12/11/2014 09:12 am ET Updated Feb 10, 2015

The Year of the Spatchcocked Turkey (and Why You Should Do It All the Time)

Peden & Munk

By Matt Duckor, Epicurious

There's zero question that 2014 was The Year of the Spatchcocked Turkey.

Literally everyone wrote about it: Bon Appétit, Serious Eats, The Kitchn, and Tasting Table, just to name a few. And, of course, we featured the trend-setting, vertabrae-removing technique in our very own Procrastinator's Thanksgiving Guide. Quartz, the online news site, even featured a piece that tracked the term's statistical rise to prominence over the past few years.

And there's a good reason for all the attention: It yields fantastic results. Not only does the increased surface area make for a juicier end-result, but your bird will cook much, much faster (90 minutes versus nearly 4 hours in the case of a 14-pound Thanksgiving turkey at 350F).

But why relegate spatchcocking to Thanksgiving turkey alone? In short, you shouldn't.

Spatchcocking, sometimes referred to as butterflying, is the process of removing the backbone from a poultry or game animal and allowing it cook flat. Sure, it sounds like something you might read about in the appendix of some technique-heavy cookbook, but it's ridiculously easy to do at home with just a pair of kitchen shears. Too intimidated? Just ask your butcher or the gentleman at the meat counter to do it for you.

And while most people aren't roasting turkey all year long, spatchcocking also works great for whole chickens, everyone's go-to weekend family-feeding strategy. Whether you're cooking chicken in a roasting pan, grilling outdoors, or doing some indoor grill-pan work, spatchcocking will give your chicken all the benefits that made everyone on the Internet suddenly go bonkers for turkey--meat that cooks quickly and stays juicy, with crispy, bronzed skin.

A classic recipe that requires spatchcocking? Chicken Under a Brick. This rustic classic, which involves physically cooking a whole chicken underneath an actual brick, guarantees a flavorful, crisp-skinned bird every time--in just one hour.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Under a Brick

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