Spatchcock Poussin

dispatched cock

September 16th, 2011

Poussin are small chickens, generally, less than 28 days old and weighing about 1lb. To spatchcock a chicken, the back bone is removed and the bird is flattened. According to
Alan Davidson, in The Oxford Companion to Food, “The theory is that the word is an abbreviation of ‘dispatch the cock,’ a phrase used to indicate a summary way of grilling a bird after splitting it open down the back and spreading the two halves out flat.”



The reason for spatchcocking a poussin, or any other bird, is that flat meat cooks faster. Spatchcocked chicken and poussin cook very well on a barbecue and it’s easier to make sure that the meat cooks properly.


Before doing anything else, soak two skewers in water for half an hour or so – this stops them burning during the cooking process. Next, place the poussin breast down on a chopping board, push down hard to break the breast and make it sit flat, as opposed to rolling from side to side. With some large kitchen scissors or shears, snip down either side of the backbone (see above) from tail to head ends.


The cavity will be completely open when done.

skewered 1

Flatten out the bird – this may require turning it over and flattening it out with the heel of the hand.

skewered 2

Push a skewer through the fleshy part of each thigh and diagonally across to each leg, as per my pictures.


Place the bird in an oven dish and rub with butter, or in my case the leftover fat, olive oil, chilli and garlic from cooking chorizo al vino. Marinating overnight in oil, wine, garlic, etc., is also good.


Cook in a hot, pre heated oven for about 35 minutes, or until it looks done (as above). Serve with seasonal vegetables.

About Mad Dog
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14 Responses to Spatchcock Poussin

  1. What a fantastic post – we are about to “dispatch” two of our younger cockerels and they would be ideal for this style of cooking. Thanks!

  2. Mad Dog says:

    It’s amazing what you can learn in the Scouts – though they probably don’t allow knives and bonfires theses days 😦

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