A spatchcock cast-iron mustard chicken impressive enough for a show-stopping meal and yet easy enough for a weeknight dinner!
What is Spatchcock Chicken and Why Should You Do It?
Spatchcocking is the method of removing the spine from poultry and spreading the two halves of the bird flat for grilling or roasting. Spatchcocking any poultry (in this case chicken) cuts the cooking time in half. It also makes it much easier to evenly spread all your seasoning and marinade over the meat.
Why is it Called Spatchcock Chicken?
The origins of the word 'spatchcock' are rooted in Irish history, a variation of the similar word 'spitchcock', which some believe to be a combination of 'dispatch' and 'cock' melded into one word. Whatever the true origin, it's a good kitchen term to know!
How Do You Spatchcock a Chicken?
You can spatchcock a chicken in four easy steps:
Step 1: Use kitchen shears to cut along the right of the backbone, staying as close to the backbone as possible.
Step 2: Cut along the left of the backbone, staying as close to the backbone as possible. Remove and set the backbone aside.
Step 3: Pull open the bird to start making it lie flat.
Step 4: Flip the bird over so it is breast side up and press down firmly on the breast bone (snapping the breastplate) with your hands so it can lay completely flat.
These are the kitchen shears I always use. I love them because I can sharpen them when they get dull. Having said that, I've had them for 5 years and haven't had to sharpen them yet!
What is the Best Pan for Roasting Chicken?
This recipe roasts the chicken in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, which is my preferred pan for this cooking method. It is amazing at retaining heat, usually has built in handles for ease of movement, and gives a great flavor to your chicken. However, if you don't have a cast iron skillet, a large ceramic roasting pan, a baking sheet or other oven-safe pans are great alternatives.
Do You Cover the Chicken When Roasting?
This recipe doesn't call for a cover so you can get that delicious, crispy, mustard-infused outer coating on the chicken. Each recipe will usually stipulate whether you should do it or not. In general, a recipe that requires you to cover the meat while roasting is a recipe for a slow-cooked meal, resulting in tender meat. Recipes that do not require a cover are often for meats that cook for a shorter amount of time, and the lack of cover then gives them a tasty crispy skin.
How Do I Clean & Re-season a Cast Iron Skillet?
Clean your cast-iron skillet immediately after use. If the drippings and food residue does not wipe out easily, use hot water to hand-wash your cast iron. Then, you can use an abrasive sponge to scrub off any stuck-on food. Next, use coarse kosher salt to scrub off any remaining if necessary. Finally, dry the skillet thoroughly, add a thin layer of oil, and re-heat the cast iron. Once it cools you can store it until your next use.
Which Cast Iron Pan Should I Buy?
I use this Finex cast iron with lid ($280). If you are looking for an inexpensive option, then the Lodge cast iron skillet ($35) is wonderful. Also, make sure you get a 12" skillet. You'll be happy you did!
How to Make Spatchcock Cast-Iron Mustard Chicken
Ingredients you will need:
Preheat your oven to 450F. Mix all the ingredients (photo 1) for the mustard rub mixture in a bowl until completely combined (photo 2).
Having already spatchcocked the chicken, put two tablespoons of the mustard rub mixture under the skin of each breast. Then put two tablespoons of the mustard mixture under the skin of each thigh. See photos below for the easiest points of entry to insert the marinade
Heat your cast-iron skillet on the stove on a medium-high heat. Add a thin layer of oil, if necessary - if your pan is already well seasoned you may not need additional oil.
Add about a quarter of the remaining mustard mixture to the non-skin side of each chicken half (photo 1 below). Then place the chicken skin-side up in the cast iron pan. Add the remaining mustard mixture liberally on top of the chicken (photo 2 below).
Cook 5 minutes until the chicken starts to brown. Transfer it in the skillet, uncovered to the pre-heated oven.
Cook the chicken for about 30-35 minutes in the oven until the internal temperature reads 155F when checking the inside of the chicken breast with a thermometer. Once it reaches 155F, remove the pan from the oven and set aside to rest. Bear in mind that the chicken will continue to cook while it rests. Let rest at least 5 minutes before serving.
What to Serve with this Chicken
- Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Aji Verde Sauce (or see recipe below)
- Simple Sauteed Cabbage
- Grapefruit, Fennel, & Herb Salad
- Summer Farro
- Easy Roasted Asparagus
- Spanish Rice
- Summer Pesto Pasta Salad
More delicious poultry recipes here! Some of my favorites:
- Peruvian Roasted Chicken
- Cast-Iron Pomegranate Molasses Roasted Chicken
- Orange & Bell-Pepper Chicken Traybake
Aji Verde Sauce
This chicken is fantastic with some aji verde sauce. Simply add the following aji verde ingredients to a food processor and process until you have a smooth paste. It's as simple as that!
- 1/2 head iceberg lettuce
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2-3 jalapeños or 7 serrano peppers
- 1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 1 pinch salt
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Spatchcock Cast-Iron Mustard Chicken
- 4 lb. chicken spatchcocked
- 6-8 garlic cloves minced
- 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp whole grain mustard
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 tbsp coconut aminos or soy sauce
- 1 tsp hot sauce I use Valentina
- 1 tbsp herbes de Provence
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- Preheat to 450F.
- Mix all the ingredients (except the chicken) in a bowl.
- Put 2 tbsp of the mixture under the skin of each breast. Put 2 tbsp of the mixture under the skin of each thigh.
- Heat your cast iron skillet on the stove. Add a thin layer of oil, if necessary*. Add 1/4 of the remaining mixture to the non-skin side of each chicken half and place the chicken skin side up in the pan. Add the remaining mixture on top of the chicken. Cook 5 minutes until starts to brown. Transfer to the oven.
- Cook 30-35 minutes in the oven until internal temperature reads 155F when checking the inside of the chicken breast.* It will continue to cook while it rests. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.
This post was originally published in January 2019, but was republished with FAQ, new step-by-step instructions and photos, and tips in April 2020.