Some of my most cherished summertime memories are with my family enjoying life – water balloons, games and stargazing laying on the trampoline, the awesome smells coming from the grill, and even the smell of catfish frying.
Grilling, air frying and using a crock pot are easy ways to prepare a delicious meal on hot summer days. I have prepared chicken 3 different ways to show how infusing simple flavors can take chicken from boring to flavorful using the spatchcock (butterfly) technique. It has become a favorite way to cook chicken because it can be prepared by infusing many different flavors while also saving time with cooking. The chicken can be prepared and refrigerated the day before, then it is ready for the air fryer, oven, grill or crockpot.
Spatchcock is a technique that involves removing the backbone from the chicken and flattening it. Because the chicken lays flat, it cooks much faster and the heat can circulate more evenly. It might seem intimidating, but it’s actually simple and easy to prepare. All you need are sturdy kitchen shears or a sharp knife. Click here for spatchcock step by step instructions.
Oven: Italian Infused Flavors with Veggies
4-5lbs Prepared Spatchcock Chicken Technique
¼ cup Butter, softened
1 Tbsp Parsley or Rosemary, finely chopped
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp Lemon juice
1 Tbsp (or more) Olive oil for drizzle
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
Fresh garden vegetables (or frozen vegetables)
Salt and black pepper to taste
This recipe is perfect to use summer garden veggies or veggies from the frozen section at the grocery store.
Preheat oven 425˚F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper – this helps with clean up and with sticking. I chose to use a cast iron skillet. In a small mixing bowl, combine the softened butter with olive oil, parsley or rosemary, minced garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice. Mash with fork for a couple of minutes until lemon juice is mostly incorporated into butter. Spread 2/3 of mixture under the chicken skin especially, around breast area, and dot/spread remaining butter all over chicken. Place vegetables all around the chicken. Sprinkle chicken and vegetables generously with salt and black pepper to taste. Sprinkle Italian seasoning over chicken. Bake uncovered at 400°F for 45 min or until instant read thermometer reads 165°F when inserted into thickest part of chicken breast. Remove from oven and drizzle with olive oil. Let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Grill: BBQ Infused Flavors
Seasoning (your choice)
1 tsp Paprika
Place chicken on cutting board. Remove the neck and internal organs from cavity. Use paper towels to dry the skin of the chicken. Place the chicken breast side down and use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to cut along each side of the backbone to remove it. Next, turn the chicken breast side up and gently press down to flatten the chicken (spatchcock-butterfly). Place the chicken on a sheet pan and brush with vegetable oil. I recommend using vegetable oil, which has a high smoke point. Olive oil is fine too, but make sure to use “light olive oil” and not “extra virgin” because this one is able to withstand higher temperatures. With your choice of seasoning, sprinkle 1 tsp of paprika over the skin to give the chicken a beautiful color during cooking. Place the chicken on the grill breast side up. Adjust grill settings to maintain a cooking temperature between 375°F to 400°F. Close the lid and cook 35-45 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F. During the last 15-20 minutes of grilling, brush the chicken with barbecue sauce and finish cooking. Allow the chicken to rest 5-10 minutes before carving.
Tip: When grilling on a gas grill, you can infuse a smoked flavor with apple, oak, cherry and mesquite wood pellets using small smoke packets. With the wood pellets, I suggest looking for 100% hardwood and no additives.
Air Fryer: Mexican Infused Flavors
Prepared Spatchcock Chicken (I suggest at least 4 pounds or whatever will fit in air fryer basket)
Compound butter is the secret to juicy moist infused flavor!
½ cup Butter, softened
3 Tbsp Cilantro (more or less to your taste)
1 Jalapeno seeded and finely minced
1/2 tsp Salt
Juice of 1 Lime
Preheat the air fryer to 180°C/350°F. In a small mixing bowl, combine softened butter, jalapeno, cilantro, salt and lime juice. Mash with fork until juice is combined. Spread butter mixture under the chicken skin especially, around breast area and dot/spread remaining butter all over chicken. Coat chicken with seasoning.
Seasoning – You will have extra, but save for later to use. Store in a glass container. It’s a good starter for taco seasoning. Make your own “infusion” flavor adding or subtracting certain ingredients.
1 1/2 Tbsp Garlic powder
2 Tbsp Onion powder
3 Tbsp Oregano, Dried
1 1/2 Tbsp. Black pepper, ground
1/3 cup Chili powder
3 Tbsp Paprika
3 Tbsp Salt
2 Tbsp Cumin, ground
2 Tbsp Oil – Your choice, just remember if using olive oil not to use extra virgin.
Place the chicken in the air fryer basket breast side down. Brush oil on the back of the chicken, sprinkle, and rub in the seasoning mix. Cook the spatchcock chicken in the air fryer for 20 minutes. Flip and continue to cook for another 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken registers 165°F /74°C. Remove the chicken from the air fryer basket and let it rest for 10 minutes for the juice to redistribute before carving.
Tip 1 – Note that the size of the chicken and the wattage of your air fryer determine how long to cook. If you want to crisp up the skin, increase the temperature to 200°C/400°F then cook the chicken a little longer in the air fryer breast side up. Be careful not to burn the skin or dry out the chicken. Season the chicken however you like. There are a lot of premade seasonings to choose from. You can marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours if you prefer a more infused flavor.
Tip 2 – When infusing flavor, think about all the different cuisines – Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean, Greek, Asian, Creole, etc. Get to know the spices and herbs. You will be amazed and impressed with yourself! Tell your family we are having Greek tonight (you can use Spatchcock Chicken) just by using lemon, dried oregano, fresh parsley, fresh dill, olives, feta cheese, and yogurt.
Tip 3 – Season underneath the skin. Separate the chicken skin from meat by running your hand in between the two layers. Spread dollops of compound butter mixture underneath the skin and press down on top of skin to spread the butter throughout the chicken meat.
By Chef Darlene
Photos By Shayli Anne Photography