Yes, this is just a cooking technique. It something people do to chickens, and now I am one of them. We have a bit of a feast planned for Pam's birthday, but I also wanted to do something for her attainment day dinner the evening before. It was there that she found a word new to both of us, in the title of a recipe that is also available on the Big Green Egg web site: spatchcocked chicken.
It turns out that this really is a thing. When Pam read that part of the recipe to me, I was concerned that it might not be as easy to do as the blithe description suggested. So she suggested that I do what has become second-nature for all DIY endeavors, and sure enough, I found spatchcock instructions on YouTube, courtesy of Food Wishes, a project of our go-to web page, All Recipes.
So we got a chicken -- rather a big one, contrary to the suggestion in the video -- and set it in the fridge until it was time to start preparing dinner. It was both good news and bad news that I had not actually read the entire recipe before I started. Bad news because I had to skip most of the directions. Good news because had I read the recipe, I would not have tried this at all, and that would have been a missed opportunity.
In the end, I did a very simple version of the original recipe: cleaned and rinsed the chicken, removed the backbone as shown and cut the chest bone (it's a bit gruesome, I have to admit) so that I could lay the chicken flat on a pan. Then I brushed it with olive oil, rubbed coffee on it, and put it on a 300F grill (Big Green Egg). After 20 minutes, I brushed Stubbs hickory barbecue sauce on one side, flipped it with my handy tongs, and then brushed the other side. After another 20 minutes, the thickest parts of the meat read 165F as they should, but some parts were still below 140. So I did not get quite that even cooking that is promised with this method. For food-safety reasons, I let it grill another 10 minutes or so -- still uneven but safe throughout.
Those items wrapped in foil are sweet potatoes. As I often do with Russet potatoes, I put a little oil and salt on them and put them in the Big Green Egg ahead of the meat grilling. In this case, that meant cooking them for far longer than I intended, but there was no harm in that! They were quite hot, soft and delicious -- made even more so with a dab of Amish butter.