How large a baking sheet or roasting pan should be used for a 24-lb. spatchcocked (butterflied) turkey? Someone asked in a comment. ;o)

Here is the recipe I've always roasted a much smaller turkey; it's been many years since I've seen one that size -- and I've never seen one that size spatchcocked. Your thoughts? Thank you, everyone. ;o)



Caitlin November 12, 2018
So I'm going to go forward with using a disposable roasting pan for the 24 # bird I'm attempting this year (wish me luck)...I want to make stuffing at the same time...have what looks like a great recipe using your method Antonia, but also the stuffing from Cooks Illustrated. My question is, so I just prop a wire rack over the roasting pan???
healthierkitchen November 25, 2014
Not sure a full sheet pan even fits in my oven. Some of the European brands won't even hold a 1/2 sheet. Not that it matters for me this year, as I am not the one cooking the turkey, but it is something to check!
Meg B. November 18, 2017
From all that I've read about this cooking method, everyone uses a large sheet pan, but what about the drippings? Wouldn't it overflow? I think I'd feel more comfortable using a low-lipped roasting pan. Does anyone have a comment?
AntoniaJames November 18, 2017
Meg, I've used both a sheet pan with a good lip as well as a large roasting pan with 2 3/4" sides. Both work well. I've never had a problem with too many drippings. With the oven temperature that high, the evaporation keeps the level of liquid under control; in fact, I usually add water to the pan during the first 45 minutes or so to keep the pan drippings from burning. Hope this helps. ;o)
Summer O. November 24, 2014
As a follow up question, how long do you cook a spatchcocked 24 lb. bird?
kimhw November 24, 2014
THAT is a good question.
AntoniaJames November 25, 2014
Please see the discussion in Step 11 of this recipe, where I discuss roasting times for larger birds. ;o)
Susan W. November 25, 2014
I learned from Kenji discussions that while 12-14 lb birds are done at about 80 minutes when cooked at 450°f, the monster birds should be cooked at 425°f and are ready at 2.5-3 hours. Our big bird breast was ready (at 150) before the thighs even when spatchcocked, so we simply popped the legs off, let the breast rest and finished the legs. One year, we had the same situation and finished the legs off in the drippings in the pan on the stovetop. Birds are bred with such larger breasts these days.
AntoniaJames November 25, 2014
Very helpful, Susan W. Thank you. ;o)
Susan W. November 25, 2014
AJ, just so you know my REAL opinion, I prefer the taste of smaller birds. My brother is in charge of buying the turkey. He goes to a farm that raises heritage, pastured birds. He gets a kick out of the huge ones, so I say nothing. The trade off is that I buy the grass fed, pastured, aged prime rib for Christmas dinner. :)
AntoniaJames November 25, 2014
Susan W., it sounds like you've negotiated this well. (Did you know I negotiate for a living?) To my mind, it's far better to have purchasing decision authority for the beef! ;o)
Susan W. November 25, 2014
I agree on the beef. I really only use turkey as a vehicle for gravy, my stuffin' muffins and mashed potatoes. That and cute layered leftovers jars we send everyone home with and the fabulous Thanksgiving omelettes topped with gravy my brother makes the next morning after our black friday surf session at La Jolla Shores. I do love holiday traditions. :)
ashtonkeefe November 24, 2014
I love spatchcocking a turkey, it's a great technique for cooking a turkey faster. And who doesn't love that? That being said, this is a large turkey for this method so make sure you're safe and have a butcher properly remove (and save!!) the backbone. A "full size" sheet tray should work. You could also have the butcher break the breast bone completely and split the turkey equally and do each half on a "half sheet" sheet tray. I think using a cooling rack on the sheet tray helps for circulating air under the bird. Make life easier by creating the gravy while the turkey is cooking using the backbone and neck. You can even make this up to a week before!
nancy E. November 24, 2014
are you suggesting she make the Turkey a week before her dinner. I am afraid I have to strongly disagree.
AntoniaJames November 24, 2014
She's suggesting that you can make the stock and gravy the week before; I'd make the stock in a jar and put the pan drippings plus some deglazing stock in another jar and freeze, were it a whole week before that I roasted the neck and back. I'd defrost and make the gravy the day before. I've also frozen gravy with success. ;o)
Susan W. November 23, 2014
We cooked a spatchcocked 24ish pounder on a full sheet at my Mom's house, but she has a commercial Wolf stove. We put onions, carrots and celery on the pan with wine and stock to keep the drippings from burning. We had to add liquid a couple of times and then the turkey took over. We thought about setting the turkey on the veggies, but ended up using a rack.

It turned out beautifully. Definitely the way to cook a monster bird.
Susan W. November 23, 2014
Forgot to add: let the butcher butterfly it for you. Just make sure you get the back and neck.
hardlikearmour November 23, 2014
The largest I've done was somewhere around 18-lbs, and I managed to get it onto a 1/2-sheet pan. If a larger bird wouldn't fit I'd either separate it into the breast half and thigh half as Sam suggested, or use some foil "wings" to extend the sheet pan a bit. Unfortunately my oven is not large enough to accommodate a full sheet pan.
Sam1148 November 23, 2014
Measure the turkey. Like you would your waistline, well maybe not...just use a tape measure at the store. Divide by two. Subtract about three inches for the backbone you'll remove. You could just make two halves on two sheets pans.
kimhw November 23, 2014
I'm doing the exact same thing. I'm hosting for the first time ever. 18ppl. I actually practiced spatchcock last night with a chicken to see how hard it would be. Definitely cooks faster and more evenly. I'm excited!
Susan W. November 23, 2014
Kim, I love that you practiced on a chicken. :)
kimhw November 24, 2014
Thanks. Everything needs practice. Even cooking

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Emily W. November 23, 2014
How fun. I love the idea of spatchcocking the turkey! I would steer clear of the roasting pan and go with a full sized sheet tray. A 24-lb bird is pretty large but a 18 x 26 should work. Line it would foil then a cooling rack and roast the bird atop that.
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