This Spatchcock Turkey cooking method is the quickest way to roast a whole turkey in the oven. It ensures even cooking of the meat, and produces super crisp skin. This recipe is a winner!
If you want to learn the quickest, easiest, laziest way to make a turkey this Spatchcock Turkey recipe is for YOU!
That was what I wrote on my personal Facebook wall the day I made this. I put that up on my page to let all my friends and family know I was challenging myself to make a holiday meal from start to finish in under 2 hours.
It's not crazy at all. I know it seems like it is, but it's completely doable. They key to success was making a spatchcocked turkey. That cuts the turkey cooking time down considerably. So, you don't have to babysit your bird all day long.
If you are unfamiliar with what a spatchcocked turkey is, it's basically a flattened turkey. People refer to the method as "butterfly", "flattened", and "spatchcocked". You remove the backbone and flatten the turkey by pressing down.
What I absolutely love about this is the turkey cooks evenly. Most of the time when you cook a turkey the traditional way you end up with overcooked parts, and undercooked parts. That's likely why many people dislike turkey.
Turkey is absolutely delicious if cooked properly. If it's not cooked properly you will end up scaring off future generations of turkey loving peeps. One bad bird can ruin a life, people. Or many lives. No joke.
So "turkey" responsibly this holiday season. Make this spatchcocked turkey for Thanksgiving! Do it for all the future generations of turkey loving peeps. Turkey deserves your love and adoration. So, cook it with love and care.
- Turkey - My turkey was 12 pounds but buy whatever size suits your needs. You can spatchcock it yourself or ask your butcher to do it for you.
- Butter - Salted or unsalted butter will work for this recipe.
- Rosemary - Use fresh if you have it. The flavour and aroma are amazing.
- Spice - Salt and black pepper all sides of the bird.
- Garlic - Use fresh garlic. We love using the garlic over bread once it's done cooking.
- Onions - I used Vidalia onions but use any type of sweet onion. Honestly, I really love Spanish onions too.
- Carrots - Personally, I like using fresh carrots but not the tiny little baby ones you buy in bags.
- Tomatoes - I used Roma tomatoes. Any smallish tomato will do. Or omit altogether.
- Celery - Use fresh celery and chop it up really well.
How to Prep a Spatchcock Turkey:
- Start by patting the turkey dry with paper towels so you remove all moisture from the bird.
- Place the turkey breast side down on your cutting board.
- Place one hand firmly on the bird, then with the other hand use sharp kitchen shears to cut the backbone out of the bird. Start on one side and cut up through the rib bones until you reach the top. Repeat on the other side. You can save the backbone to make broth or gravy, or you may discard it.
- Now, turn the turkey over and lay it as flat as possible. Take your hands and press down hard on the breast bone. You will hear it crack once or twice. You want the turkey as flat as possible for a quick and even cook.
How to Cook Spatchcock Turkey:
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Next, melt the butter in a small saucepan, toss in some rosemary too. Allow it to bubble then simmer for a few minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit. Remove rosemary once it's cooled.
- Then, line a rimmed pan with tinfoil and spray it with non-stick spray.
- Toss the chopped veggies in the bottom of the pan then pop a rack over top.
- Next, season the turkey on all sides and brush with butter.
- Place the turkey in the pan and pop it the oven. Cook for about 80 to 90 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees F for the breast or 165 degrees F for the thigh.
- Then, remove the turkey from the oven and allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.
- Plate and serve!
This can also be made in a smoker! Follow the directions for prepping. Set your smoker between 225 to 275 degrees F. Cook for about 11 to 13 minutes per pound of meat.
Some random tips:
- Save the giblets and backbone for making stock, broth, or gravy.
- Use poultry shears or sharp kitchen shears work perfectly for cutting the bird.
- You can try dry-brining or use a wet brine for your spatchcock turkey if you like. That's a personal choice.
- Use fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme for added flavour.
- Use a roasting pan or baking sheet with a wire rack so the drippings go under the bird into the pan.
- Save the drippings to make gravy with later.
- Basting is always a good thing when it comes to turkey.
- I recommend using a meat thermometer when cooking poultry. It should read 165 degrees F when fully cooked.
- Have a large serving platter ready so you can plate while carving.
- Use a really sharp knife to carve the bird. Some people love electric knifes, but I prefer a regular knife.
- Arrange the meat on platter. You can use fresh herbs and cranberries scattered around the breast meat, wings and drumsticks to make the platter look festive!
