How to Spatchcock a Turkey

How to spatchcock a turkey   

It’s almost Thanksgiving! It’s the time for families to get together around a wonderful meal. It might also be a day of hard work for you, if you happen to be the cook of the family. Cooking turkey can take several hours depending on the size, and you have to baste it at regular intervals, etc. Plus there are all the side dishes and dessert(s) to make! Although your hard work will be handsomely rewarded by the delicious meal and the happy faces around the table, you might wish that it took less time and effort to cook the turkey.


Well, your wish can be a reality, by using the spatchcocking method! I learned this method a few years ago and have never gone back since. The turkey can be cooked in as little as an hour by this method. The reason is that you flatten the bird by removing the backbone. The only drawback is that it isn’t recommended for a turkey larger than 14lb, or that’s what most people say. I have done a close to 18 lb turkey in the past with this, and it took about 1.5 hours to roast, and it came out perfect! The other benefit of the short roasting time is that it comes out with crispy skin and juicy meat (yes, juicy!) because of the short cooking time. I highly recommend it if you haven’t tried it yet!

How to spatchcock and roast


  1. Wash the turkey inside and out, then pat dry.

  2. Cut the backbone out by using kitchen scissors or a bone knife (you can use the bone for soup).

  3. Score the back of the breast with a knife.

  4. Flip the turkey, breast side up, and press the breast down until you break the bone, by using the palms of your hands pressing down together on the bird.

  5. Season as you like, then roast it about 1.5 hours (for 14 lb); The first 30min at 450ºF, then turn down the temperature to 350ºF and roast another 1 hour. Cook time depends on the size of the turkey, and your oven, so insert the thermometer and check the temperature from time to time. The thickest part of the thigh should be 165ºF.

  6. Rest the turkey for at least 30 minutes before carving.

  • Turkey has to be thawed by the time you spatchcock.


Link to a 40 second video of Bon Appetit “How to spatchcock a turkey”:



You can get your Thanksgiving turkey from local farms. There are quite a few of them in the state and the surrounding area that you can see via the link below. It has a long list of turkey suppliers. This is yet another opportunity to eat locally!


Happy Thanksgiving!