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Voraciously

How to spatchcock a chicken

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Spatchcocking (a.k.a. butterflying) poultry involves removing the backbone and flattening a whole bird. It’s a useful cooking technique because the flatter poultry leads to more even cooking between the white and dark meat. Here’s how it’s done.

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To begin, remove the neck and any other giblets from the cavity and reserve for another use (the neck, gizzard and to-be-removed backbone are great for making stock) or discard.

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Grab a pair of sturdy kitchen shears (the type that come apart are great for easy cleaning) and cut along both sides of the backbone to remove it. Good kitchen shears should make easy work of cutting through the bones.

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If desired, trim excess skin and fat.

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Next, flip the bird over and with your palms press down on the breastbone to break it so the bird will lay flat.

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Lastly, pat the chicken dry, season (or brine or marinate) as desired and fold in the tips of the wings (optional). Now it’s ready to cook! Slap it on the grill, roast it in a hot oven or fry it in a large pot on the stove. Whatever you decide, you’ve got a versatile piece of poultry primed for delicious results.

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Photo by Scott Suchman for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post