Spatchcock Turkey is a tender and juicy herb butter roasted turkey with crisp skin and evenly cooked meat. Try my Bacon-Wrapped Turkey for another delicious way to cook and serve turkey. 

Spatchcock Turkey Carved on a White Plate

Spatchcock Turkey

Spatchcocking a turkey is a method where you remove the backbone from the turkey and ‘flatten’ it, or ‘butterfly’ it. This method allows the cooking to be done more evenly, and it also saves a little on cooking time. (I will get into ‘how to spatchcock a turkey’ later.) You will also end up with the crispiest, juiciest turkey you have ever eaten!

Spatchcock Turkey Recipe

It’s important to have a sharp pair of poultry or kitchen shears for this recipe. And, make sure the roasting pan you use is big enough to accommodate the size bird you have.

Ingredients (full recipe below)

  • Whole turkey (smaller, like 10-13 pounds)
  • Butter
  • Shallot
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper

How to Spatchcock a Turkey

How to Spatchcock a Turkey

Don’t be intimidated by the concept of spatchcocking a turkey. In fact, you may want to cook every turkey this way once you try it! So, get out some sharp kitchen shears and get spatchcocking! (You can also have a butcher do this if you are not up to it.)

  1. First, remove the giblets and neck from the turkey.
  2. Next, place the turkey breast-side down with the backbone facing up and pat dry with a paper towel.
  3. Use your sharp kitchen shears to cut along each side of the backbone to remove it. (You may have to use some extra muscle to get through the tougher parts.) Discard or save the backbone to use for stock.
  4. Flip over the turkey so it is now breast-side up. Turn the legs in, toward the breast. Using your hands, press down a few times to flatten the turkey. (You will hear it crack as it flattens.)
  5. Tuck the wing tips behind the breast and cut off any excess skin or fat around the neck area.
  6. Place the turkey onto a large baking stone or baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  7. Prepare the turkey for roasting.

How to Spatchcock a Turkey and Cover with Herbs

How to Roast Turkey

After you have successfully spatchcocked the turkey, it’s time to get it buttered and roasted. In a medium bowl, add the butter, shallots, sage, rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix well until smooth. (You could also mix this together before spatchcocking the turkey.)

Pat dry the turkey with paper towels. It’s important to get the skin dry so the butter will stick to it. Gently loosen and lift the skin, being careful not to remove it, and rub about 3 tablespoons of the herbed butter under the skin. You could definitely use rubber gloves for this part.

Rub the remaining butter on top of the turkey and roast for 60-90 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Remove from the oven when done, tent with aluminum foil, and let it rest for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Spatchcock Turkey Carved and on a Plate

How to Carve a Spatchcock Turkey

You may want to wear rubber gloves for carving the turkey since the turkey will still be warm and there is a lot of tugging and pulling. Another note is to keep the turkey pieces you have cut tented under aluminum foil to keep it warm as you carve the rest of the turkey.

  1. First, cut off one leg by slicing through the joint where the thigh meets the body. (You should be able to feel where that joint is.)
  2. Next, remove the drumstick by cutting through the joint between the thigh and the drumstick.
  3. Repeat with the other leg.
  4. Remove the wings. (It is up to you if you decide to keep them as full wings or separate into drummettes and flaps.)
  5. Then, find the breastbone and cut right alongside it (as far down as you can go) to remove the breast off the bone.
  6. Once removed, slice the breast against the grain.
  7. Repeat with the other breast.
  8. Serve warm with sides of Skins-On Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Parmesan Green Beans.

What Size Turkey Works Best?

This recipe works best with a 10-13 lb turkey.  A larger turkey will also work, however, you will want to use a pan large enough to hold the entire bird.  Keep in mind that cooking times will vary with a larger turkey, so make sure to check the internal temperature (it should be 165°F).

What Do I Do With the Back, Neck, and Giblets?

Don’t throw these away!  The reserved backbone, neck, and giblets (minus the liver) can all be used to make turkey stock!    The liver tends to become too bitter during the cooking process, so you will want to set that aside. My recipe for Chicken Stock will work great! Just swap out the backbone, neck, and giblets for the whole chicken.  The rest is the same!

Dinner Ideas

Spatchcock Turkey

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Resting time 15 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Spatchcock Turkey is a tender and juicy herb butter roasted turkey with crisp skin and evenly cooked meat.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole (10-12 pounds) turkey
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 medium shallot
  • 8 leaves sage, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, add the butter, shallots, sage, rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix well until smooth. Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or use a large baking stone.
  • Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey and discard.
  • On a work surface, place the turkey breast side down. The backbone should be facing up. Use a pair of poultry shears to cut along each side of the backbone to completely remove it. (Discard the backbone or use it for broth or gravy.)
  • Flip over the turkey so it is now breast side up. Turn the legs in, towards the breast. Using your hands, press down to flatten the turkey. You may have to press down a few times.
  • Tuck the wing tips behind the breast and cut off any excess skin or fat around the neck area. Place the turkey onto the lined baking sheet and pat dry with paper towels. (It's important to get the skin dry so that the butter will adhere.)
  • Gently loosen and lift the skin from the turkey breast without totally detaching the skin. (You can use rubber gloves here.) Rub 3 tablespoons of the herb butter under the skin.
  • Rub the remaining herb butter on the top of the turkey.
  • Roast the turkey for 60-90 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Remove from the oven, tent with foil, and let it rest for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

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