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A Spatchcock Turkey cooks faster and more evenly, and will be the most tender and juicy turkey you’ve ever cooked! Roasted or smoked, this turkey will wow your guests come Thanksgiving day.

I love Thanksgiving leftovers! The big meal is fun, but sometimes it can be stressful. I love waking up the next morning and having a fridge full of food to make fun meals out of. If you have leftover turkey, you’ve got to try this Leftover Turkey Casserole or this delicious Turkey Pot Pie. I made Sausage Stuffing Balls last year with leftover stuffing, they were a total hit!

A spatchcock turkey roasted on a pan with oranges, cranberries, and fresh herbs.

Spatchcock Turkey Recipe

Why should you spatchcock your turkey? Lots of reasons! Spatchcocking is when you butterfly it, or remove the backbone so that the bird will lay flat on the pan. It makes it so that the whole turkey is more evenly distributed on the roasting pan so it cooks faster and more evenly. This means less time in the oven and a more moist bird! It really is one of the best ways to cook turkey on Thanksgiving day!

I have made turkey in a lot of different ways for the holidays. I really love the method of cooking a turkey in a bag, and I’ve even used my air fryer to cook a whole juicy and delicious air fryer turkey! Spatchcocking works for the oven, smoker, air fryer, or whatever you end up cooking your turkey in. It’s easy to do and I’ve got lots of tips to help you become a spatchcocking pro. Especially when you use this brine, you will have the most delicious flavor and a yummy moist turkey for your holiday dinner!

Ingredients

There is not much needed to make an incredible turkey dinner. You can choose the size of turkey that your family will need, but in this recipe, the cook time and amount of ingredients is for a 12-14 pound chicken. See the recipe card below for exact measurements.

  • Turkey: This recipe is for a 12-14 pound turkey. You will spatchcock the turkey, which means you will bring the legs out from under the bird by cutting the belly and flattening the backbone. It’s actually really simple! Make sure to remove the neck and giblet bag
  • Turkey Seasoning: About ⅓ C of seasoning will season a 10-14 lb turkey. If you have a bigger turkey you will want to use more seasoning than that. This seasoning blend has the perfect spices for a holiday turkey like rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, garlic powder, and of course salt and pepper. It has a few other things but that’s just naming the main ones!
  • Rosemary, Parsley, Orange Slices, and Cranberries: These are optional garnishes. You can use them if you like, they do make the plate look really pretty, and the smell of the fresh herbs and fruit is incredible! But this is your Thanksgiving turkey, make it exactly the way you like it!

How to Spatchcock a Turkey

If you have ever spatchcocked a chicken, this is the same process! A spatchcocked turkey is the way to go in my opinion, it cooks in less time and more evenly. It’s just as pretty on the plate and stays so juicy and delicious!

  1. Dry: Pat dry the turkey with a paper towel.
  2. Cut: Then set the turkey breast side down on a baking sheet with a wire rack. Using very sharp kitchen shears, cut along the backbone from the tail to the neck. Cut along each side until it is removed. Discard the backbone or save it to make a stock.
  3. Press: Flip the turkey over and then use your hands to press firmly to flatten the ribs and break the breast bone. Make sure the turkey is completely flat and put the thighs out on the baking sheet.
  4. Rub: Rub the turkey generously with the turkey seasoning.
Images showing the process of how to spatchcock a turkey.

Spatchcock Roasted Turkey

  1. Bake: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake the turkey for 20 minutes. Then reduce oven temperature and cook at 400 degrees for about 1 ½ hours or until the thickest part reaches 165 degrees on your meat thermometer.
  2. Rest: Remove turkey from the oven and tent with foil. Let rest for 10-20 minutes. Then carve and serve.

Spatchcock Smoked Turkey

  1. Preheat: Preheat your smoker to 240 degrees F.
  2. Smoke: Place the spatchcocked turkey in the smoker skin side up. Smoke for 4 hours or until the thickest part reaches 165 degrees.

Tips for Spatchcocking a Turkey

If you are not familiar with breaking down a bird and have never spatchcocked anything before, here are some tips to help you feel confident come Thanksgiving day!

  • Watch a Video: If you have read these instructions and still feel nervous, watch a video! There are lots of videos on the internet showing professional chefs spatchcocking a chicken, and this is no different. Watch a few to get familiar with the process.
  • Practice: If you are nervous about messing up on your turkey, buy a whole chicken and practice ahead of time! It is smaller and less expensive, so there is less pressure to get it perfect the first time!
  • How to Carve a Spatchcock Turkey: You will have to carve it a little differently, but it’s not harder! First, remove the legs and wings. You will remove the entire leg including the thigh at the joint. Next, separate the drumstick from the thigh. Then you will remove the breast from the bone and slice it. Finally, arrange it on a platter and you’re done!

Turkey cut up and presented on a platter with oranges, cranberries, and fresh herbs.

Saving Leftovers

I love Thanksgiving leftovers, and this turkey makes great meals for a few days! Follow these tips for storing your leftovers to get the most out of this recipe.

  • In the Refrigerator: Store your turkey in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Use it in other dishes to get the most out of your turkey!


To spatchcock the turkey:

  • Pat dry the turkey with a paper towel.

  • Set the turkey breast side down on a baking sheet with a wire rack. Using very sharp kitchen shears, cut along the backbone from the tail to the neck. Cut along each side until it is removed. Discard the backbone or save it to make a stock.

  • Flip the turkey over and use your hands to press firmly to flatten the ribs. Make sure the turkey is completely flat and put the thighs out on the baking sheet.

  • Rub the turkey generously with the turkey seasoning.

To Roast the Turkey:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake the turkey for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature and cook at 400 degrees for about 1 ½ hours or until the thickest part reaches 165 degrees.

  • Remove turkey from the oven and tent with foil. Let rest for 10-20 minutes. Carve and serve.

To Smoke the Turkey:

  • Preheat your smoker to 240 degrees F.

  • Place the spatchcocked turkey in the smoker skin side up. Smoke for 4 hours or until the thickest part reaches 165 degrees.



Serves: 8

Calories681kcal (34%)Carbohydrates0.1gProtein105g (210%)Fat27g (42%)Saturated Fat7g (35%)Polyunsaturated Fat7gMonounsaturated Fat9gTrans Fat0.3gCholesterol348mg (116%)Sodium541mg (23%)Potassium1084mg (31%)Fiber0.1gSugar0.3gVitamin A273IU (5%)Vitamin C0.003mgCalcium55mg (6%)Iron4mg (22%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Dinner

Cuisine American

Keyword spatchcock turkey, turkey

Alyssa Rivers

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