Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Spatchcock Chicken Al Mattone


I discovered the word spatchcock about a month ago and had to look it up.  One of the best and funniest explanations I found was;


Spatchcock chickens are simply whole chickens split down the back and flattened out.
Al mattone is an Italian cooking technique by which an ingredient is cooked under a brick.   No one seems to truly know where this method or name came from.  What a great word, spatchcock.  I will now use it when referring to butterflied whole chicken or to describe a whole chicken with the back removed and flattened out.

Kono took the brick method and kicked it up a few notches, with his “manly-man” brick because he was cooking three whole chickens. When cooking using this method over an open fire, keep the coals to a med – low heat or you will surely burn the chicken.

Any flavor combination will work well.  Olive oil and a light flavored vinegar with garlic and herbs make for a nice marinade.  The herbs can be tucked under the skin if desired.
 
The chicken can be marinated overnight or for at least an hour before placing it skin side down on the grill for about 20 minutes.  Flipping it and cooking the other side for another 20 minutes.

I am a firm believer in brining my whole chickens and do that the night before.  But, it’s not necessary if you choose not to. 

BRINE
½             gallon                    water
1              Tbsp.                     brown sugar
¼             cup                         kosher salt
Dissolve sugar and salt in the water and place your chicken in it overnight in the fridge.  Remove chicken and dry well with paper towels before seasoning or marinating.

Below is the last references from a very interesting long list of definitions to, “Where did the word spatchcock come from?” http://www.nakedwhiz.com/spatchdef.htm

Is It The Same As Butterflying?
The Washington Post
Almost every explanation of spatchcock you see on the web indicates that it is the same as butterflying. But is it? According to Anne Willan, founder of the French cooking school La Varenne, there is a difference:
"To butterfly is to cut a single slit more or less through the middle of a usually boneless piece of meat, poultry, fish, even a vegetable, so it can be opened up in the manner of butterfly wings," she says. "It may be cooked flat or stuffed and reshaped. To spatchcock is much more specific, applied only to poultry as far as I know, and almost always to small birds -- quail, pigeon, small chickens."

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