Spatchcock Turkey is the easiest way to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey if you’re on a time crunch. Your turkey will cook evenly and much faster than a normal roast turkey, and makes for a perfectly cooked turkey that is so juicy and flavorful.
If you want a turkey done in under 2 hours. this is the method that you need to use!
What is a spatchcock turkey?
Spatchcock is a preparation method of breaking down your turkey (also done with whole chicken) by removing the backbone butterflying it after that, laying it as flat as possible on a roasting pan.
By laying it down flat and removing the bone, this accomplishes a couple things:
Level surface: Because the turkey is not on a level surface rather than being a rounded bird shape (man I’m so technical with terms), you’re maximizing the exposure to heat
Evenly cooked: Because it’s now laid out flat, the turkey cooks more evenly. Since leg meat takes longer to cook thank breast meat, the breast will be harder to keep from drying out while waiting for the legs to finish cooking. This is why basting, and stuffing the carcass is a technique to try and keep turkeys from drying out.
Crispy skin: Everyone loves a turkey with crispy skin. Spatchcock turkey has a crisp skin each and every time. Because of the increased surface area exposed to the heat, the moisture from the skin is able to escape much quicker created a beautiful golden and crisp skin.
How to Spatchcock a turkey
The steps are simple. Don’t feel intimidated, and if you don’t want to attempt this the day of thanksgiving, by a whole chicken before the big day and practice that way!
Remove the backbone: Flip the turkey over exposing the backbone. Run your finger along the back to find the backbone and take a butcher knife or shears to cut along each side of the backbone until you cut all the way through. dispose of the backbone, or save it along with the remaining giblets to make a gravy or soup.
Crack the chest plate: flip the bird over and apply pressure to the breast plate. I like to be hands on and will do this with my hands (in a CPR style fashion) pressing firmly down, placing all your weight on the chest plate until it cracks to help it lie flat.
Butterfly your turkey: Place the turkey on a roasting pan or large baking shee with a wire rack. Fold the wings behind themselves, and lay the legs flat.
And that’s it! All there’s left to do is season and cook!
The perfect Spice Rub for spatchcock turkey
My go to rub for roast turkey works just as well with spatchcock turkey
fresh ground black pepper
extra tip for crisp poultry skin
Regardless if its a whole chicken, or turkey I will let my whole birds rest in the fridge uncovered overnight to allow some of that moisture to come out of the skin.
This will help you get a perfectly crisp skin every time.
Then mix all those spice rub ingredients together, and rub it some under the skin, and on top of the skin to get the meat to soak up that buttery goodness.
And similar to prime rib, if you crank up the oven temperature for the first 30 minutes to 450F, then drop it to 350F for the remaining cook, it will act as a sear to get the skin crispier.
How to Carve your spatchcock turkey
A spatchcock turkey is so easy to carve. The legs come off with one quick cut at the joint. I like to keep the legs and thighs in tact and plate whole.
Remove the breast and carve as you would a normal turkey cutting into 1/4 inch slices and plate.
The best part about this? There is SO MUCH more crispy skin to go around! Nothing chewy and gross.
And that’s it!
What I really like about spatchcock turkey is the amount of time it takes to cook. Yeah it’s nice that it didn’t take 4+ hours. But what that really means for me, is more time that my oven has to be cooking other sides that need to go in the oven for thanksgiving.
It’s stressful enough on thanksgiving, so taking one less factor to stress out about is such a huge win!
Need to see in detail how to spatchcock a turkey? check out my tiktok video:
With your turkey patted dry, turn over so the breasts are against the cutting board. With a cleaver or sharp cooking shears, cutt along the backbone along both sides, then remove. Turn the bird over and firmly press down on the breasts to split it open
Preheat oven to 450. Place turkey on a wire rack over a roasting pan, folding the wings behind the breast.
combine butter, salt pepper and fresh herbs together in a bowl. rub under skin and directly on the meat of the turkey, then rub on top of the skin as well.
Cook for 30 minutes then reduce heat to 350. Cook until internal temperature reads 165 F*
Remove and tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 15-20 minutes. Carve and enjoy!
*Optionally, you can use a roasting pan instead along with some celery onion and carrots, and baste in juice every 15 minutes after bringing the oven temp down to 350F