Butterflied Chicken

Recipe by Gay Gilmore

From Alton Brown

Top Review by Catfish Charlie

I hate to give this only 4 stars as it turned out quite good, but the cooking time was so far off that I think it's useless. Follow the description for measuring "doneness", such as turning when mahogany and pulling the bird out when temp is reached and juices run clear. Mine took nearly twice as long to cook, and I'm sure this time will vary based on your oven, the size of the bird, etc. The result was very good though- nice crispy skin, juicy chicken with great flavor- a bit peppery for my kids but others might find it perfect. This is a recipe that would lend itself well to modification- adding a little sage or thyme to the rub, or substituting lemon zest with orange, maybe even using a white wine instead of red (or even a Marsala would be nice). At any rate it's a valuable method and once you try it you'll be glad to know it.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Position the oven rack 8 inches from the flame/coil and turn broiler to high.
  2. Crack peppercorns with a mortar and pestle until coarsely ground.
  3. Add garlic and salt and work well.
  4. Add lemon zest and just enough oil to form a paste.
  5. Cut vegetables into pieces and place in a deep roasting pan.
  6. Place chicken on a plastic cutting board breast-side down.
  7. Using kitchen shears, cut ribs down one side of back bone and then the other and remove.
  8. Open chicken like a book and remove the keel bone separating the breast halves by slicing through the thin membrane covering it, then by placing two fingers underneath the bone and levering it out.
  9. Turn chicken breast-side up and spread out like a butterfly by pressing down on the breast and pulling the legs towards you.
  10. Loosen the skin at the neck and the edges of the thighs.
  11. Evenly distribute the garlic mixture under the skin, saving 2 teaspoons for the jus.
  12. Drizzle the skin with oil and rub in, being sure to cover the bird evenly.
  13. Drizzle oil on bone side of chicken as well.
  14. Arrange bird in roasting pan, breast up, atop vegetables.
  15. Place pan in oven being sure to leave the oven door ajar.
  16. Check bird in 10 minutes.
  17. If the skin is a dark mahogany, hold the drumstick ends with paper towels and flip bone-side up.
  18. Cook 12-15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
  19. Juices must run clear.
  20. Remove and place chicken into a deep bowl and cover loosely with foil.
  21. Tilt pan so that any fat will pool at corner.
  22. Siphon this off with a bulb baster.
  23. (This fat is great in vinaigrettes).
  24. Set pan over 2 burners set on high.
  25. Deglaze pan with a few shots of red wine and scrape brown bits from bottom using a carrot chunk held with tongs.
  26. Add chicken stock, thyme, the remaining garlic paste and reduce briefly to make a jus.
  27. Strain out vegetables and discard.
  28. Slice chicken onto plates or serve in quarters.
  29. Sauce lightly with jus and serve.

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