Foolproof Spatchcock Turkey

Want a beautiful roast turkey in under two hours? Spatchcock turkey is the answer – flattening out the bird gives you juicy meat and crispy skin, every time.

spatchcock turkey recipe |

You should make a turkey this year, even if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, and you should definitely, 100% make a spatchcock turkey, because it will be the easiest, fastest, prettiest turkey you will ever make.

Turkey is one of those meats that I love, kind of like a very intense chicken. Yes, they’re big and you will end up with a lot of leftovers, but I think it’s worth it, and how many times a year can you get a big fresh turkey?

What is spatchcock turkey?

Spatchcocking is a fancy way of saying removing the backbone and flattening the bird before you roast it. It’s superior to roasting a bird whole because it makes for even cooking, since the thighs aren’t covered by the legs and the delicate white meat isn’t exposed right up top. It also makes for crispier skin, better presentation, and lets you use the backbone and other bits to make gravy and stock right away.

spatchcock turkey thanksgiving dinner |

How to spatchcock a turkey

  1. Prep. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. It might be best to work in a large clean deep sink or in a large roasting pan. Flip the turkey so that it’s breast side down.
  2. Remove the backbone. Hold the turkey firmly and use a pair of kitchen shears (you definitely need kitchen shears) to cut alongside the backbone, starting where the tail meets the thigh. Cut all the way up until the turkey is split up to the neck. Push the turkey open slightly and then repeat on the other side, carefully cutting alongside the other side of the backbone. This side may be a bit trickier, so go slow.
  3. Trim. Trim off any excess fat or skin you might see. I took off the tail and the hood of fat near the neck. You can use the trimmings to make the best turkey gravy ever.
  4. Flip and flatten. Flip the turkey over so that the breast is facing up and push down on the ridge breast bone, hard. You should hear a couple of cracks and the turkey should be flatter. Tuck the wing tips behind the breast so they don’t burn.
  5. Season. Place the turkey on your prepared rack and baking sheet and rub with 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

How long to cook a spatchcock turkey

  • 11-12lb turkey: about 75 mins
  • 12-14lb turkey: about 1 hour 25 mins
  • 14-16lb turkey: about 1 hour 35 mins
  • 16-18lb turkey: about 1 hour 50 mins
  • 18-20lb turkey: about 2 hours

Oven accuracy varies so you should always use a meat thermometer, especially with a high stakes thing like turkey, especially as the bird gets bigger. They aren’t expensive and will save you from microwaving pink meat or eating cardboard turkey. We like this one. Once you have one, just get your breast meat to 150ºF and your thigh meat to 165ºF.

Spatchcock Turkey |