Saturday, December 29, 2007

Because It's There: An Adventure in Spatchcocking

First, obtain a chicken. Rinse it and pat it dry. Don't forget to remove the giblets.

Cut the backbone out with your kitchen shears. Remove the giblets if you forgot to before. Spread your bird out, as though you were opening a book or performing an autopsy. Lovely.

Flip it over. Cut slits in the skin and tuck the legs in neatly. Season assertively with salt and pepper and herbes de Provence.

Season the inside too.

Select a heavy object and wrap it in foil. Bricks are good. I used a rusty Lodge cast-iron grill pan. For indoor grilling it's ill-conceived and badly designed--it just doesn't work unless you get it so hot the seasoning burns off, hence the rust--but it weighs about ten pounds. Perfect. Spritz the foil with olive oil.

Heat a puddle of oil in a big cast-iron pan. Lay your chicken in it, skin-side down. Smush it down with your heavy foil-wrapped object.

Add additional heavy objects if desired. Cook for 12-15 minutes.

Flip your bird.

Wrap your heavy object in fresh foil to avoid cross-contamination. Smush your bird down again and cook for another 15 minutes.

Let rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving. (I've really got to get a better camera.)

This is admittedly kind of a silly thing to do on the stovetop unless you've got some really dark violent urges to work out. Which is of course perfectly legitimate: who among us hasn't wanted to just rip someone's spine out every now and again? But for grilling a whole chicken I can see that this is the technique. I'll be trying that soon. Stay tuned.


T said...

Mmmm--sounds good to me! I especially like the weight on top of the rusty grill pan. But I'm most fascinated by the idea of "seasoning aggressively," which pops up on Slow Cook's blog as well. "Aggressively"? Of course. Chefs have to be manly to take back the profession, I guess?

(Just taking the piss a bit, mind you, but gender + cooking are way too interesting for my own good.)

Rob said...

Well, actually I said "assertively." Make sure your bird knows your intentions, but no need for aggression at that point. I mean, you've already ripped out the poor thing's spine.

And the profession of chef has long been male-dominated in the first place. Home cooking is another story of course, but as the owner of a big shiny Porkert I have nothing to worry about.

hsempl said...

porkert's all highlighted, but nothing happens when i click on it. what gives?

Rob said...

Hm. Try this.