“Spatchcock” is a fun word, isn’t it? It sounds a bit pretentious, a bit risqué, and a bit elusive all at the same time. Plus, it’s full of hard consonants which just makes it enjoyable to pronounce. It usually refers to a preparation of chicken where you remove the backbone and open the chicken so that it can lie flat. This makes it much easier to cook and allows it to cook faster. You could also say “butterfly” the chicken instead of “spatchcock”, but “spatchcock” really is much more fun, no? You could ask your butcher to spatchcock your chicken for you, but why bother when you could do it yourself with a handy pair of shears. If you’re interested in learning how to spatchcock a chicken, click here for photos and a good explanation in the cooking school.
The reason a spatchcocked chicken cooks faster than a whole chicken is because the breasts and legs get direct contact from the heat source when the chicken is skin-side down AND when the chicken is skin-side up. It’s easier to cook than a whole chicken (especially on the grill) because you’ve turned it into a flat piece of meat with two sides, rather than a circle with four sides. You simply flip the chicken over a couple of times on the grill, rather than rotating it around to ensure all sides get cooked evenly.