How to Double Butterfly a Roast

by Amelia Allonsy

A double butterfly-cut roast, such as a pork or beef loin, stuffed and rolled into pinwheels may fool dinner guests into thinking you're secretly a master chef. This butterfly technique turns a rectangular or cylindrical piece of meat into a flat rectangle. You can spread filling such as cornbread dressing or rice and vegetables over the rectangle, roll it up as you would roll a carpet, and tie it with butcher's string. This is an alternative cutting method to spiral cutting a roast and is much easier to make the roast uniform.

Trim excess fat from the roast with a boning knife. Fat helps flavor the meat, so don't cut off all the fat.

Set the roast on a cutting board with one end pointing toward you. Hold a long chef's knife parallel with the cutting board, positioned about 1/3 of the way down from the top of the roast. Slice through the roast horizontally along the long side, stopping about 1 inch before you reach the other long side.

Flip the roast over so the uncut long side is on the same side as your dominant, cutting hand. Measure1/3 down from the top of the roast; this was the bottom of the roast before you flipped it. Make a second horizontal cut through the roast, stopping 1 inch before you reach the other side.

Pull back the cut flaps of meat, opening each like a book. Each flap opens in opposite directions so the roast is flat on the work surface. In the folded position, you might think of the roast as a folded letter in which the top 1/3 of the paper is folded over and the bottom 1/3 is folded underneath.

Pound the roast with a meat mallet, as needed, to ensure it lies flat with even thickness throughout.

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Items you will need

  • Cutting board
  • Boning knife
  • Chef's knife
  • Meat mallet


  • A single butterfly technique usually is sufficient for a small roast such as a beef or pork tenderloin, which only weighs a few pounds at most. The double butterfly technique is best for thicker roasts such as a whole pork loin because it ensures the roast is thin and flat so it's easier to roll.

About the Author

A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.

Photo Credits

  • Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images