How to Butterfly a Whole Chicken

Chicken is one of the most versatile pieces of meat in the world.  You can fry, steam, grill, saute, boil, or braise it, but one of the biggest advantages to buying a whole chicken over pieces is that you get a whole other level of flavor from the bones and the skin.  we’ve all had a tender roasted chicken and they’re great the way they are, but have you ever thought about taking the spine out of the bird and cooking it as a flattened bird?

Butterflied chicken allows you to lower the cooking time of a chicken by increasing the surface area exposed to direct heat.  It also allows extra flavors to seap into the bird from underneath.  A great example of this is roasting a butterflied chicken on a bed of vegetables.  Cooking a butterflied chicken on a bed of vegetables ALSO lowers the cooking time further by giving more indirect heat to get in the holes created by the bed of vegetables.

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So how do you butterfly a chicken?  Use boning shears or an extremely sharp pair of scissors.  Find the tail of the bird and cut up along the right side of the spine of the bird until you’ve separated one side of the spine. Repeat this process on the other side of the spine and you’ve got a butterflied chicken. Keep the chicken spine and freeze them in a gallon zip-lock bag every time you butterfly a chicken. When you have 4 or 5 spines you can use them to make incredible chicken stock for a plethora of different uses!


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