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Spatchcock that Thanksgiving Bird (oh behave)

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

*24 November 2021

I may be late to the game and you already have a plan for your Thanksgiving Day bird, but if you're like me, I don't like waiting hours and hours watching the bird cook only to find that I've overcooked it and it's dry. Major fail!! I've done this technique for a few years now and it's been fool proof!

To spatchcock a turkey is exactly the same thing as butterflying a chicken, but with a name that is way more fun to say! Either way, this simply means cutting out the turkey’s backbone and pressing the bird flat so that it cooks in a single layer. This technique will allow for faster more even thorough cooking of your bird.

Tools Required

•cutting board

•sharp kitchen shears

•sharp heavy duty kitchen knife or electric knife

What to do

•Start with a clean dry turkey, all inners removed. •on a clean no slip service, (I usually put a kitchen towel under my cutting board so it doesn’t move then a kitchen towel or paper towel on top of cutting board to soak up any juices) lay Turkey breast side down

•cut down one side of the backbone, turn and cut the other side.

•Turn bird breast side up and placing your hands on the middle of the breast bone, push down with vigor to break the breast bone. You can use any heavy object, sauce pan or frying pan to break sternum if you can’t do it with your bare hands.

Voila!! you have successfully spatchcocked that bad boy!

Use a dry brine to help maintain tender juicy meat.

Here's how the professionals do it.

Dry Brine recipe

3 T. kosher salt

1 T. juniper berries

1 T. dry rubbed sage

1 T. dry thyme

1 T. whole peppercorns


  1. In a food mill or electric grinder, or if you have the time a mortar and pestle combine all of the ingredients and pulse until coarsely ground.

  2. Turn your spatchcocked bird breast side down and liberally sprinkle the mixture all over the bird. Massage into the meat and around every nook and cranny of the bird. You'll be thankful --

  3. Flip bird breast side up and use the remainder of the spice mixture for the outside skin of turkey.

  4. Multiple days in the refrigerator will yield a juicier bird, but give your bird at least a 24-hour rest with the dry brine. I will brine my proteins for 4 days uncovered in the refrigerator.

  5. Before cooking, remove bird from frig and leave at room temperature for one hour.

  6. (Give that bird some words of encouragement (oh baby you are marvelous! kiss kiss) as you put in oven to cook.

  7. Cook according to Alton Brown's directions in the video

    1. preheat oven to 425 Degrees F for 30 minutes

    2. turn down temperature to 350 Degrees F until a probe thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 155 Degrees F, an additional 40 to 50 minutes.

  8. Remove from oven and allow to rest (sit undisturbed) for 30 minutes. This will allow all of the juices to return to the meat.

  9. Most importantly, hashtag #carolofmoon so I can see all of your results. Disclaimer, it may not look great, but it will taste amazing!


I saved the giblets and necks and made a stock with celery, carrots, onions, garlic and peppercorns. I'll use the stock for stuffing and making gravy.

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