How to Spatchcock a Bird

This method of butchering a bird has been growing in popularity of late, and for good reason! After a few quick steps, you can increase the surface area of your poultry, thus allowing it to cook more quickly and evenly than if you were to roast it whole. That’s right! Waiting for your thigh meat to cook perfectly no longer has to go hand in hand with helplessly watching your breast meat dry out!

These days, I often see Spatchcock Chicken in the grocery store poultry section…but it’s often 3-4 times more expensive than buying a fully intact bird. Luckily, a little DIY butchery, and you can have spatchcock poultry without the cost of it!

Time: 5-15 Minutes (depending on type and size of your bird.

What You’ll Need:

  • Whole bird of your choice. Process pictures are of a Cornish Game Hen, and smaller birds are easier to work with because it’s easier to cut through the rib cage.
  • A cutting board big enough for your bird of choice
  • Kitchen Shears (or chef’s knife for larger birds)
  • Sharp Knife


  • Begin by placing your bird on your cutting board with the backbone facing upwards (breast meat down).
  • Using a good pair of kitchen shears, cut down the length of one side of the backbone. We find it’s best to start from the neck end and work towards the tail. This is easier with smaller birds, as you can imagine.
  • When you’ve cut through, do the same on the other side of the backbone so that it can be completely removed. Keep the backbone to use for making stock later, or discard.
  • At this point, your poultry will be open, but it won’t be able to lay flat. SO, you’ll need a good knife to cut away the little cartilage at the top of the breast bone (see picture 4 below where my knife is pointing to the spot).
  • Once you cut the cartilage, the breast bone should pop out a bit, and you should be able to pull the ribs apart so that your bird can lay flat.
  • Give the rib side a quick salt and pepper sprinkle, and then transfer to your baking dish.
  • Tuck the wing tips under the skin so that they stay put during cooking.
  • Cook according to your favourite Spatchcock Recipe!

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