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The first time we spatchcocked a turkey was Thanksgiving last year. It was a complete game changer for us.

We have the smallest oven ever… a half sheet pan barely fits. So when we bought a 16-pound pastured turkey to serve, we were throwing around ideas on how we wanted to roast it. When I first saw a spatchcocked turkey I showed it to The Mister and we agreed, we had to try it. It was such a success we’ve enjoyed spatchcocked turkey several times since Thanksgiving.

Time to Brine.

Prepare a sea salt brine {1 cup sea salt : 1 gallon water} and pour into its respectful accommodating container. Chill the brine – it must be 39° F or less. Place turkey in brine, weigh it down using a plate to keep the turkey below the brine. Keep in the fridge {or in an insulated cooler with ice} for 12-24 hours. Check the brine’s temperature throughout this time to ensure it is kept cold.

Rinse the turkey thoroughly and pat dry. Let it come to room temperature before roasting.

Break it Down.

A spatchcocked turkey is prepared by removing the back bone so the protein lies flat while roasting. This allows for an even, moist roast with beautiful color all over {all the skin is facing up and roasted to perfection}. But perhaps the best upselling point for spatchcocking your bird is the faster cooking time. All thanks to aerodynamics!! Or something.

You’ll need an über sharp knife or poultry shears to remove the back bone. Lay your beautiful turkey on a chopping block. Start on one side, slicing all the way down the spine. Repeat on the other side. Take your time, soon enough the entire spine will come out. Save that for your bone broth. Because, you DO make bone broth, don’t you? After the backbone is out, you can remove the wishbone if you’d like. We didn’t bother though. We just flipped the bird on its back and gave a few good compressions on its breast. It may take a couple tries, but you just want its sternum to collapse; the flatter the better.

At this point, you can tuck back the wings if you’d like, wash your hands, and prepare your aromatics and seasonings…

‘Tis the Season.

* Line a sheet pan with parchment or foil {whichever you prefer} and preheat the oven to 450° F.

* Select your chopped veggies; onions, parsnips, garlic, carrots, celery, fennel etc. And fresh herbs like rosemary, sage, bay, thyme. These will offer moisture while the turkey roasts and lend a delicious flavor. Place them on the lined sheet pan and place a broiler pan over the veggies for the bird to rest on.

* Now, this next step is what separates “delicious” meals from the “disgustingly delicious” meals in our home. You see, we have Mason jars of rendered bacon fat. This is our preferred cooking fat and I always add a little fat to the turkey while it roasts. I combined the following mixture:

  • Several tablespoons of rendered bacon fat
  • One teaspoon each of Himalayan sea salt, dried organic sage, and dried organic thyme.

Using your fingers, separate the skin from the breast of the turkey, and massage the breast meat with half the spice mixture. Save the other half for a quick rub down of the skin.
Spatchcocked Turkey

Crank the Heat.

* If you have one, place a Digital Thermometer either in the thickest part of the thigh {for this you’ll want to set your thermometer to alert you when it reaches 165° F} or the deepest part of the breast {for this, you want to set your thermometer to alert you when it reaches 150° F}. For a 12-14 lb turkey it will take about 80 minutes {for our 16-lb. pastured turkey it took closer to 90 minutes}.

* Once it reaches temperature, remove the turkey from the oven, transfer the turkey carefully to a new sheet pan, and cover. We used parchment paper and kitchen towels {I think that was just because we ran out of foil, ha!}. Let it rest for 15 minutes before carving.

** If you’re a gravy loving family, take full advantage of the drippings. We simply saved them for the turkey bone broth.

Spatchcocked Turkey is delicious, saves time, frees up the oven more on your busy holidays, and I think it’s just as impressive {if not more so} than a typical turkey presentation.

Spatchcocked Turkey

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  • Eileen @ Phoenix Helix

    Posted: January 22, 2014


    Spatchcocking is such a great technique, especially for turkey. Thanks for sharing it at the AIP Recipe Roundtable. Eileen @ Phoenix Helix recently posted...Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable #11My Profile Reply


    • Erin

      Posted: January 25, 2014


      I agree! I wish I had learned of it sooner. :) Thanks for hosting, Eileen! Erin recently posted...PerspectiveMy Profile Reply



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