If you are short on time and looking for the perfect Thanksgiving turkey, give our spatchcock turkey recipe a try! It does require a turkey dry brine the night before, but the roast time for this turkey on the day of Thanksgiving is less than 2 hours!
If you’ve been part of the Fit Foodie Finds community for a while, you know that we love cooking with meat. This is why Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday –> because we get to prepare gorgeous a Thanksgiving turkey for our families.
We wanted to come up with a turkey recipe that had all of the amazing flavors of a classic roasted turkey, but that cooked quicker in the oven. Insert –> spatchcock turkey, a close relative to one of your favorite FFF recipes, spatchcock chicken.
A quick rundown: This turkey is first dry-brained overnight and then seasoned with our famous turkey seasoning the morning of. Spatchcock the turkey and then stuff onion, garlic, and herbs under the skin. Roast it on top of a wire rack (very important!), basting it every 20 minutes for 1.5 – 2 hours.
What You Need to Make a Thanksgiving Spatchcock Turkey
The ingredients for this spatchcock turkey recipe are broken down into 3 components — the dry brine, the turkey itself and the basting liquid. You need:
- 12-14 lb. untreated turkey: we recommend using nothing bigger than a 14-pound turkey so that it doesn’t dry out.
- White onion and garlic cloves: just because you’re spatchcocking, doesn’t mean you can’t stuff your turkey!
- Fresh herbs: we used thyme and oregano, but any fresh herbs work. You’ll be making them into a bundle and sticking them under the skin.
- Turkey seasoning: our turkey seasoning is truly the best (ask anyone on the internet). We highly recommend making and using this recipe.
- Olive oil
Basting your turkey is important for keeping it. nice and moist. And, it can (and should be) used as the base of your turkey gravy! We used white wine, broth, unsalted butter, fresh thyme, and a little more turkey seasoning.
How to Spatchcock a Turkey
First things first, make sure to prep and dry brine your turkey (more in the recipe card below) to get it ready for spatchcocking.
- When you are ready to spatchcock your turkey, set the turkey breast-side down on a cutting board.
- Use very sharp kitchen shears to cut down one side of the spine through the ribs. Repeat on the other side of the spine and discard the spine.
- Flip the turkey over onto its breasts and use your hands to firmly press on the center of the bird, flattening the turkey. Since you’re cooking a 14-lb. turkey, you’ll need to give it some elbow grease.
- Place the flattened turkey onto a wire rack on top of a baking sheet and you’re ready to season it!
Latest Thanksgiving Recipes
Internal Temperature of a Whole Turkey
The internal temperature a turkey should be 165ºF. Some people follow the rule that the chicken thigh temperature should be 175ºF and the breast meat should come out to 160ºF or 165ºF. Generally, we make sure the whole bird is about 165ºF.
Our rule of thumb is to stick the probe of your meat thermometer in the thickest part of the bird to make sure all the meat reaches a safe temperature.
How do you spatchcock a turkey?
To spatchcock a turkey, set the turkey breast-side down on a cutting board and use very sharp kitchen shears to begin cutting down one side of the spine through the ribs and then repeat on the other side of the spine, and discard the spine. Flip the turkey over onto the breasts and use your hands to press on the middle of the bird pressing down firmly to flatten the turkey.
Is it worth spatchcocking a turkey?
Yes! While it does require a little extra work to remove the spine, a spatchcock turkey cooks more quickly and because all of the skin is evenly exposed, it will give you crispy skin with juicy meat.
Does spatchcock turkey taste different?
It tastes even better than a traditional roast turkey! The meat is more moist and the skin is more evenly crispy.
Store your turkey leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.
How to Freeze Turkey Meat
You can easily freeze leftover turkey for sandwiches, salads, or any other recipes. Let the turkey cool completely and then place it in a freezer-safe bag and remove as much air as possible. Freeze it for up to 3 months.
Complete Your Thanksgiving Meal
Got Leftover Spatchcock Turkey?
If you have a smaller group of people for this turkey you will definitely have leftovers! Below are some delicious leftover ideas.
Spatchcock Turkey Recipe
This spatchcock turkey recipe is perfectly seasoned with a dry brine and turkey seasoning. It’s roasted for just 1.5 – 2 hours, basting every 20 minutes. The meat is so juicy and the skin crisps up perfectly!
- 1.5 cups white wine we used Sauvignon Blanc
- ½ cup broth chicken, turkey, or vegetable
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon turkey seasoning
Prep turkey: Remove the turkey from its packaging and remove any innards from the inside of the turkey. Set aside.
Dry brine: Add the kosher salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary to a small bowl and mix until combined.
Separate the skin from the turkey meat and rub the salt mixture under the skin of the turkey. Be sure to rub the breasts, legs, and wings. Place the turkey in a large plastic bag or air tight container and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and discard any excess liquid. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF and place a wire rack on a large baking sheet. Alternatively, you can use a large roasting pan.
Spatchcock turkey: To spatchcock the turkey, set the turkey breast-side down on a cutting board and use very sharp kitchen shears to begin cutting down one side of the spine through the ribs and then repeat on the other side of the spine. Discard the spine.
Flip the turkey over onto its breasts and use your hands to press firmly on the center of the bird, flattening the turkey.
Stuff and season: Place the flattened turkey onto the wire rack and stuff the onion and garlic under the skin of the turkey. Tuck the fresh herbs under the wings and season the turkey skin with the turkey seasoning. Massage the seasoning into the skin.
Roast turkey: Drizzle the olive oil over the turkey and massage the oil into the turkey with your hands. Place the turkey into the oven and bake for 20 minutes at 400ºF.
While the turkey is cooking, place all the ingredients for the basting liquid into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium/high heat. Turn heat to low.
Once the turkey has cooked for 20 minutes, baste the turkey with the basting liquid and bake for an additional 60-70 minutes, basting every 20 minutes until the internal temperature of the turkey at the thickest part reaches 165ºF.
If the turkey skin begins to brown more than desired, place tin foil over the turkey for the last 20 minutes of the bake time.
Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes before caving. We recommend saving the turkey drippings for a simple, homemade turkey gravy (see recipe card for details).
Tips & Notes
- Cooking Time: the cooking time for this turkey will vary depending on what size turkey you use and your oven. Be sure to monitor the internal temperature of the turkey throughout the cook time. We used a 13.3-lb. young turkey.
- Turkey Seasoning: We used this homemade turkey seasoning, but you can use any poultry seasoning you have in the cupboard.
- Turkey Gravy: use 1 cup of the turkey turkey drippings and/or basting liquid along with 3 cups of broth, and 2-3 tablespoons of cornstarch. Bring the liquid to a gentle boil on the stovetop and then remove 1 cup of liquid. Whisk in the cornstarch until there are no lumps and then add it back into the pot. Whisk over medium/low heat for 3-5 minutes until the gravy thickens.
- Make sure to thaw your bird completely. There is nothing worse than getting your turkey out the day of and realizing that it’s still frozen.
- Always use a brine before cooking a turkey; dry or wet. You get a juicy bird every time.
Calories: 711kcal Carbohydrates: 3g Protein: 99g Fat: 30g Fiber: 0.4g Sugar: 1g