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A simple roast chicken may be the pinnacle of simple, elegant comfort food. There’s something about a whole bird presented at a table that just exudes familiarity. The really beautiful think about a whole chicken perched in the middle of a table is that you can surround it with practically anything and it will compliment the tender, juicy meat of the bird.
There are a couple different ways to approach a whole chicken. The first is by cutting it into 8 pieces and cooking them separately (like in this Harissa Chicken & White Beans). That approach is great for when you are in a hurry as cooking the individual pieces won’t take as much time.
The second way is to truss up a chicken a bit like your Thanksgiving turkey and roast it whole. This method takes a little longer and requires a flip about halfway through cooking but makes for an excellent showstopper at the table (as per this Garlic & Rosemary Roast Chicken).
The last way is to spatchcock the whole bird. Even though the word spatchcock sounds a little dirty, it’s one of my favorite ways to treat a whole chicken. Basically, you cut the backbone out of the bird and press it down flat. The result is an approach to chicken that cooks fast like cutting the bird into pieces (without all the work) but retaining that “WOW” factor of a whole bird.
This chicken tastes buttery and creamy with that wonderful tang of buttermilk and the earthiness of all of the spices. I could have eaten my weight in this chicken but I had to feed the rest of my family too so I restrained myself.
I marinated this chicken for 4 hours and it was phenomenal, but it would be even better if it marinated overnight. So, if you have the time give it a good soak.
Make sure to check out the video to see how to spatchcock (it only requires a good set of kitchen shears – I like these.)
- 4 pound whole chicken , cut into 6 pieces (leg quarters, breasts, wings)
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups whole buttermilk
- Remove the backbone from the chicken, discard and place the whole chicken in a zip top bag.
- In a small bowl, combine the seasonings and buttermilk and pour over the chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the remaining seasoning onto the chicken.
- Roast until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees (about an hour). Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.