Spatchcocking a Turkey for Easy and Quick Roasting

Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Spatchcocking a Turkey for Easy and Quick Roasting (photo by LivligaHome).
 My husband has been talking about spatchcocking a turkey for Thanksgiving for a couple of years. This year we decided to do it. What is spatchcocking you may ask? Simply, it means taking the backbone out of a whole turkey. It is like butterflying a leg of lamb. The word and technique dates back to the 18th century. Spatchcocking a turkey has only recently become popular, however. One article I read attributes the popularity of spatchcocked turkeys to Mark Bittman, well-known food writer for the New York Times, who started talking about it in 2002 and then made a video of it in 2012.

The real reason you spatchcock a turkey is to cut your roasting time significantly. What used to take hours will now only take about 45 minutes! The other benefit is it fits into small ovens. Ever know of a situation where the stuffed turkey ends up being too big for the oven?

In researching the technique my husband landed on a recipe and video he liked from bon appétit. It is not difficult to do but it does require a sharp knife and a bit of force.
Spatchcocking requires a sharp knife and a bit of force (photo by LivligaHome).
 The suggested dry rub for the turkey was heady with smells of fresh orange zest and aniseed. Interestingly you do not cook the turkey with the rub. Instead you marinate it for a number of hours and then rinsing off the rub before roasting. We liked the rub a lot but you can prepare your spatchcocked turkey any number of ways.

So what is the verdict on spatchcocking? It is easy to do and does in fact allow you to cook your turkey in 45 minutes. Our turkey was also delicious.

Something to be aware of--no longer can you present a whole turkey at the Thanksgiving table with the same visual appeal. The new appeal is cutting up the turkey in the kitchen, arranging it attractively on a platter and then bringing it to the buffet ready to serve up.
The new appeal is cutting up the turkey in the kitchen (photo by LivligaHome).
 We will definitely repeat spatchcocking our turkeys. In fact, we just may eat whole turkeys more often in the future because it will no longer take so long to do and the meat is so juicy. We are thrilled to know about this new technique!

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