How to Store Leftover Turkey:
You can store leftover turkey in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Allow turkey to cool completely before placing it in the fridge, then place pieces in an airtight container.
You can store leftover cooked turkey in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to allow the meat to cool fully before freezing it. I recommend wrapping it in plastic wrap and storing it in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn.
It can also be placed in freezer bags and stored in the freezer as well. Just be sure to remove as much air from the freezer bags as possible before freezing.
How to Reheat Leftover Turkey:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place leftover turkey or turkey pieces in a baking pan, Add a little gravy or stock to the pan, then a small amount of butter as well. Cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, basting with the juices halfway through.
Remove and serve.
Place the turkey pieces in a large cast iron skillet or nonstick pan. Add a little bit of gravy, stock or water to the pan, then a small pat of butter. Cook over medium-low heat until the turkey is warmed all the way through.
Remove and serve.
Using the microwave is okay in a pinch. It works best for turkey slices and pieces.
Place turkey slices and pieces in a microwave safe container or plate. Add some gravy, stock or water to it. Top with a small pat of butter. Cooking time will vary depending on how much turkey you are reheating. Start with a couple of minutes, then check every 30 to 60 seconds so you don't overcook and dry out the leftovers.
Remove and serve.
Looking for more Thanksgiving Recipes
- Slow Cooker Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Smashed Potatoes with Onions and Garlic
- Parmesan Smashed Potatoes
- Lamb Chops with Peach Salsa
- Balsamic Roasted Baby Carrots
- Kim's Cheater Stuffing
Check out these amazing Spatchcocked Turkey Recipes
- How to Cook a Spatchcocked Turkey from Serious Eats
- Spatchcocked Turkey with Anise and Orange from Bon Appétit
- How to Spatchcock a Turkey from Martha Stewart
- Spatchcocked Roast Turkey from Food 52
- Butterflied, Dry Brined Roasted Turkey from Food Network
To learn how to spatchcock your own turkey watch this great video How to Spatchcock a Turkey from NY Times. The legendary Mark Bittman shows you exactly how to do it at home. All by your little old self.
I used Serious Eats method for inspiration. Let's face it, they are the epitome of perfection where cooking is concerned.
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How to Cook a Spatchcocked Turkey
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- In a small saucepan melt the butter and toss in a few sprigs of rosemary. Allow the butter to bubble up for a few minutes, then lower the heat to a simmer for a few minutes. Take off heat, and leave the rosemary in the butter while you prep the bird.
- Line a large rimmed pan with tinfoil. Spray with non-stick spray.
- Toss chopped vegetables in the pan. Cover the pan with a flat rack.
- Season the turkey generously with salt and pepper on bottom side. Place the turkey cut side down on the baking pan. Brush with butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place turkey in the oven on the middle rack, and cook for 80 to 90 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches of the breast is approximately 150 degrees, and the thigh reaches approximately 165 degrees. My turkey took 80 minutes.
- Remove the turkey from the oven. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.
- Serve with a big turkey loving smile!
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what a gorgeous bird Kim! I may just have to give this a whirl this year as we are hosting Thanksgiving
Rachel @ Rachel Cooks
This is SO gorgeous!
Whoa, this is turkey perfection!!! It's been so long since I've spatchcocked a chicken--I hope it comes back to me as turkey will be next on my list!!!
Megan @ MegUnprocessed
Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen
This was actually super helpful! And gosh it's so pretty!
I've always wanted to try cooking a spatchcock turkey. Such gorgeous color.
Liz @ The Lemon Bowl
Ok you're making me so hungry!! Yes please!
LOVE this go-to recipe!!! so simple, this is seriously perfect for the workweek grind
These look amazing and I love how yummy and easy it is to make this turkey. I am pinning this for sure and I would love it if you would share these yummy recipes at a link party I am co-hosting. I hope to see you there. Have a lovely week. http://diy180site.blogspot.com/2016/10/dishing-it-and-digging-it-link-party-120.html
Thanks for sharing!
I love the idea of simmering the butter for a few minutes with some fresh rosemary! Wow, such a great way to cook your turkey much quicker!
Thanks so much Jill.
Thank you so much for this recipe and the tips. I’ve add it a few times now and it goes out perfect every time!
That's so great to hear.
Thank you so much for this recipe! It turned out really good!
Thank you so much!
I love how quickly and evenly my turkey cooked!
Thanks. I'm a lazy cook so this method has always appealed to me. Ha!