How to Split a Chicken

Ready for the grill

Ready for the grill

Spatchcocking a chicken is a great method for cooking a whole chicken on a barbecue, especially if you do not want to smoke it. By splitting the bird in half the cooking time is shortened and the meat cooks more evenly over the fire. You still want to use indirect heat to cook the bird, and it will take an hour at least to be done. There is no need to brine a split chicken but many types of marinades and spice rubs can be applied before grilling.

The start

The spine is in the center

To begin remove giblets, extra fat and rinse the chicken well in cold water. Flip it on the breasts and find the spine.

Is a chicken more chicken if it is spineless

Is a chicken more chicken if it is spineless

Using kitchen shears remove the entire spine. The bones are small and easily cut on both sides of the spine. Then look for the white diamond in the center of the breasts. This is the keel (breast) bone.

Make sure to cut slowly

Make sure to cut slowly

Slowly cut between the keel bone and arm joint of the chicken. Be sure not to slice all the way down or you will cut the chicken into two pieces. Score along the keel bone on each side until it is removed from the breast meat. Do not cut the wishbone out, it is what holds the two halves together. The chicken is now done and should lie flat.

The keel bone removed

The keel bone removed


About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
This entry was posted in Chicken, Grilling/Smoking, How to and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to How to Split a Chicken

  1. A_Boleyn says:

    You learn something new all the time. I’ve spatchcocked for ages but never removed the keel/breastbone. I’ll have to give that a try the next time I do so.

  2. Excellent “how to” and what a lovely corn fed chicken you have there!

  3. Exactly the same method that we’ve been using for a long time! Easy and clean

  4. I’ve never actually tried this technique before. Thanks for the tutorial!

  5. ChgoJohn says:

    Great how-to, Greg. You really excel at this stuff.

  6. Kristy says:

    I think we will do this for our Easter dinner. It’s about time the grill came out of hiding! Your pictures will be very helpful!!

  7. Pingback: South American Grilled Chicken | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

  8. Pingback: Rufus Reruns: Is There a Butcher in the House? | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

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