Spatchcock? Or not spatchcock? That is the question. It’s such fun to say “spatchcock”…go ahead, say it over and over. Turns out, it’s a great way to save time cooking your turkey, too. I have done this with a twenty pounder, but today, it’s a smaller twelve pounder. Then, place your different types of seasoning on each quarter for four different flavors, because variety is truly the spice of life!This is the perfect option for a small gathering, like about 4-6 people. It’s the best of all worlds, because the turkey is seasoned with four different flavors; each side of the breast and wings and each thigh/drumstick quarter differently. One side of the breast is seasoned with Maple-Dijon Mustard-Tarragon Rub, and the second side of the breast was rubbed with Fines Herbes. Moving on to the hind quarters, I rubbed one side with a Chilean pepper blend and the other quarter with the Coffee-Espresso Blend for Beef. I seasoned the inside and outside of the turkey with salt, onion and garlic granules.
Spatchcocking is really simply butterflying the bird. It’s simple, but slightly cumbersome. You are simply removing the backbone from the beast. I simmer the backbone and giblets to make some broth for gravy. First, use your usual caution when working with any poultry and turkey is no different. I always use a plastic cutting board with poultry and pork, I can spray some bleach on it and run it through the dishwasher when I’m done with it. I can bleach the sink, wipe everything dry with paper toweling, into the garbage with the used paper towels. Then, make certain to wash, wash, wash your hands well with soap and water. Dry the turkey, inside and out, with paper towels. Paper towels were made for this! Next, make certain you have a very, very sharp boning knife or a good, sturdy pair of poultry scissors.
You are simply going to cut the meat away from the backbone, cut the wing and thigh joints at the bone and cut the tail loose. Then, turn the turkey over and using the heel of your hand, press down to break the breast bone. The idea is to have the turkey as flat as possible, so it will cook more evenly. To see how a professional performs this task, head over to SeriousEats. Those people are genius.
I season the inside and outside of the turkey with salt, onion and garlic granules, then place the turkey, cut side down, over a bed of sliced onions. Now, we season! You can choose whatever seasoning blends, herbs, spices…whatever you want. Simply divide the turkey into quadrants and season each quadrant as you wish. I like to loosen the skin from the breast meat, by sliding my fingers in between the skin and the breast meat. In this case, I seasoned one half of the breast with a mixture of Dijon mustard, maple syrup and tarragon. Just scoop up the mustard mixture, as best you can and smear the mixture between the skin and meat. Then, season the other half of the breast as desired. I used fines herbes. I sprinkled the wings with Cajun seasoning and each thigh/drumstick with a separate seasoning blend. The spice or herb blends don’t necessarily have to be similar or even all that complimentary.
I like to let the turkey stand for at least 15 minutes, while the oven preheats to 425°F. Place the roasting pan in the upper half of the oven. Roast for 60 minutes or until the breast registers 165°F on an instant read thermometer. Remove from the oven, tent loosely with foil and rest for at least 30 minutes. Slice the turkey and place on a platter.
Four-In-One, Quick Thanksgiving Turkey
Once you’re finished with the spatchcocking, this is a pretty easy recipe. You can season the whole thing with one flavor, but with four flavors you and your guests have a cornucopia of tastes!
- 1 12-pound turkey, spatchcocked (see the NOTE)
- Kosher salt
- Garlic granules
- Onion granules
- Olive oil
- 1-2 large onions, peeled and sliced
- 2 teaspoons fines herbes
- Cajun Seasoning Rub (purchased or homemade)
- Smoked Tea Rub for Beef (and turkey, I guess)
- Maple-Dijon-Tarragon Rub:
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
In a small bowl, stir together the ingredients for the Maple-Dijon-Tarragon rub; set aside. Use a large somewhat shallow roasting pan or a sheet pan; spray it with cooking spray or drizzle with oil. Scatter the onions over the bottom of the pan; set aside.
Please see the NOTE below on where you can learn how to spatchcock or butterfly a bird. Once you’re done that, season the underside of the turkey with kosher salt, and onion and garlic granules. Flip it over and place on top of the onions.
Now the fun begins! Gently slide your fingers under the skin on the breast, gently loosening the skin from the meat. Do this on both sides. Rub the fines herbes into the breast, under the skin, on one side of the breast. Rub the mustard mixture over the second breast, under the skin. Try to keep them separate. Drizzle olive oil over the bird and rub it into the skin. Sprinkle with salt, onion and garlic granules; rub them into the skin. Sprinkle each wing with some of the Cajun seasoning blend. Sprinkle each thigh/drumstick quarter with the whichever blend you choose to use. Push the hind quarters up against the breast. Push the wings up onto the breast. Let the turkey stand for at least 15 minutes, while the oven preheats to 425°F. Place the roasting pan in the upper half of the oven. Roast for 60 minutes or until the breast registers 165°F on an instant read thermometer. Remove from the oven, tent loosely with foil and rest for at least 30 minutes. Slice the turkey and place on a platter. Serve with gravy, if you wish. Enjoy!
NOTE: To spatchcock or butterfly a turkey, head on over to Serious Eats. They have pictures and a video on how to perform this skill. It’s a good skill to have and you just never know when you’ll use it.
Four-In-One, Quick Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2018. All rights reserved.
After about 30 minutes, I toss some baby potatoes around the turkey, but you could put them under the turkey before you put it in the oven. I also think this would be spectacularly good with the stuffing underneath, with all those good juices dripping down on it. Oh, YUM!!