Spatchcocking (or butterflying) sounds complicated, but really it’s just a fancy word for removing the backbone from a chicken or other poultry and cooking the bird open like a book. It’s sort of the poultry equivalent of butterflying. All you need are a pair of sharp kitchen shears. Place the chicken breast side down and run the shears along either side of the bird’s backbone from one end to the other. Once the backbone is free, freeze it and use it to make chicken stock at a later date. Since the wings never get used at my house, I also remove those by finding the joint nearest the body and cutting through the tendons to remove the wings.
While this recipe calls for spatchcocking to cook the entire bird under a weight, spatchcocked poultry can be laid over a mound of stuffing or vegetables and roasted just like you would a whole chicken. Many chefs swear this yields a juicier, more evenly cooked chicken. Plus, it tends to cook in less time.