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Succulent Spicy Spatchcocked Chicken Recipe

Updated on June 11, 2012

I've been making this chicken for years and it's a wonderful recipe if you're having guests over for lunch or dinner, you can prepare it the night before and then it's just a question of sticking it in the oven so that it's ready for when they arrive - and you get to spend time with your guests instead of being stuck in the kitchen. This is also great on a BBQ because the chicken is spatchcocked and already marinated in the spices and oil and will cook all the way through in a fairly short time.

This recipe is probably not for the squeamish or for those who don't like to touch chicken (how weird is that) and you will need a pair of decent kitchen scissors or a sharp heavy knife - I know it sounds like the start of a gorey horror film but bear with me it will all be worth it and you will end up with crisp garlic spicy roasted chicken. It is also very quick to cook once the marinating process is complete because the chicken has been spatchcocked.


1.5kg/3-3.5lb Free Range Chicken

juice of 1 Organic Lemon

1 large Organic Red Pepper

1 large Organic Plum Tomato

4 Garlic Cloves, crushed

1 tbsp Cayenne Pepper

1 tbsp Paprika (not smoked)

1 tbsp Dried Oregano

Half tsp Ground Black Pepper

1 tsp Salt

2 tsp Olive Oil

Note: Do not pre-heat your oven.

  • With your chosen instrument of torture, scissors, axe, sharp knife, remove the backbone of the chicken. For those of you who have never attempted this it is much much easier than you think, basically you're going to cut down either side of the Parsons Nose (some people call it the Pope's Nose, basically it's the pointed end bit that looks like a tail). Once you have removed the backbone I suggest popping it in a freezer bag and freezing it, once I have a few of these in the freezer I use them to make chicken stock, gravy and soup.
  • Turn the chicken over so that the breast is facing up towards you, place the heel of your hand on the breastbone and give it a sharp press down until you hear a satisfying crack, (well I find it satisfying, I don't know why, I just do) and the chicken will now lie fairly flat, congratulations you have now spatchcocked your chicken. Told you it was easier than it sounded.
  • Now using a good sharp knife with a straight blade make small slashes all over the chicken, including the legs, this way the marinade will be able to penetrate the meat and infuse it with flavour, it will also allow the heat into the inner layers of the chicken faster ensuring that it will be thoroughly cooked.
  • Place the chicken in a shallow dish (non-metal) and pour over the lemon juice to coat it thoroughly. Now wash your hands thoroughly, it is very important to wash your hands after handling chicken to stop the spread of any bacteria.
  • In the food processor using the small bowl attachment if you have one, place a chopped red pepper, 1 plum tomato, 4 crushed garlic cloves, 1 tbsp cayenne, 1 tbsp paprika, 1 tbsp oregano, half tsp black pepper, and the 2 tsp olive oil. When I first made this recipe I tried it with less cayenne as I'm more into flavour than heat and thought that it was going to be too hot and fiery, since then I have increased the cayenne to 1 tbsp as the lemon juice and other spices seem to offset the heat in the cayenne. Once you have everything in the food processor blitz them until you have a fairly fine paste and then rub this all over the chicken front and back, for those of us who don't mind getting messy I pour it on to the chicken and then rub it all over with my hands covering both sides of the chicken. If you're worried about the spices staining your fingers you can always paste the spices on with a spoon or a silicon pastry brush OR put your hands into clean rubber gloves or plastic sandwich bags to protect them. Now wash your hands.

As you can see I've made quite deep slashes in the chicken, it gets all those lovely flavours deep into the meat.
As you can see I've made quite deep slashes in the chicken, it gets all those lovely flavours deep into the meat.
  • Cover the chicken in clingfilm and let it marinate for 2-3 hours at room temperature or you can do this part of the recipe the day before and place in the fridge overnight. If it has been in the fridge overnight please let the chicken come back to room temperature before cooking as it makes all the difference in the crispiness of the skin and flavour.
  • The smell when you remove the clingfilm is amazing, now you need to season it with salt on both sides, and place it in a shallow metal roasting tray.
  • Put the tray into a cold oven (this is how you get really crispy skin), set your oven to 200ºC, or 180ºC if it's on fan setting, or Gas Mark 6.
  • While the chicken is roasting occasionally baste it with the pan juices. Roast until the chicken is cooked through, about an hour should do it, you can always check by sticking a skewer into the fattest part of the chicken leg, the juices that run out should be clear.




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    • Eileen Goodall profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Goodall 

      7 years ago from Buckinghamshire, England

      Spatchcocked is cutting the chicken so that it lies flat

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I clicked on this recipe cause it said "Spatchcocked." What does that word mean? I couldn't tell from the recipe

    • Sun-Girl profile image


      7 years ago from Nigeria

      Well prepared and garnished, thanks dear.

    • Just Pez profile image

      Just Pez 

      7 years ago from Portland, OR

      This sounds delicious...can't wait to give it a go!

    • Eileen Goodall profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Goodall 

      7 years ago from Buckinghamshire, England

      So delicious!

    • cookie512 profile image


      7 years ago

      wow! that looks GREAT!


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