How to Spatchcock a Turkey

How to Spatchcock a TurkeyBecause we’re still living through a pandemic, Thanksgiving is going to be different this year for most us. Many of us who have never cooked a Thanksgiving feast will be trying it for the first time—which can present any number of potential problems. A quick search of recipes for a roasted turkey will give you thousand of options to choose from. But, what do you do if you don’t have 5 hours to prepare it or, more common than you think, a normal-sized turkey won’t fit in your oven?

Roasting a turkey can be scary if you are doing it for the first time because roasting a stuffed turkey can be tricky. You need to roast it long enough that it is actually cooked but not so long that the meat is dried out. It is definitely a balancing act. One of the best ways to combat the challenges, we have found, is to spatchcock your turkey.

Spatchcocking, or butterflying, is a technique often used for cooking chickens but it works equally as well for turkeys. The process is quick and easy, especially if you have some good poultry sheers—which are a great addition to your kitchen arsenal, if you are willing to make the $25 investment. They are useful for more than turkeys.

By spatchcocking your turkey, you will make it easier to fit a larger bird in your oven and you will also cut down on the cooking time considerably. This is where finding a recipe specifically for a butterflied turkey is essential. The one drawback to cooking your bird this way is that you will not be able to cook the stuffing in the cavity of the turkey. For some this can be a deal breaker.

To spatchcock your turkey all you have to do is remove the back bone of the bird. Once you have done that, flip the bird over and press down hard on the breast bone to crack it and to get the turkey to lay flat. Tuck the wing tips underneath and you are now good to go.

See this video from Serious Eats to see how it’s done…

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