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Spatchcocked turkey on a sheet pan over wild rice stuffing

Spatchcocked Thanksgiving Turkey

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  • Author: Chelsea Joy
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 14 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Roasted
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Spatchcock turkey will change your Thanksgiving table forever! Give yourself a couple days of dry-brine time at least, and prepping Thanksgiving dinner will be a breeze!

If you want to make the rice stuffing pictured in the photos, grab the recipe and necessary adjustments at the Thanksgiving Wild Rice Stuffing recipe page.


  • 1 14-16 pound turkey
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt (I use Redmond Real Salt)
  • 1/2 cup softened butter or ghee
  • 1/4 cup tightly packed fresh herb blend of sage, thyme, rosemary, and/or savory, minced (if you only have dry herbs, use about 2 tablespoons total)


  1. A few days before roasting, remove the giblets and neck from the turkey. Save the giblets for stuffing or broth.
  2. Using a sharp pair of kitchen shears or a chef's knife, cut alongside the backbone of the turkey, starting at the tail-end open cavity. Remove the spine (or, if you're semi-lazy like me, just cut along one side and don't stress over your somewhat lopsided turkey). Reserve the spine for gravy or broth.
  3. Snip the cartilage on the underside of the breastbone in the cavity with the shears or knife. This should allow you to push the cavity open and lay the breasts flat. Flip the turkey over so the skin side is up.
  4. Now we'll salt the turkey with a dry brine. Use your fingers to gently loosen the skin away from the flesh — the easiest spots are near the top of the breasts where the neck would be and at the tail-end of the turkey. Rub kosher salt directly onto the meat under the skin, as well as the outside skin of the turkey. Cover the bird in a roaster or loosely with plastic wrap and dry-brine it in the fridge for 1-3 days.
  5. On roasting day, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Move a rack in the oven to the lower middle position. Take the brined turkey out of the fridge and let it rest for 30 minutes to come to room temperature. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper (for easier clean-up) and, if not making rice stuffing, place a wire rack on top.
  6. Mix half of the softened butter with the herbs. Rub this mixture under the skin of the turkey, focusing on the breasts and thighs. Take the remaining butter on the outside skin of the turkey.
  7. Lay the turkey flat on the wire rack. Tuck the wing tips under the skin near the turkey breasts so they don't burn. If not making stuffing, pour 1/2 cup water into the bakin sheet to keep the drippings from burning and smoking.
  8. Place the turkey in the oven and roast for 70-90 minutes (I usually start checking around 60 minutes and every 10 minutes after, depending on the size of the turkey). The turkey is done when the breast meat reaches 145 degrees F and the thigh meat reaches 165 degrees F. Always check the temperature to ensure the turkey's done!
  9. If the skin of the turkey seems to be browning too quickly, loosely tent the turkey breasts with aluminum foil to prevent them from burning.
  10. Let the turkey rest for at least 30 minutes before carving and serving.