To ensure that his grill-roasted chicken cooks quickly and evenly, contributing editor Tony Rosenfeld butterflies the chicken, a technique that involves removing the back bone and opening the chicken like a book. We like to remove the breastbone too, because carving the cooked chicken is easier without it. If you’d rather skip that part, just do steps 1 and 5, but press down on the breastbone in step 5 to flatten the bird.
To see this in action, check out our video.
Five Steps to Butterflied Chicken
1. With a sharp pair of shears, cut parallel to the backbone about 1/2 inch from the center. Repeat on the other side to release the backbone.
2. With a boning knife, cut through the cartilage in the middle of the chicken until you hit the top of the breast bone.
3. Score the membrane over the breast bone from top to bottom.
4. Bend the sides backward to pop the top of the breast bone free. Pull the bone out.
5. Tuck the tips of the wings behind the breast. (Some chickens come with the tips already trimmed; if so, leave the wings as they are.)