NY Times also did a Roast Chicken 101 sort of deal and they include a little tutorial on spatchcock chicken. They do theirs with a knife.
I decided to wet-brine the chicken. The brine is soy sauce based with a touch of salt and fish sauce. Other than the addition of fish sauce, which I suspect can be omitted without sacrificing the taste too much, the brine is basically a watered down Bulgogi/Galbi marinade: soy sauce, mirin, onion, ginger, garlic, black pepper, and sesame oil.
To spatchcock the chicken using poultry shears, cut the backbone off by cutting down each side. Then flip it over and place your palm on the top center of the breast and press firmly. This is to break the breast bone so they chicken stays flat which promotes even cooking.
The majority of the time is brining and drying out the skin. You brine overnight, dry out the skin the next day and cook that night. Make sure your mirin is NOT Aji-mirin. Just mirin or hon-mirin. Aji-mirin has high fructose corn syrup in it. Hon-mirin or mirin is a naturally made rice wine.
Fish sauce is not all created equal, check out Red Boat Fish Sauce if you’re sugar-free or Paleo.
Gochujang is also not created equal, the ingredient list on some is out of control, ie corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup plus all kinds of extra preservatives and chemical flavors. Check out Wholly gochujang for a clean gochujang. Or if you’re near a Korean market just read the labels, there should be at least one brand without the funky stuff.
I like to cut the chicken into 10 pieces: 2 thighs, 2 legs, 4 breast pieces, and 2 wings. After you seperate the breast into 2 pieces, cut each breast again in half right down middle horizantally. See pictures in the post.
- 1 whole chicken, 3 – 4 lbs
- 1/2 cup mirin
- 1 + 1/4 cup soy sauce, use tamari for gluten-free
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon fine pink salt OR 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
- 1/2 inch slice ginger, chopped
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons gochugaru (Korean Chill flakes) OR gochujang (Korean Chili paste) optional
- 3 cups cold water
1: Rinse chicken with cold water. Remove backbone by cutting off both sides down the sides. I used poultry scissors. Save for broth.
2: Combine all ingredients except water and blend until smooth (I used an immersion blender directly in my 4-quart storage container). Add the water and stir.
3: Add the chicken, making sure it is completely submerged. Brine overnight.
4: The next day, remove chicken from brine. Pat dry and place breast side up with the wings tucked under on a wire rack set in a foil lined rimmed baking sheet. Place in refrigerator for 2 hours, do not cover.
5: Preheat oven to 450F. Remove chicken from fridge and wipe up any drippings in baking sheet. Place in oven, thigh side in and cook for 30 minutes. It should be pretty browned by this point. Tent with foil, return to oven and cook for another 30 minutes or until the breast registers 150F and thighs 175F. I like to check at the 15 minute mark (after foil tent) and check every 10 minutes until done.
6: Remove chicken from oven and let it rest, loosely covered with foil, for 10 minutes.
7: Carve and serve! See notes.