Published February 12, 2007.
Butterflied chicken is simple and quick to grill (that's the good news) but it can also turn out unevenly cooked and poorly browned.
Even the most careful grilling can't guarantee great results with chicken. One portion of the chicken can still end up cooked more than another, or the skin can be scorched in some spots and flabby in others.
We wanted a no-fuss grilled chicken that required much less effort and attention than a whole bird typically requires.
We butterflied the chicken—a simple process in which the bird is placed on its breast and the backbone is removed (just cut along both sides of the backbone with kitchen shears). Pounding the bird then makes it slightly more attractive (it browns more evenly) and cutting slits on either side of the breast to tuck in each leg allows the chicken to cook up neat, tidy, and flat. And since the split, pounded, and tucked chicken is so much thinner than a whole roaster, it can be cooked over a medium-hot, direct fire in just about half an hour (flipped halfway through). We achieved perfection after we found that weighting the bird allowed it to brown and cook even more evenly. For basic seasoning, we liked a brined chicken. But spice rubs and pastes slid under the skin added interesting flavors, as did a barbecue sauce applied when the chicken was nearly done.list of recipes