This involves opening the body of a bird, so that it is hinged and can be laid flat. It is then generally held in this shape by inserting long metal skewers - birds treated this way are easier to grill or barbecue evenly.
1. Holding the bird firmly, breast-side down, cut through the backbone from end to end.
2. Turn the bird over, so that the breast side is facing upwards, then lean or push hard on the breast bone to flatten-out the bird.
3. Turn the bird over again, and with a small sharp knife remove the backbone on both sides - this makes the bird far less fiddly to eat.
It can then be fried or roasted (the timing depending on the type of bird) - wooden skewers, previously soaked in water, can be inserted so the bird keeps its flat shape.
A 1 kilo/2.2 lb chicken, for example, can be roasted on a tray at 180°C/Gas 4 for 10 minutes (skin-side down), then basted and cooked for a further 15 minutes (skin-side up). So around 20 minutes in all. The juices should run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a sharp knife.