the legs towards you. Use a pair of kitchen shears to cut up along each side of the backbone, cutting through the rib bones as you go. Open the chicken out and turn it over then flatten the breastbone with the heel of your hand, by pressing down so that the meat is all one thickness. Cut the wing tips off as well.
  4. Transfer the spatchcock chicken, breast side up, to the lightly greased roasting tray.
  5. Rub the skin of the spatchcock chicken generously with butter, then season it generously with salt and pepper. 
  6. Remove the leaves from the fresh herbs and sprinkle them over the buttered chicken. Drizzle over the lemon juice and scatter the lemon zest. 
  7. Split the garlic bulb into cloves and, without peeling, nestle them around the chicken. Follow with the lemon slices before roasting the bird, uncovered, for 45 minutes. 
  8. Use a meat thermometer to check if the chicken is cooked – it should be between 72°C and 75°C at the thickest part. Alternatively, check by taking hold of the drumstick and twisting gently. If it comes away easily, it's done. 
  9. Let the chicken rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes before carving it and serving.
  10. Serve with crispy roast potatoes and a crunchy green salad.


  • Spatchcock chicken is a great way to enjoy all the flavours of roast chicken, just far quicker, in about an hour you will have an impressive dinner, that is insanely delicious for the entire family. To spatchcock a chicken, you remove the backbone and open the bird out – a process called 'butterflying' – which makes for faster cooking. You can roast, grill or barbecue your spatchcock chicken, getting all of the skin crispy and allowing for even cooking. It's a very simple but incredibly effective technique.

  • The term “spatchcock” is rumoured to be a 17th century shorthand for “dispatching the cock”, meaning to open a chicken carcass in order to cook it. This technique involves ‘butterflying’ the chicken by removing the backbone so you can flatten it, resulting in crispier skin and even, quicker cooking.

  • Organic chicken has been reared in accordance to a set of organic high-welfare standards These organic standards cover not just the bird’s housing, the amount of space they have and the way they are treated, but also what they are fed, how they are transported and eventually slaughtered.  At Coombe Farm Organic we have only one way to grow chicken. We work with a partner farmer in Devon's Blackdown Hills who rears accredited organic birds that are fully free range. They have the liberty to scratch and peck as their natural instincts dictate and they have plenty of room to flap and run. Our chickens eat a wholly natural diet, free from growth promoters or unnecessary drugs. We think the quality of their lives is clear from the quality of their meat.

  • Before cooking your spatchcock chicken you may want to let it soak up the flavours of a marinade. This works particularly well if you're planning to barbecue your bird. Go for the zest Mediterranean flavours of olive oil, thyme and lemon, or head east and opt for hot chilli with garlic, lemongrass and sesame oil. It'll take about 30 minutes to cook over white-hot coals (keep an eye open and move it around to avoid the skin charring) or in a 190°C oven. Eat it with some simple salads and warm flatbreads for a rustic, hands-on treat. 

  • Spatchcock chicken is full of delicious flavour, tender meat and crispy skin, serve with creamy mashed potato and roasted root vegetables. If you are BBQing your spatchcock chicken with eastern flavours such as chilli and lemongrass, serve with warm flatbreads and a couscous salad.

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