How To Spatchcock A Bird

Spatchcocking — a technique where the backbone is removed from a bird so that it can be split and flattened, is a beautiful way to cook a full bird in less time. The French call a spatchcocked bird en crapaudine, since, with a stretch of the imagination, it resembles a flat toad or crapaud.

Anne Willan's LaVarenne Pratique, an essential culinary reference book for both novice and expert cooks, shares these tips for spatchcocking a bird.

Cut off the wing pinions at the joint with a pair of poultry shears or with a knife. Then, hold the bird in your hand (or place it on a cutting board), breast down. Cut along each side of the backbone with poultry shears and remove it.

Clean the inside of the bird by wiping it with paper towels. Trim the skin. Open the bird out and snip the wishbone in half or remove it. Set the bird, breast side up, with the legs turned in.

(Credit: Flickr/Marisa McClellan)

Using the heel of your hand, push down sharply on the breast to break the breastbone, flattening the bird. Make a small cut in the skin between the leg and breastbone and tuck in the leg knuckles. Thread two skewers through the birds, to hold the wings and legs in a flat, splayed position.