looking for a few good ideas

  amongst the irregular verbiage

Butterflies

Taking advice from Alton Brown of Food TV network's "Good Eats" programme, we grilled a butterflied chicken for dinner.

You need good kitchen shears for this - our "Tullen" snips were only just up to the task. Basically, you flip the bird on its front and cut the rib cage on either side of its neck, heading towards the tail. Then pull the backbone out (and save for stock). Then open the bird like a book and use a small knife to separate the breast bone and cartilage from each side of the breast meat, finishing up with the shears or a heavier knife to extract the bone completely.

When you've done that, the bird kind of flops flat without help.

You can push seasoning under the skin at this point.

We fired up the grill to medium hot, plopped the bird skin side down on the top and pressed him flat using a cake rack and a handy brick.

10 minutes later, we flipped him over and gave him 20 minutes on a lower intensity heat.

Conclusion: Very juicy bird. Took a bit longer to finish him off than I expected - the extra 10 minutes was worth it to ensure there weren't any pink-raw bits. Lisa suggested using a thermometer next time, but I still prefer checking it out visually.

Is it better than pickup up a ready-roasted chicken from the supermarket? Depends if you have time. If you like a drier chicken (which I do) then the pre-cooked birds are definitely more convenient. However, juicy birds with presentation panache and custom seasoning opportunities are sometimes a very good thing.

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