Will Spatchcocked Turkeys Make this the Greatest Thanksgiving, Ever?!?!?

Well …hopefully in 12 hours from now I’ll be able to report back this was the most epic, most successful Thanksgiving, ever, with the best cooked turkeys my family has ever known. If it is to be, the reason will be the spatchcocked turkey cooking method. Everyone wants that Normal Rockwell moment with a perfectly cooked whole turkey being carved at the head-of-the-table, while a large, happy family looks on admiringly waiting for a toast to healthy and happiness and then perfect slices of turkey are cut and passed out. Or maybe some just want to carve the turkey, expertly, and arrange a platter of turkey in such a way it could be on display at an art museum. I do believe there are cooks out there who can pull this off …but there’s a better way.


This is the best video I found on it (after viewing dozens). Cut out the spine. Flip it over. Splay it out with as little overlapping of wings and legs as possible, and bake it flat.

  • 425-degrees for 30 minutes (then some more rub/butter)
  • 350-degrees for 20 minutes (then some basting/turning)
  • 350-degree for 60 minutes
  • Rest for 20-30 minutes

I did a test-cook last weekend and it was glorious. Turkey was perfect. You can’t mess this up. That’s the beauty part, eh?

I love Thanksgiving. As a kid, I never saw the turkey until my Aunt said, “let’s eat.” As an adult, kinda the same. Just call me when it’s time to eat.

But now my wife and I host. So I’m learning to be an expert turkey-cooker.

Last year, I cooked a large turkey for 3 hours and when I pulled it from the oven and wrestled the bag of stuffing from inside the bird, the stuffing was still as cold as when I took it out of the fridge 3-hours earlier and, hence, all the inside meat of the turkey was pink/raw.  So now I had every side dish ready. I had hungry relatives ready to eat. And I had a bird cooked nicely on the outside, but raw on the inside, and that’s nearly impossible to fix.

Another hour went by. Everyone assuring me “it’s fine” and “we’re in no hurry”, but I knew …Thanksgiving was ruined.

I almost ordered pizzas.

Plus, my gatherings are getting bigger (20+ people) and three of those people are teenage boys, and we ran out of turkey. I knew I needed two turkeys …which is another advantage of spatchcocking. I can cook 2 turkeys in my normal sized, single oven (sorry .. . . I don’t have a double oven or some massive 6-burner double wide Viking something-or-other.

I ain’t deep-frying. I ain’t using a roaster (or multiple roasters). Though, if I could execute a roaster turkey, and using multiple roasters… hmmmmm … that’s another experiment for a future time.

We got through it. Thanksgiving 2021 will always be remembered as “The Year Don Served Us Salmonella” and “The Year Don Learned How Make Turkey Gravy In Front of Everyone While Already Stressed and Embarrassed About the Undercooked Turkey.”

What did I do? I went out on Black Friday 2021 and bought 2 turkeys because I had to prove I could do it. I saved one and cooked a turkey mid-year, and then cooked another turkey just last weekend. It’s ridiculous to think we can cook a turkey once a year and get it right. Anything we do takes practice. So I’ve been practicing.

2022 will be “The Year the Spatchcock Saved Thanksgiving.”

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