Remove the backbone from a whole bird and it will lie flat, instantly doubling the surface area—and the flavor and crisping potential. This easy technique is called spatchcocking or butterflying. I almost always do chicken like this now, and it’s also perfect for turkey and small birds like pheasants and guinea hens. Figure a 3- to 3-1/2-pound pheasant will take about an hour; a 10- to 14-pound turkey—triple the flavor paste or marinade from any chicken recipe— will take 2 to 2-1/2 hours.
How to Spatchcock a Bird:
STEP 1 With the bird breast down, use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to cut along one side of the backbone.
STEP 2 Cut along the other side of the backbone and remove it.
STEP 3 Flip the bird over, then push down on the breastbone with the heel of your hand to crack it so the bird will lie flat on the grill.
• ON-DEMAND: Listen to Faith talk to Mark about this recipe, as well as others from Mark’s cookbook, How to Grill Everything. •
Excerpted from HOW TO GRILL EVERYTHING © 2018 by Mark Bittman. Photography © 2018 by Christina Holmes. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.