Roast Beast

Four-legged chicken

What’s wrong with this picture? Here’s a subtle prank to pull on your dinner guests: serve them a four-legged chicken and wait until someone says, “Umm….” Sometimes it takes people a while.


This recipe requires two whole chickens, but the breast halves of the chickens are not used. First, it is necessary to detached the skin from the midsection of the chickens, which can be done by gently sliding one’s hands in the space between the skin and the body.  Start at the neck and work towards the thighs until the skin is detached from the midsection, but do not detach it from the area around the thighs or cut it off. Kitchen shears are helpful to cut the connective tissue without tearing the skin. Then, cut the chicken in half across the exposed body, so that there is one half with both thighs and the other half with both wings.

Next, sew the two halves containing the thighs together with cotton (not polyester) thread. A leather-working needle or other curved needle is very helpful. The stitch used here is similar to the overcast stitch. Try to sew through as much of the thickness of the meat as possible so that the stitches cannot be easily ripped out.

Chicken halves sewn together

Finally, cut the chicken skin that is most damaged off. Lay the other chicken skin across both chickens to hide the stitches.

Raw chicken

Once the two chicken halves are sewn together, any recipe for baked, roasted or grilled whole chicken will do. We tied the legs with twine and stuffed the chicken with potato and onions,. We seasoned it with Montreal Steak Seasoning and then followed a modified version of the recipe in CookWise: The Hows & Whys of Successful Cooking. We didn’t brine it or bake it on its side, but we did baste it with butter and molasses.

We were worried that the stitches would not hold the chicken together sufficiently when it was flipped during baking, but it was not a problem at all. In fact, the chicken held together well even while being devoured by five ravenous people!

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6 Responses to Roast Beast

  1. Beth says:

    The chicken was very moist and tender, and it was great to have extra drumsticks to go around. This was a definite success.

  2. Cheryl says:

    I still think we should have called it the “pushme pullet.” 🙂

    It was delicious, and there were enough drumsticks to go around, and it was gone within 20 minutes. The bones looked like they’d been hit by piranhas.

  3. Samantha says:

    Hilarious (and delicious) idea! I’m totally making this for our next dinner party.

  4. madonnaearth says:

    LOL – I have a brother who would love this!

  5. Manny Howard says:

    Love this! Got an ove-stuffer and a leather needle. Gonna use Adobo to season, but otherwise you’r ethe man. Now…. Okay, tearing the place apart looking for a second chicken. I know I have one here somewhere. Not in the fridge. Maybe the tool box? Shit. I know where it is! It’s in the coop out back… Let me ask, is it okay if the second bird is alive when I sew ’em together?
    Thanks for the inspiration.

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