Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Unwrap a whole roasting chicken and remove anything stuffed inside the front and back cavities, along with the plastic timer pop-up.
Look and the bird carefully to determine where you see the breast meat. Then flip the chicken over and find the backbone.
Use strong kitchen shears to cut alongside the backbone, from one end of the bird to the other. Then cut along the other side of the backbone to remove it completely. Keep the shears very close to the backbone as to not cut off any meat.
Open the cavity of the chicken to find the breastbone. Now cut a shallow incision through the flexible bone, from one end to the other, yet not all the way through the breast meat and skin on the other side. This allows the chicken to be flattened. (See photos for reference.)
Place the chicken breast-side-up on a rimmed baking sheet. Push the breasts down to flatten the chicken. Pull the drumsticks down and together to create the classic spatchcock shape. Then deal with the wings…
On some chickens, the tips of the wings have already been trimmed off. In this case, leave them as-is. However, on other chickens, the wings tips are intact and are likely to burn before the chicken is cooked through. You can either cut them off at the joint or tuck them up and under the breasts.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, including any excess juices on the baking sheet.
In a small bowl mix the melted butter, lemon zest, minced garlic, fresh herbs, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon ground black pepper.
Brush the mixture over the entire surface of the chicken. Roast for 35-40 minutes, until the interior temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
Allow the chicken to rest for 7-10 minutes before cutting and serving.