high-heat roast chicken
- 1 large chicken
- olive oil
- Make a brine solution by dissolving 4 tablespoons of salt in 1 litre of water. The water should cover the whole chicken so if you don’t have enough, make more.
- Submerge the whole chicken into the brine and leave it in the fridge with a lid on for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Before roasting, remove chicken from the water and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
How to spatchcock a chicken
- Lay the chicken breast side down and cut the spine with a sharp pair of kitchen scissors. Make sure to cut through the ribs and not the vertebrae as this is too difficult to cut through.
- Repeat on the other side of the spine
- Open the chicken up and turn over so you can now push down on the breast to flatten the chicken out.
- Preheat the oven to 240°C (464 F).
- Rub oil around the whole spatchcocked chicken.
- Generously sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt.
- Option 1: Place the chicken on the wire rack with a tray underneath. This way the air can circulate around the chicken and you can catch all the nice juices into the tray.
- Option 2: If you don’t have a wire rack cut thick slices of onion and place them next to each other on the bottom of the tray. Lay the flattened chicken on top them.
- Fill the bottom of the tray with water to protect the juices from burning. Check if there is enough water in the tray during roasting and add more if required otherwise you will completely burn the bottom of the tray.
- Roast for 55 minutes.
- Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting.
About the recipe
Before we discovered this high heat chicken roasting method, we used to roast our chicken whole without opening it and on a much lower temperature. But now flattening the chicken and roasting it on high temperature is our preferred choice. The flattened chicken is called spatchcocked or butterflied chicken. Removing the bird’s spine and opening the chicken helps the meat to cook more evenly without drying out the breasts. It also exposes all the skin to the heat so it crisps up all around just perfectly. If you are not sure how to butterfly a chicken, here is a helpful video from BBC Good Food.
I recommend brining the chicken for 4 to 12 hours by soaking it in salty water. It helps to make meat tender, juicier and more flavoured as the meat absorbs some of the salty water from the brine solution. It’s a great technique to use for any meat that you plan to roast. For the brine solution, dissolve 4 tablespoons of salt in 1 litre of water and submerge the whole chicken in it. Cover with a lid and leave in the fridge.
First, remove the chicken spine and position the chicken flat open on the tray. Second, roast the chicken on the high temperature in the preheated oven to 240°C. This way the chicken cooks quickly and evenly. It might surprise you but the very high temperature doesn’t make the chicken dry. On the contrary, the meat is soft and juicy inside and it has lovely crispy skin.
The safe internal temperature of a cooked chicken is 75°C. When roasting butterflied chicken on a high heat you can reach this internal temperature in about 45 minutes. The meat is usually cooked and safe to eat but it doesn’t fall away from the bone easily and I found out it can still be a little bit tough. I like meat that peels of the bone without any force and is very soft. This is why I always leave the chicken in the oven 10 – 15 minutes longer.
How long you should cook your chicken for depends on two things. The size of the bird and how soft you want the meat to be. I prefer to roast our large chicken for 55 minutes on 240°C.
I always buy a large chicken to make sure we have some leftovers that I can use for making quick dinner later in the week. Try our Leftover Chicken Enchiladas and use any leftover juices from roasting too as they add a great flavour to the meal.