The Go-To Technique Ronnie Woo Uses For Crispy Chicken Skin - Exclusive

Roast chicken is one of life's great meals, but making a chicken that's juicy and tender with perfectly crispy skin is not always easy. When you make a typical roast chicken, there will always be a part that is facing the bottom of the pan that does not get the same delicate crunch the rest of the chicken gets. However, there is one easy trick that can help you get that perfect skin every time.

Chef and author Ronnie Woo showcases it with his take on orange chicken. Instead of relying on the sugary sauces and deep-fried chicken pieces that you'd find at your local takeout spot, Woo brings together the delectable flavor of orange chicken with the comfort of a roast chicken. Not wanting to sacrifice any crispy goodness while not deep frying, Woo told us in an exclusive interview that he actually spatchcocks chicken to get a large quantity of perfect, extra-crispy skin every time. 

Spatchcock chicken

Spatchcock is a technique as fun to say as it is to eat; it is thought to be an abbreviated form of the phrase "dispatch the cock." As Ronnie Woo explained, "You're basically cutting out the backbone [of the chicken] and butterflying it." Doing this may sound intimidating, but Woo assured us that "it's pretty simple." It also comes with some big bonuses.

Woo said, "You're laying it out so that it can cook a lot easier, and it can cook a lot faster and more evenly." This on its own is nice to have — who doesn't want to save time when cooking? — but the true star is what this method does for the skin. He continued, "When you spatchcock a chicken, all the skin gets exposed to the air, so it gets all crispy." This means none of the skin is left underneath to get soggy and flimsy, and the eater gets to enjoy more of this extra-crispy chicken skin.

Of course, this technique can also be used for making an unadorned roast chicken if an orange chicken dish like Woo's isn't your style. For those who want a more in-depth how-to on this cooking method, Woo provides a step-by-step guide to spatchcocking in his new book, "Did You Eat Yet?"

Ronnie Woo's "Did You Eat Yet?" is now available at bookstores everywhere.