How to Spatchcock a Turkey

November 22, 2014

Are you sick of waiting five hours for your turkey to cook? Are you annually disappointed by dry meat and rubbery skin?  Or are you just plain bored with a traditional Thanksgiving turkey? If you have answered yes to all these questions, it is time you learned how to spatchcock a turkey.  What is spatchcocking you ask? It is a cooking technique that removes the backbone of the turkey so that you are able to flatten the bird in the roasting pan.  The increased surface area leads to faster, more even cooking so that you can enjoy a moist and juicy bird in as little as 90 minutes.  

You can season and baste the turkey as usual.  I like to rub compound butter (butter mixed with herbs, spices and aromatics) between the skin and meat to add more flavor to the bird.  The additional fat also helps keep the breasts moist.  Remember to pat the skin dry before sticking it in the oven.  Begin roasting the bird at a high temperature (around 450 degrees Fahrenheit) and then reduce the heat about 50 degrees after 20 minutes (about 400 degrees Fahrenheit).  For more tips on how to cook the perfect turkey for Thanksgiving, click here.

Learn how to spatchcock a turkey in three easy steps:

Step 1: Breast side down, use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to cut out the backbone.  This step takes a bit of strength so take your time so that you do not injure yourself in the process.  Reserve the backbone to make turkey stock. 

Step 2: With the tip of the knife, score alongside the bone that sits between the two breasts (known as the keel bone).

Step 3: Turn the turkey back over and using the heel of your hand, press down in the center of the two breasts (the place where you scored in step 2).  You should hear a loud crack and be able to lay the bird flat in the pan.

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