How to Spatchcock a Turkey – a simple, step-by-step tutorial that will teach you how to confidently spatchcock your own turkey!
How To Spatchcock A Turkey 101
There are so many different ways to cook a turkey and spatchcocking a whole turkey before cooking has to be one of our favorites! It is one of our favorites simply because it significantly reduces the cook time! You get to enjoy all the greatness of a whole turkey + drippings in a fraction of the time to cook. Perfect for Thanksgiving when you also want to use your oven for all the delicious side dishes! Checkout our step-by-step tutorial below for everything you need to know.
What Exactly Does It Mean To “Spatchcock”?
Spatchcock is a term that means to remove the backbone (from a chicken, turkey, cornish game hen, etc.) so that it can lay flat while cooking.
How Big Of A Turkey Can You Spatchcock?
Generally, it is best to stick to a turkey that is around 12-14 pounds. If you get a bigger turkey than that you might need to do some measuring to see if it would fit on your roasting pan or in your oven (if that is how you are cooking it).
How To Cook A Spatchcock Turkey
A spatchcock turkey can be roasted in the oven, cooked on the grill, or cooked on a smoker. It will be delicious cooked any of those ways! Here is our favorite recipe for Juicy Spatchcock Turkey!
How Long Will It Take To Cook A Spatchcocked Turkey?
The cook times will vary depending on how big your turkey is. Here are some general guidelines for cook times in the oven (roasting at approx. 350 degrees F.):
- ~1 hour – 1 hour 30 minutes for a 12-14 lb turkey
- ~1 hour 30 minutes – 2 hours for an 18-20 lb turkey
- ~2 hours or longer for a larger turkey
Just make sure you cook it until it reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees at the thickest part.
How To Spatchcock A Turkey
Step one – fully thaw your turkey.
Step two – empty the cavity and remove the hock handle, if there is one.
Step three – flip the turkey so that it is breast side down.
Step four – use your kitchen shears to cut down both sides of the backbone.
Step five – remove the backbone.
Step six – use a sharp knife to cut the cartilage at the top of the breastbone.
Step seven – flip the turkey over and press down so the turkey lays flat.
Step eight – season and cook any way you want!
Made this recipe and loved it?! We would love it if you would take a minute and leave a star rating and review – it is also helpful if you made any substitutions or changes to the recipe to share that as well. THANK YOU!
How To Spatchcock A Turkey – a simple, step-by-step tutorial that will teach you how to confidently spatchcock your own turkey!
- 1 fresh turkey (ensure fully thawed)
- Prep the turkey by removing any gizzards that are stuffed inside the cavity. Remove the hock handle, if it is there.
- Flip turkey over so that it is breast side down.
- The backbone will now be running right down the middle of the turkey. Take a pair of sharp kitchen shears and cut along one side of the backbone.
- Then cut along the other side of the backbone.
- Remove the backbone (feel free to freeze it and use it the next time you make homemade turkey broth OR you can put it in the bottom of your pan while cooking your turkey).
- Next, cut into the cartilage at the top of the breastbone so that when you flip the turkey over it will lay flat.
- Alternatively, you can carefully flip the turkey over and press down in the middle, towards the top of the breastbone and the breastbone will simply crack, allowing you to lay the turkey flat.
- Now you are ready to cook your spatchcock turkey however you want! We love this Juicy Spatchcock Turkey recipe!
- Good Cooking Shears: Sharp cooking shears are a great tool to have in your kitchen. Here is a link to a high quality option!
- What if I don’t have shears: I have actually used a solid pair of scissors successfully! Although I wouldn’t recommend it and if your scissors aren’t strong enough they may break (so do so at your own risk). I have never tried using a knife, but I am sure you could also use that (carefully).
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