Thanksgiving time saver #1 is for the turkey. Spatchcock (butterfly) your turkey and get evenly cooked, perfect skin & quick delicious turkey this year.
Okay, so what the heck is spatchcock? Fancy word for “butterfly.” In a nutshell, it’s when you cut out the backbone of a turkey (or chicken), so it can lay flat.
Benefits are a-plenty with this little kitchen hack!
#1: Evenly cooks the meat
There’s no dry breast, undercooked thighs, etc. It’s just even-Steven all around.
#2: Crispy Skin
Gorgeous skin? Yes ma’am! On the whole bird. Thighs & breast get equal browning.
#3: Decreased Cooking Time
It’s gonna shave a bunch of time off because it’s laying flat on a pan. No slow roasting here. It’s the quick & dirty of turkey cooking techniques.
How to Spatchcock a Turkey (or Chicken) Video
- Whole Turkey (defrosted)
- 1 Stick of Salted Butter
- 3 Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary
- 1 Orange Zested
- Salt & Pepper
- First, the turkey needs to be completely thawed out, which can take up to 3-5 days in the fridge OR 24 hrs in a sink filled with cool water. (See notes for further thawing instructions).
- Once thawed, place turkey in a clean sink & remove all wrapping from turkey. Then, reach inside the cavity & remove the neck and anything else inside (i.e. little bag of giblets).
- Sit the turkey upright & drain any juices out of the turkey. Then, lay flat and pat completely dry. The dryer the better.
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Place stick of butter in a microwave safe bowl. Soften in the microwave in 10 second intervals until it is easily mixable without being completely melted.
- Mince up the fresh rosemary & add to butter bowl.
- Zest (using a microplane grater or small side of a cheese grater) the orange and add to the butter bowl. Mix with a fork or spoon to combine. Set aside until turkey is spatchcocked (butterflied).
- Slice zested orange into rounds. Lay rounds along the middle of the large roasting pan. Add any leftover rosemary sprigs you may have, as well.
- Place spatchcocked turkey directly on top of the rosemary & orange slices in roasting pan.
- Pat dry the skin, so the butter mixture will stick easily.
- Using your hands, spread the butter all over the turkey until well coated.
- Season the entire bird with salt & pepper.
- Place in the oven and cook turkey for about 6 minutes per pound (until internal temperature reaches 165°--at the thickest part of the bird, which is usually the thigh). Bird will be golden brown.
- Baste the turkey with the juices in the pan every 30 minutes if you'd like--but this isn't necessary.
- Let the turkey rest after cooking. Ideally, let it sit for 20-30 minutes before slicing.
Steps for Spatchcocking (Butterflying):
- Once turkey is completely thawed, neck & giblets removed, and patted dry, set turkey breast side up & wings positioned at the top. (Wings will look like they're trying to hug you:)
- Then, flip over so that breast side is down.
- Locate the backbone by finding the neck bone at the top of the cavity opening.
- Using a very sharp knife, cut down each side of the backbone from the neck opening all the way to the end. You will need to cut through some small rib bones & maneuver through the thigh joints. You will NOT have to cut through any major bones like the thigh bone.
- Once you've cut all the way down each side of the back bone, remove it & set aside. You will not cook this piece.
- Then, flip turkey over (skin side up) & lay flat.
- Apply pressure with both hands downward on the middle of the breastbone until you crack it & it can lay flat. This will take a good bit of pressure especially if you have a 14lb. bird!
- Thawing the Turkey: A frozen turkey takes about 1 day of thawing in the fridge for every 4 LBS of turkey. So, if you have a 12lb turkey, it'll take at least 3 days of sitting in your fridge to thaw completely. If you want don't have that kind of time, then stick it in your sink filled with cold water. You'll have to keep track of the temperature in the water & drain and refill every 30 minutes to make sure it stays at the right temp. Also, flip the bird in the water every 30 minutes to ensure an even thawing. Thawing the bird in the sink takes at least 30 minutes per LB of turkey. DO NOT USE HOT WATER TO HURRY UP THE PROCESS.
- If you've never thawed a turkey before, I advise you to look over the USDA's recommendation for the safest way to do this without giving anyone food poisoning. https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2016/11/18/how-safely-thaw-turkey
- Seasoning: I love this combo of rosemary & orange, but you don't have to use it to get a great flavor! Use what you have (or what you can find). Dried herbs work great here, too. Thyme, sage, garlic, Italian seasoning, etc. all work wonderfully. Just use those in the butter instead of the rosemary & orange zest.
- Oven Size: You may need to remove a rack from your oven (or lower a rack) to fit the roasting pan in the oven.
- Roasting Pans: If you do not have a large roasting pan, don't use a cookie sheet. Go get a disposable aluminum pan from the grocery store. It'll work perfect.
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Spatchcock Turkey for Easy Thanksgiving
I’m telling you — this little trick will save you from freaking out over the turkey this year. You’ll never have to worry about whether or not the thighs are done & if the breast is gonna be dry.
Say goodbye to nasty dry turkey!
Get on the Spatchcock Bandwagon this year. When you pull that beauty out of the oven, it’ll be so worth it!
🦃 Gobble! Gobble! 🦃