I'm thinking about spatchcocking (butterflying) the 11-12 pound turkey I'll be picking up in a few days. Anyone ever done that, and if so, do you have any tips . . . or any thoughts on whether I should or should not do it at all? (We typically go hiking on T-Day and are out of the house for a good five or six hours. Cooking the turkey when we get back results in a very late start time for our meal.) Thanks so much, everyone. ;o)



mrslarkin November 17, 2011
AJ, I was searching for info on spatchcocked turkey and this popped up. Can you tell us what were the results of your turkey? I'm thinking of using this method next week for my small bird (under 10 #).

Also, I'm wondering if I can spatchcock Russ Parsons' Dry-Brined Turkey??

AntoniaJames November 17, 2011
MrsL, it turned out beautifully. In fact, it may have been our best turkey ever. It took a bit over 2 hours for our 12 pound bird, but it probably would have taken less time had I been able to bring it to room temperature before putting it in the oven. (We go hiking, come back in the early afternoon, I turn my oven on the minute we walk in, and the bird goes in as soon as the oven is hot.) I used a wet brine last year but am definitely using the Judy Bird dry brine method this year, with sage and a hint of rosemary in the salt. In fact, I was just thinking, a few hours ago, about how I need to post another Hotline question about that. This year, I plan to remove the back as soon as I get the bird -- I'll have the butcher do it, if they are not insanely busy -- and will roast the neck and back that day (Monday), to make the rich turkey stock for my make-ahead gravy. ;o)
mrslarkin November 17, 2011
Thank you, AJ! I'm definitely going to try it!! And a great idea to make your gravy ahead - will borrow that idea, too! ;)

P.S. I sent you an internal message on the site. Can you tell me if you received it? Wasn't sure if you were one of the cooks experiencing notification problems. Cheers!
Savorykitchen November 21, 2010
I ended up using a sheet pan with a cooling rack (to set the bird on) for mine - advantage: the low sides kept things browning beautifully. disadvantage: I had to get in there with the baster to pull off a little liquid so the pan wouldn't overflow.worth it overall however.
AntoniaJames November 21, 2010
How large a roasting pan do you need for a 12 pound turkey that's spatchcocked? Thanks everyone, for all of your helpful answers. I'm currently planning to go this route! ;o)
spiffypaws November 21, 2010
Yes, I have done this many times. I got the instructions from Martha Stewart's Mag Nov, 2009. It cooks a lot faster and more evenly. Make sure you flatten the breast bone as much as you can. If the legs aren't level with the breastbone, put 1/2 an onion under them to prop them up. Save the backbone for stock. This is the only way I cook turkey now.
Savorykitchen November 21, 2010
I've spatchcocked by turkey with great results. Just make sure your roasting pan is big enough to hold that spread out bird! I did it once and discovered that my turkey extended about 1" off the edges of the pan! Aluminum foil to the rescue.
nutcakes November 21, 2010
I'd do it, especially for a bird that size. But also, there is the high heat method for unstuffed birds which cooks them quickly, I have success with that, just did a 10 lb and a 16 lb on Firday using that method at 500F. Further, I took them out when the breast was 160, let rest and cut off the legs and thighs and backbone and returned that to the pan to finish cooking in the drippings. Read that Bobby Flay does that. Moist breast yay! If the breast is a little pink, slice, dribble with chicken stock and put in a 350F over for just a little bit.
innoabrd November 21, 2010
When I did the Julia Child technique where she removed the backbone and the hind quarters, then boned and trussed the thighs it really cut the cooking time down.
TheWimpyVegetarian November 21, 2010
Hey AJ, I just remembered there was a recipe in Sunset magazine called Turkey Loco that is a recipe for turkey prepared similar to what you're thinking. I'm on my new iPad and not sure how to paste a link here, but you can find it by googling turkey loco sunset. They say it will take an 10-12 lb turkey an hour and a half to cook.
TheWimpyVegetarian November 20, 2010
I've not done it either but I cook my chicken this way all the time. Two things I would mention are the turkey will cook much faster and the biggest challenge will be to get it as flat as possible once you've cut out the backbone. But you're going to have a great skin!!
TiggyBee November 20, 2010
No firsthand experience here, but here's a link to a recipe from the Washington Post:
Happy Thanksgiving and hiking!!
: )
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