It's super easy to spatchcock (butterfly) a chicken, and it makes for easier, more even cooking, too.

Chicken is a family favorite during summer, especially when it’s cooked on the grill. But it can be kind of a pain to prepare because the white and dark parts cook at different temperatures.

There’s an easy solution to this — remove the bird’s backbone so that it lays flat on a roasting sheet or grill grate.

The technique is called spatchcocking, or butterflying, and it’s so simple that you can master the process in just one try. All that’s required is a strong pair of kitchen scissors and the confidence to crunch through the chicken’s rib cage on either side of the backbone without being grossed out.

You’ll want to make sure the chicken is very, very dry (I use paper towels) and be sure to tuck the wing tips behind the breasts. This will keep them from burning while the bird cooks.

But why spatchcock a chicken? Well, it allows for even and faster cooking — around 45 minutes — and it makes for a really crunchy skin.

Rain prevented me from firing up the grill, but even with the oven at 450 degrees, my kitchen was completely tolerable while I made a tangy Alabama white barbecue sauce to serve alongside the chicken for dipping and drizzling.

— Gretchen McKay

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