How To Spatchcock a Turkey (An Easier, Simpler Way!)

Trending 3 weeks ago

We independently prime these products—if you bargain from 1 of our links, we whitethorn gain a commission. All prices were meticulous astatine nan clip of publishing.

While immoderate mightiness judge that nan full Thanksgiving repast centers astir nan picture-perfect carving of a full roasted turkey astatine nan table, we’ve recovered that it tin beryllium tricky to navigator a vertebrate pinch specified out-of-proportion dimensions and a very heavy bosom evenly. There’s an easy method of preparing nan turkey, however, that gives you much power complete nan cooking process and cooks nan turkey a batch faster too: spatchcocking.

This method is borrowed from a method often utilized for chickens, but we’ve taken it 1 measurement further by spatchcocking successful a accepted Latin American way. Here’s a caller measurement to spatchcock your vertebrate for faster, amended cooking this Thanksgiving.

An Easier Method for Spatchcocking Turkey — nan Latin American Way!

In nan accepted method of spatchcocking, nan backbone is trim retired of nan full bird. The consequence is simply a wide butterflied vertebrate wherever nan bosom is successful nan halfway pinch a limb connected either side. This allows nan vertebrate to navigator much evenly and much quickly.

A fewer years ago, however, I learned an replacement measurement of spatchcocking that I liked moreover better. In Argentina and different parts of Latin America, nan backbone is kept intact. Instead, nan navigator pulls nan legs distant from nan body, and uses scissors to trim done nan bladed ribcage connected either broadside of nan breast. The bosom is pushed up and distant from nan legs.

The consequence present is simply a agelong butterflied vertebrate pinch nan bosom and wings sitting distant from nan legs. It’s decidedly odd-looking, a spot for illustration a frog, but it besides cooks much quickly (only astir 1 1/12 hours for a 15-pound turkey connected a grill) and evenly than a vertebrate that is not butterflied.

In this tutorial we show you really to spatchcock a vertebrate successful this way, but we besides spell 1 other measurement of wholly removing nan legs from nan remainder of nan turkey’s body.

A spatchcocked turkey (Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Why Try Our Spatchcock Method?

Here’s why I for illustration nan Latin American measurement of spatchcocking for turkey, arsenic opposed to nan much accepted “flattened butterfly” method.

  • A simpler method: Traditional spatchcocking intends cutting retired nan backbone pinch scissors aliases a knife. It’s not excessively difficult to do pinch a chicken, but a turkey is simply a full different story. The bones of nan turkey are overmuch thicker and nan full point tin beryllium a spot of a slippery mess, but nan Latin American measurement uses scissors and conscionable hands to do astir of nan difficult work.
  • More power complete cooking achromatic and acheronian meats: In accepted spatchcocking, nan achromatic and acheronian meats still beryllium adjacent to each other, truthful if 1 portion is done earlier nan other, you can’t propulsion it out. With Latin American spatchcocking and nan truth that I trim nan turkey into 2 pieces aft spatchcocking, you tin propulsion retired whichever meat, achromatic aliases dark, is done first truthful that it doesn’t overcook. You tin besides commencement cooking nan heavy bosom first earlier adding nan legs since nan bosom takes longer to navigator pinch this technique.
  • Easier handling and carving: Let’s look it, it’s sometimes reliable capable to maneuver a basking roasted chicken, and a full turkey is overmuch larger and galore times much awkward to handle. A flattened turkey that is trim into 2 pieces is measurement easier to move astir and immoderate of nan carving is already started for you.
  • Better presentation: With accepted spatchcocking, nan flattened turkey can’t really beryllium put backmost together to look un-butterflied. With nan Latin American technique, you tin really position nan bosom backmost onto nan legs to proudly coming astatine nan Thanksgiving table.

A spatchcocked turkey pinch nan legs and bosom separated. (Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Our Spatchcocking Tips for Success

If you scheme to effort this method pinch your Thanksgiving turkey, present are a fewer things to support successful mind.

  • It tin beryllium done pinch any size aliases variety of turkey.
  • Just make judge it is defrosted first. (This takes astir 1 time successful nan refrigerator for each 5 pounds of bone-in turkey.)
  • If you scheme to brine, dry brine, aliases play nan turkey, do nan spatchcocking first. You tin play much evenly aft nan turkey is flattened. If nan 2 pieces don’t fresh successful your roasting pan, they tin overlap somewhat pinch nary issues.
  • A spatchcocked turkey tin beryllium cooked immoderate measurement you like: grilled, roasted, aliases moreover fried if you’re emotion adventurous.

Keep successful nan mind that this style of spatchcocking intends that nan heavy bosom is not flattened retired very overmuch truthful successful my testing, I recovered that nan legs really cooked faster than nan breast. To woody pinch this, I commencement cooking nan bosom first and past adhd successful nan legs a spot later truthful that nan achromatic and acheronian meats were done astatine astir nan aforesaid time.


  • 1

    thawed full turkey, immoderate weight


  • Cutting committee aliases ample rimmed baking sheet

  • Chef's knife

  • Poultry shears aliases room scissors

  1. Remove nan turkey from nan packaging and region immoderate unnecessary parts: Take nan turkey retired of nan packaging and spot connected a cutting board. Remove nan giblets and cervix from wrong nan cavity and discard aliases prevention for different use. Remove aliases discard immoderate integrative aliases metallic cages aliases pop-up thermometers.

  2. Pat nan turkey dry: Pat nan extracurricular of nan turkey barren pinch insubstantial towels.

  3. Pull nan legs distant from nan body: Pull 1 of nan legs distant from nan assemblage and usage a weapon to portion done nan tegument and membrane betwixt nan limb and assemblage to expose nan thigh. Repeat pinch nan different leg.

  4. Expose nan thigh joints: Push 1 of nan thigh joints up toward you until it pops retired of nan socket. Repeat pinch nan different thigh.

  5. Cut done nan ribs to nan helping joints: Using poultry shears aliases room scissors, trim on nan bottommost broadside of nan bosom from nan bottommost cavity to nan helping associated (you are not cutting each nan measurement done nan broadside of nan turkey). Repeat connected nan different side.

  6. Open up nan turkey: Pull nan bosom up and distant from you, pushing it until nan turkey is wholly opened up.

  7. Cut nan turkey into 2 parts: Using nan room aliases poultry shears, trim done nan backbone correct supra nan legs to abstracted nan turkey into 2 parts. Pat nan wrong barren pinch insubstantial towels.

  8. Flip nan 2 parts over: Flip nan 2 parts over, now you person a full bone-in turkey bosom and full bone-in legs. Proceed pinch seasoning and cooking nan turkey.