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Here’s How to Spatchcock a Chicken Like a Pro
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

You’re feeling all Ina Garten and want to roast a whole chicken for dinner—but it’s a Wednesday night, and the idea of hovering by an oven for hours is all but killing your appetite. And since you can’t call up Ina to make dinner for you (who do you think you are, Jeffrey?), it looks like you’re going to need an alternate plan.

Friend, have you ever tried spatchcocking? It’s our go-to method for cooking a whole bird in no time at all.

What is spatchcocking?

Spatchcocking is the fancy, culinary way of saying you butterflied, or removed the backbone from, a bird. It can refer to a chicken, duck, turkey—anything with wings that you would eat. Basically, by removing the backbone, you can easily split and flatten the entire thing.

What’s the point, you ask? Well, this technique has a couple of benefits that are about to win you over. For starters, spatchcocking speeds up the cooking time. That’s because the legs, which take the longest to cook, are exposed to more heat. Think: 45 minutes to roast a spatchcocked three- to four-pound chicken (as opposed to, like, an hour and a half). Another benefit? Super-crispy skin. Need we say more? 

How can I spatchcock a chicken at home?

While “removing the backbone from a chicken” might sound intimidating (and kind of gross, to be completely honest), rest assured that it’s really simple and quick.

How to spatchcock a chicken in five easy steps

1. Place the chicken breast-side down, with the legs pointing toward you.
2. Starting at the thigh end, use sharp kitchen scissors to cut along one side of the backbone, going all the way to the top.
3. Flip the chicken so the thighs point away from you, and do the same thing on the other side of the backbone.
4. Flip the chicken so the breast side is up and use the heel of your palm to flatten the entire thing like a book.
5. Voilà, you’re ready to roast (or even grill). Don’t tell Ina, but she’s got nothing on you.

RELATED: 8 Things You Can Do with a Whole Chicken (Besides Roasting It)

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