How to Spatchcock a Turkey

Happy holidays! Hope you’re all having a great time cooking and getting ready for our family’s favorite holiday of the year!

Last year, Trevor and I started doing something called ‘spatchcocking a turkey’. What in the heck is spatchcocking a turkey you ask? Well, it’s a faster and simpler way of cooking a turkey so that it stays moist. It removes the backbone of the turkey so it lays flat to cook and only takes about 90 minutes instead of hours and hours and hours. This saves time and precious oven space! It can also be done ahead of time which saves time on Thanksgiving day!

So, here’s what we did – the Friday before Thanksgiving, we took our 26 pound turkey out of the freezer and defrosted it in the fridge until Monday. On Monday, we pulled it out, spatchcocked it and brined it. We refrigerated it for 3 days with the dry brine and then Thursday, we roasted and ate it! It’s a super great process and super delicious to eat.

Now, tell me, are you a turkey lover or a side lover? I’d love to hear in the comments below! Happy turkey day!

How to Spatchcock a Turkey

  • Servings: 12-14
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print


  • 1 defrosted turkey, about 15-16lbs
  • Brining salt or seasonings of your choice (I used this one, or you can just make your own)
  • 3-5 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. Take the turkey out of the packaging and place on a cutting board. Remove the giblets and neck from inside the cavity and discard or save for another use. Remove or discard any plastic or metal cages or pop-up thermometers.
  2. Pat the outside of the turkey dry with paper towels.img_2361_jpg
  3. Pull one of the legs away from the body and use a knife to slice through the skin and membrane between the leg and body to expose the thigh. Repeat with the other leg.
  4. Push one of the thigh joints up toward you until it pops out of the socket. Repeat with the other thigh joint.img_2368_jpg
  5. Using poultry shears or kitchen scissors, cut along the bottom side of the breast from the bottom cavity to the wing joint (you are not cutting all the way through the side of the turkey). Repeat on the other side. img_2369_jpg
  6. Pull the breast up and away from you, pushing it until the turkey is completely opened up.
  7. Using the kitchen scissors or poultry shears, cut through the backbone right above the legs to separate the turkey into 2 parts. Pat the inside dry with paper towels.img_2375_jpg
  8. Flip the 2 parts over, now you have a whole bone-in turkey breast and whole bone-in legs.
  9. To brine the turkey, rub dry brining salt all over outside and inside the turkey. Next, rub vegetable oil on top until just coated. Put turkey and tray into the fridge and let brine 1-3 days. img_2377_jpg
  10. Once brined, remove from fridge and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour while oven preheats to 450. Roast turkey for 30 minutes. Turn temperature down to 350 and roast for one more hour. Check to make sure it’s fully cooked before removing from oven.
  11. Let sit at room temperature 15-20 minutes before carving. Slice and  enjoy! img_2449_jpg

Original recipe can be found here.

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