Follow these two simple steps to butterfly your bird.

By Real Simple
Updated July 11, 2013
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Credit: Olivier Kugler

Want a grilled or roast chicken with perfectly crispy skin and juicy meat? Then butterfly it—a technique that entails removing the chicken’s backbone and laying the bird flat. Butterflying reduces cooking time and guarantees that the thighs cook through while the breasts remain juicy. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Place the chicken breast-side down on a cutting board. Using a pair of heavy-duty kitchen shears, cut down both sides of the backbone to remove it. Discard the backbone, or save it for making chicken stock.

Step 2: Flip the chicken breast-side up and press on the breastbone with the heel of your hand to flatten it. Season and cook as desired. (This recipe for Smoky Butterflied Chicken With Garlic-Mayo Tomatoes and Herbs is a good place to start.)