maid_o_cliffNovember 15, 2011

Has anyone ever used the spatchcock method for your turkey? (insert giggles here)

I have two thirteen pound birds, and thought flattening them, would allow me to roast both at the same time.

Convection or traditional roast?

I do not care much for turkey, unless fried and son does that for Christmas, have been reading really good things about this method.

Tried a search here but found zilch.

Just wondered if you all have any tips that might help.


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I have never done it.....but have cut a turkey up like you would cut up a chicken and roasted it that way....that allows you cook the dark meat and the white meat for different lengths of time and to get the thigh done without over cooking the breast.
I would think spatchcocking 2 birds would take more room in the oven than 2 whole birds.
How about grilling one?
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 9:27AM
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That's the part I can't get past. Wouldn't it be really wide, or is that long?, after doing that? I can barely fit a chicken in a roasting pan once I've flattened it. I'm interested to see if anyone does know the actual result.

Good luck with your turkeys Maid! Happy Thanksgiving!

Here is a link that might be useful: Here's one that says it's good!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 9:46AM
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That's how DH makes ours (and every other bird, chickens etc). He smokes ours in a Big Green Egg. I don't think he cuts out the backbone, he just makes the one cut, flips the bird, flattens it by breaking the breast bone, and he's DONE. What it takes up in width/length, it loses in height, LOL.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 9:58AM
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I do chicken like that all the time. It comes out great. Cook's Illustrated has a method for turkey which includes laying it on your broiler rack, and that set on top of an aluminum pan full of stuffing to catch the drippings. I would definitely give that one a shot if I were in charge of the turkey. I could try to find their full recipe if you're interested.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 10:00AM
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House Beautiful's Nov. issue has Tyler Florence's recipe for Split-Roasted Turkey Buried in Herbs on page 78.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 3:09PM
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Why the word spatchcock for fowl and butterfly for shrimp etc?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 5:14PM
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And this comes to MY mind.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 5:26PM
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It's also called butterflying/butterflied. Years ago when Andrew Zimmern was doing local news broadcasts and more conventional fare he showed and recommended butterflying the bird, put it on a rack over the dressing and you get the juices in the dressing yet everything cooks more evenly.

I butterflied a turkey breast soon after that and it was great. Easy to do too and far easier to handle when taking it out of the oven.

I also saw the America's Test Kitchen when they did the roasted turkey parts and that makes a lot of sense too.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 5:33PM
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Maid, I do chicken like that quite often. I did a turkey like that last year and smoked it, but probably won't do it again or at least only occasionally. It's much easier to spatchcock a chicken than a turkey. I bought a meat (hand) saw, even, and it was still really tough to get through that back bone. :)


    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 12:55AM
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barnmom, Hilarious!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 6:40AM
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I guess I am up for the challenge . . .going to give it a try!
My family likes every thing so traditional and I guess I am just bored. You should have been here the year I made a Paula Deen recipe with cornish game hens, it was mutiny, mutiny I tell ya! LOL

barn mom that was not only hilarious but kinda a glimpse at what I may be feeling if this does not work out. No guts no glory.

So with a great amount of trepidation I will forge ahead and take the brunt of ridicule just so I can say "I CLIMBED THAT MOUNTAIN."

So wish me well and may the goddess of turkeys be with me!


    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 7:40AM
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Good luck, Red, I think you'll be happy!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 7:56AM
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I totally took one for the team last night. Yes, it fully works. I bought a turkey for $6! I know, I know, a "cheap" turkey, but if it works fine with it, well then, it's time to move on to a fresh bird. Kinda like making a muslin trial run for a garment. Anyway, it took minutes (at 450 degrees), was brown, crisp and moist. I would absolutely make it again, but this time, I'd dry brine it. It's gonna be great!

Here is a link that might be useful: dry brine

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 9:15AM
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Rob, more details please. How did you get it flat? What temp did you cook it to?

Finally, is that dry brine really 1 Tbsp salt per POUND and not rinsed off?

I too have two turkeys to roast and not sure how to fit them both in the oven LOL.

I always make mine with auto roast on the Miele but you can only use one probe at a time. So I bought Turkeys that weighed almost exactly the same and am hoping what works for one will be fine for the other.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 9:27AM
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No, one tbsp per FOUR pounds.

I've got a tin of Wms Sonoma dry brine which calls for using the whole thing (2 cups) for an 18-20 lb bird. It also says to rinse it well before roasting but I don't think I could physically get myself to put all that salt on it.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 9:40AM
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I used kitchen shears to cut out the backbone. And a knife at times (when trying to make sure the "oyster" stayed on the thigh). When I opened it up, and flipped it over so that bones were facing the roasting pan, I pushed down on the breastbone until it cracked a couple of times. More than once, until I was satisfied. It seems like after I cracked it the first time, I pulled it farther apart and did it again. It was fairly flat. Slathered it in olive oil and sprinkled some seasoning on it. You do have to redo the olive oil halfway through. That reminds me, there was little to no juice that came out of the turkey. It took that to mean it stayed inside the turkey. Which is probably why it was moist!

I too don't put that much salt on it. I just couldn't bring myself to do that, but it's still really good and better than not doing it.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 9:53AM
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Read it again....1 Tbsp per 4 pounds of turkey.
To spatchcock....just use poultry shears and cut the backbone out of the turkey....or cut down one side of the backbone....lay it flat and press hard on the center of the breast to break the bone so it really lies flat.
I do it all the time with a chicken.
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 9:54AM
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I must be a wimp. Our turkey was a big one, but I had to use a meat saw to get the backbone out and even then it was hard. I couldn't come close with poultry shears.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 11:08AM
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My sincere thanks from the "TEAM"! I will try the dry brine, and sure sounds like the bird was good, just wanted to know approximately how many minutes and if you stayed at 450 degrees for the whole time?

I still am not sure if I will try the two birds in the oven, or one on the gas grill?
What do you think, maybe switch on oven racks at the halfway point?


    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 11:12AM
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450 degrees the whole time. The attached article says they cooked it for 70 minutes for a 12 pound bird. Which is about right; mine was a few minutes less, but my bird was 11 1/4 pounds. I would put them both in the oven and rotate, but that's just me. Obviously, I would do the dry brining a couple of days before and then proceed with their recipe, but just in case anyone was wondering ((smiles))

Here's the recipe they used on my first link:

Serves 8 TO 10


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 whole fresh turkey (about 12 pounds)


1. Preheat oven to 450ð. Stir together oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

2. Rinse inside and outside of turkey; pat dry with paper towels. Spatchcock turkey*. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, breast side up. Let stand for 30 minutes.

3. Brush or rub turkey all over with oil mixture. Roast, rotating sheet halfway through and basting twice, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165ð, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let stand for 20 minutes before carving.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 11:27AM
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Finally uploaded the picture. The result:

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 9:46AM
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