butterfly cut chicken

How to Butterfly Cut a Whole Chicken

Butterflied chicken, also known as spatchcocked chicken, is a fabulous way to prep a whole chicken for the grill. Not to mention it is just plain fun to say the word “spatchcocked”! It can make your husband stop in his tracks when asking you, “honey, what’s for dinner?”, and have your kids giggling under the table. I enjoy imagining the voice of Beavis or Butthead saying “he, he, you said, spatchcocked!”, with a few giggling grunts.
All joking aside, the original term is actually “spatchcock.” Alan Davidson tells us in The Oxford Companion to Food that “The word is an abbreviation of ‘dispatch the cock,’ a phrase used to indicate a summary way of grilling a bird after splitting it open down the back and spreading the two halves out flat.” Davidson speculates that spatchcocked birds originated in Ireland around the 18th century. Pretty interesting, right?
Butterflied or spatchcocked birds require less time in the oven which is really handy. This also means that the breast pieces won’t be dry as with roasting the whole intact chicken. Plus it’s easy to make a pocket between the skin and breast meat if you wish to stuff the bird.
My friend Karen and I had a lot of fun making this video tutorial on how to butterfly a chicken. We called it “how to fillet a whole chicken” but whatever you decide to name the technique is entirely up to you! I hope you find it entertaining and helpful. I apologize ahead of time for overusing the word “anus”, as we did have a few glasses of wine prior to spontaneously making the video.
The recipe for the finished chicken can be found here.