A chicken or game hen that has been spatchcocked has been partially boned and butterflied (spread open). This speeds up the cooking process and enables you to cook a whole chicken using the direct grilling method, since you expose a lot more of the surface area of the meat to the flames.
Spatchcocking may seem intimidating the first time you do it, but you’ll get the hang of it quickly.
1. Remove and discard the fat just inside the body cavities of the chicken or game hen rinse the bird, inside and out, under cold running water, then drain and blot dry, inside and out, with paper towels. Place the bird, breast side down, on a cutting board. Using poultry shears, cut through the flesh and bone along both sides of the backbone. Cut from the tail end to the head end and completely remove the backbone.
2. Open out the bird, like opening a book, by gently pulling the halves apart. Using a sharp paring knife, lightly score the top of the breastbone. Run your thumbs along and under the sides of the breastbone and attached cartilage and pop them out. Spread the bird out flat.
3. Turn the bird over. Using a sharp knife, make a slit in the skin between the lower end of the breastbone and the leg, on each side, 1 inch long for a chicken, 1/2 inch for a game bird. Stick the end of the drumstick on that side through the slit. (This step is optional, but it gives you a more attractive bird.)
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