It may sound like wishful thinking, but there really is a way to get your Thanksgiving turkey on the table in two hours. The key is a technique called spatchcocking (also known as “butterflying”).
All-Time Best Holiday EntertainingIn this definitive collection, we've gathered the absolute best recipes for making your next celebration memorable, stress-free, and, above all, delicious.
What Is Spatchcocking a Turkey?
Why Should You Spatchcock a Turkey?
- It allows for more even cooking. Without the body cavity to contend with, the breast and thigh meat will be done around the same time.
- It allows for faster cooking. Since a butterflied bird lays flat, it cooks considerably faster than an unbutterflied one.
- It increases the surface area of the meat and makes it more level. This allows the entirety of the skin—not just that on the top of the bird—to crisp and brown. It also means that if you plan on glazing your bird (which we recommend—especially if you’re using this recipe), you don’t have to deal with your glaze dripping down any sloped sides.
- A spatchcocked turkey is easier to maneuver and carve. No balancing a half-carved whole turkey as you slice—a butterflied turkey lays flat.
Sign up for The Thanksgiving Success Series
Be Thanksgiving-ready with the help of the Test Kitchen experts.
What Do You Need to Spatchcock a Turkey?
How to Spatchcock a Turkey
Step 1: Remove Backbone
Place the turkey breast-side down on a cutting board. Using kitchen scissors or a meat cleaver and using your other hand to steady the bird, cut alongside both sides of the backbone to remove it; flip the turkey over.
Step 2: Flatten
Use the heels of your palms to flatten the turkey; alternately, a rolling pin can be used for additional leverage.
Spatchcocked Turkey Recipes for Thanksgiving
This Crisp-Skin High-Roast Butterflied Turkey with Sausage Dressing cooks in two hours without filling the kitchen with smoke or drying out the breast meat.
This Butterflied Turkey with Cranberry-Molasses Glaze has crisp skin and a nicely browned exterior.
With its savory smoke, top-nut rup, and mop, Rodney Scott's Holiday Smoked Turkey puts a delicious twist on your celebration centerpiece.