Spatchcocked Roast Turkey

This recipe gives you a lot of latitude to decide what you want your bird to taste like, while getting the appearance of a well roasted bird. Brine, marinade, season, and serve one of the tastiest turkeys your guests have been served.


1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1 stick cold butter, cut into tablespoon slices
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 whole turkey (12 to 14 pounds total), butterflied according to these instructions
Brine (Optional)
Dry Rub (Optional)
Seasoning (Optional)


1. The night before you plan to cook your turkey, spatchcock it by using kitchen shears to cut along both sides of the backbone, starting at the tail, and cut through the neck opening. Turn the bird over and cut up from the bottom of the chest between the breasts until you can use the weight of your hands to break the remainder of the bone to allow the bird to lay flat. Save the neck and backbone to make stock or gravy
2. Cover completely with a brine solution of 2 cups salt in 1 gallon of water and immerse for 12 (but no longer than 24) hours
3. When ready to roast, rinse the bird very thoroughly to remove all the salt. Pat dry. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 450°F. Line a broiler pan or rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top
4. Meanwhile, combine the shallots and dry herbs from the seasoning flavor you choose (see “Seasoning” below) and with an immersion blender or food processor, blend until finely chopped
5. Scatter cold butter chunks on top and combine until a paste is formed
6. Melt half of the butter mixture in a small saucepan along with any wet ingredients from your chosen seasoning
7. Lift the skin of the turkey from the flesh at the neck using your fingers, loosening the skin on both breasts and tops of the thighs
8. With a handful of the butter paste, rub butter directly on the turkey meat underneath the skin all over. Massage the skin from the outside until the butter is distributed in an even layer
9. Brush the outside of the turkey with the melted butter until evenly coated. Season the turkey as desired and transfer to the wire rack, laying it flat with the flesh side and skin up
10. Place in the oven, rotate occasionally, and roast about 80 minutes, until the temperature in the deepest part of the breast reads 150°F, and the thighs register at least 165°F. Remove from oven and allow to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes before slicing


Brining makes for moist turkey meat, which is a very lean bird. For a whole splatchcocked turkey, add 2 cups salt to 1 gallon of water and immerse for 12-18 hours. You can add dried herbs to the brine (or, reserve them to use as a seasoning for stronger flavor). Keep all meat and fish refrigerated during brining, and rinse them well before cooking. Note: Overbrining results in salt being absorbed into the meat, which you want to avoid.
Here’s the brining table.


Marinate the spatchcocked bird in a large flat pan with tall sides for a minimum of 20 minutes per side before removing for seasoning. Handle the meat gently as the marinade will have thickened like a syrup on the surface which helps to hold the seasoning. Here’s the full marinade recipe


Which direction do you want to go with your seasoning? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Emeril’s Essence
  2. Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
  3. Larry’s All Purpose Dry Rubs
  4. Larry’s Blackening Seasoning

All of these are located on our Misc page, located here