Whole Roasted Spatchcock Chicken with Sage Brown Butter is secretly so easy but looks and tastes so impressive!
A crispy, golden skinned chicken is spatchcocked for a quick, juicy roast. A luxuriously, flavorful sage brown butter makes this chicken a showstopper for the holiday season or anytime of the year.
What is Spatchcock you might ask?
The word Spatchcock is thought to be of Irish decent, and has been around since the late 1800s, and refers to splitting or butterflying poultry or game hens, usually along the spine. It’s a fantastic and easy technique to know as it helps the bird to roast quicker and more evenly then leaving it whole. The even roasting is also perfect for delivering what everyone most desires. A moist, juicy chicken!
If you have tried my Herb Butter Spatchcock Chicken with Roasted Vegetables, then you know what I’m talking about.
To Brine or not to Brine?
That’s a good question. My Simple Chicken Brine definitely delivers on creating a tender, juicy bird, but sometimes, time is a factor.
What is a brine?
Brining is the process of soaking a chicken, or many other kinds of meat, in a salt water and herb solution that causes the meat to become infused with seasoned, flavorful moisture that will be retained along with it’s own natural juices through-out the cooking process. The leaner cuts, like the breast will always be more moist and juicy and have more flavor then if they were not brined.
I’ve made this Whole Roasted Spatchcock Chicken with Sage Brown Butter recipe several times. Depending on if this was a weeknight family dinner or to serve to company with more time for preparation, has determined on if I have brined. You will not be disappointed if you choose not to brine, but if you have the time, I urge you to give it a try.
How to prepare your Whole Roasted Spatchcock Chicken with Sage Brown Butter
To begin, if you chose to brine, make sure the chicken has been rinsed. Let your 4-6 pound chicken rest at room temperature for 30-60 minutes to help with even cooking. Also, make sure your butter is sitting out at this point as well.
Using kitchen shears, spatchcock the chicken by cutting along either side of the back bone. Using a large knife, give a good pressured cut (or wack) to the back of the breast bone so that when flipped, it will lay flat. FAVORITE knife in my kitchen below…
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Flip the chicken over and press on the breast bone like you are giving CPR to ensure flatness.
Cut off the knobs at the bottoms of the legs if desired. Depending on the pan you are using this may help it fit better and it does give a nice presentation but is not necessary. Also, tuck the tips of the wings behind the back of the chicken. Again, not necessary, but looks pretty.
Next, make four 1/2 inch deep cuts. Make the cuts between each leg and thigh joint and then into the breast just below where the wing attaches (think armpit). This promotes even and quick roasting.
Make sure to thoroughly dry the chicken in preparation for the sage butter rub. It is very difficult to get the butter to adhere if the skin is wet.
The sage butter is a simple, but very flavorful mixture of room temperature butter, chopped fresh sage, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
Rub the butter mixture on both sides of the chicken.
Preheat an oven proof pan or dutch oven to a medium-high heat add a little oil, and place the chicken, interior side down, into the hot pan. Make sure the chicken is laying flat.
I love my cast iron dutch oven, like the one below, for this recipe.
Let the chicken cook for 4-5 minutes on the stovetop and then, without removing the chicken from the pan or flipping it, place the pan into the oven for 40-60 minutes until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest parts of the thigh and breast reads 160 degrees.
The length of the cook time will vary depending on the size of the bird, if it has been brined, and if there are other dishes in the oven.
I first saw this method on an episode of Jacques Pepin More Fast Food My Way. He is a fantastic, classically trained french chef without a lot of the fussiness that makes French food complicated and lengthy to prepare.
Let the chicken rest for 10-15 minutes after cooking. Spoon the Brown Butter Sage sauce from the bottom of the pan over the chicken when serving.
I use my kitchen shears for easy carving and serve in the dutch oven. Cut between the leg and thigh joint, between the thigh and breast, at the wing and breast joint, cut down the sternum/breast bone to separate the breasts, and then cut across each breast, if desired, to reduce the large size. This method serves 10 pieces of chicken.
My Butternut Squash with Crispy Sage and Roasted Asparagus are great sides to serve with Whole Roasted Spatchcock Chicken with Sage Brown Butter and can roast at the same time as the chicken for easy entertaining.
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Whole Roasted Spatchcock Chicken with Sage Brown Butter
- 1 4-6 pound chicken
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 tablespoons room temperature butter
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Brine the chicken, if desired, using the Simple Chicken Brine in the recipe notes.
Thoroughly rinse and dry the chicken.
Spatchcock the chicken by cutting a 1 inch strip along either side of the backbone to remove it. Make a cut to the back of the breast bone to help it lay flat.
Let the chicken rest at room temperature for 30-60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare the sage butter by combining the room temperature butter, sage, garlic, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl.
After patting the chicken dry again, if necessary, smear the sage butter mixture on both sides (front and back) of the chicken.
Preheat a large dutch oven or other oven proof pan to a medium-high temperature.
Add the oil and then place the chicken, interior side down, into the hot pan. (The skin side of the chicken is facing up. See photo.) Make sure the chicken is laying flat in the pan.
Cook, without disturbing the chicken, for 4-5 minutes. Do not flip the chicken.
Place the dutch oven with the chicken directly into the oven and bake for 40-60 minutes. Cook time will vary depending on if the bird has been brined, the size of the bird, and if other items are being cooked in the oven at the same time.
Remove from oven when a thermometer inserted into the thigh and breast reads 160 degrees.
Let the chicken rest 10-15 minutes. Carve as desired. Garnish with the Sage Browned Butter sauce in the bottom of the pan and fresh sage leaves.