How to Butterfly a Whole Chicken

Learn how to spatchcock in three simple steps.

A quick and efficient way to cook a whole chicken on the grill or in the oven is to butterfly it. This method—also known as spatchcock—is so popular, especially in Southern California, that large restaurant chains have thrived selling chile-rubbed, grilled butterflied chicken to happy patrons.

Follow these 3 easy steps to learn how to spatchcock your own chicken before grilling or roasting.


Step 1

Step 1

Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut the chicken down one side of the backbone and through the ribs.


Step 2

Step 2

Make an identical cut on the opposite side to remove the backbone completely; discard (or reserve it for stock).


Step 3

Step 3

Place the bird cut-side down (skin-side up) and flatten it with the heel of your hand; use both hands if you need to apply extra pressure.

Recipe to Try: Butterflied Grilled Chicken with a Chile-Lime Rub