This roasted apple cider spatchcock chicken is the perfect fall meal. Covered in warm fall spices, this chicken is spatchcocked for quicker, more even roasting and is finished with a delicious apple cider gravy.
If you recall from my last post when I shared a recipe for maple-chipotle grilled salmon, I was struggling to let go of summer. The struggle was real, but I finally learned to move on and fully embrace fall. And you know what helped me with the transition? Food. What else would motivate a food blogger?
Fall is all about comfort food, and I fully support comfort food in all its forms. Pumpkin spice everything, chilis and soups, hearty baked pasta dishes — I love it all. Oh, and let’s not forget about roasted meats. There’s nothing more comforting and homey than a beautifully roasted chicken, and this roasted apple cider spatchcock chicken makes for the perfect fall spin on a classic recipe.
Why Spatchcock a Chicken?
With a funny name like spatchcock, you might wonder why you would spatchcock a chicken in the first place. And I get it. Spatchcock isn’t the most attractive name, but it’s an awesome way to prepare chicken.
So what is spatchcocking chicken and what does it mean? Spatchcocking is when you remove the backbone to split and flatten the chicken. This makes for faster and more even cooking, which is a win-win in my book. While this may sound intimidating, it’s actually super easy, and I’ll walk you through the process.
Please let me apologize ahead of time because raw chicken isn’t the prettiest, nor is cutting into a whole chicken. That said, I hope the pictures give you a solid understanding of how to spatchcock a chicken, which is ultimately the point, right?!
How to Make Roasted Apple Cider Spatchcock Chicken — Step by Step
To make this delicious roasted apple cider spatchcock chicken, here’s everything you’ll need.
- A whole chicken
- Softened butter
- A spice mixture of cumin, ginger, smoked paprika, brown sugar, cinnamon and coriander
- Baby potatoes
- Cider — hard or nonalcoholic
- Fresh sage
We start out by checking the chicken cavity. Most of the time, some innards will be in a plastic bag inside the chicken, so we want to remove those. Rinse the chicken on both the outside and inside of the cavity. We now pat the chicken dry with paper towels and generously sprinkle with salt.
If possible, I like to do this the day before I cook the chicken and store the chicken uncovered in the refrigerator. This gives the chicken skin a chance to dry out, which makes for crispy skin.
Of course, sometimes life gets in the way, and planning a day ahead may not be possible. That’s totally fine. But if you can swing it, I definitely recommend working a little ahead of time to get that extra crispy skin. Plus, it’s one fewer step you have to worry about when you’re trying to get dinner on the table.
Once we’re ready to cook, it’s time to spatchcock the chicken. We flip the bird over so that the little tail is on top and facing us. If you run your finger along the chicken from that tail, you’ll feel the backbone. Using a good pair of kitchen shears, we cut along one side of the backbone.
Now we cut along the other side of the backbone.
We turn the chicken over and press down to flatten. You may need to use both hands, and you’ll likely hear a little cracking.
Our chicken is now spatchcocked, and we’re ready to slather with butter and spices and roast on a bed of potatoes, onion and orange in a 450-degree oven. After about 35 or 40 minutes, we add the apple cider and continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches 160-165 degrees. I used a hard apple cider, but feel free to use a non alcoholic cider if that’s more your style.
Once the chicken is cooked all the way through, we move it along with the potatoes, onion and orange to a cutting board and cover with foil. If you used a cast-iron skillet, you can put that directly on the stove or pour the drippings into a skillet if you used a roasting pan. Whisk in a little cornstarch, cook until it thickens and finish with butter.
Now we’re ready to cut our roasted apple cider spatchcock chicken into pieces, top with the apple cider gravy and serve.
Looking for More Recipes?
Along with this Roasted Apple cider Spatchcock Chicken, here are a few recipes I especially love right now.
- Homemade apple cider: Hey, we obviously love apple cider in this recipe, so we might as well make our own, right?
- Colorado-style pork green chile: Being from Denver, this is a regional favorite and so delicious and comforting in the fall.
- Apple spice cupcakes with praline filling and brown sugar frosting: If you’re looking for the ultimate fall cupcake, you’re in luck.
Did you find this blog post and step-by-step instructions helpful? I hope you love this roasted apple cider spatchcock chicken as much as I do. If you try it, you’re welcome to leave a comment and rating below. I love hearing from you! You can also sign up for my newsletter on my website here and FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious food I’m creating!
Roasted Apple Cider Spatchcock Chicken
- Check the chicken cavity to see if there are packaged innards. If so, remove them. Rinse the outside and inside of the chicken with cold water. Pat dry. Sprinkle generously with salt and store uncovered in the refrigerator. For the crispiest skin, take care of this step the day before cooking, but this can also be done the day of cooking.
- Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place the chicken breast-side down with the tail facing you. Using sturdy kitchen shears, cut along one side of the backbone. Then, cut along the other side of the backbone to remove. Flip the chicken over and press down on the breast bone until the chicken flattens. You should hear a cracking.
- In at least a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or roasting pan, add the quartered onion, orange and baby potatoes. Place the chicken cut-side down on top.
- In a small bowl, mix the spices with 3 tablespoons of soften butter. Rub the butter-spice mixture all over the chicken skin as well as some underneath the skin on the breasts.
- Cook for 35 minutes. Pour in the apple cider and cook for another 10 minutes. Using an instant-read thermometer, check the temperature at the inner thigh. If it's 160-165 degrees, it's ready to pull. If not, continue cooking until it reaches that temperature range.
- If cooking in a cast-iron skillet, transfer the chicken and potatoes to a cutting board and cover with foil. If using a roasting pan, pour the drippings into a skillet and cover the chicken and potatoes. Discard the onion and orange quarters.
- Over medium heat, whisk in cornstarch into the drippings. Keep whisking to prevent any lumps. Cook until the drippings thicken into a gravy.
- Cut the chicken into pieces and top with fresh sage. Serve with apple cider gravy.
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