Tara Donne

Roast Spatchcocked Turkey

Prep: 25 mins
Total: 2 hr 20 mins
Serves 6 to 8


  • 1Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Stir together oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  • 2Rinse inside and outside of turkey; pat dry with paper towels.
  • 3Spatchcock turkey: To cut out the backbone, start with the turkey breast side down. Use poultry shears to cut along both sides of the backbone, beginning at the tail end. If you hit a tough spot, try cutting with just the tip of the shears.
  • 4Set aside backbone (and giblets) for stock. Take hold of both newly cut edges, and open the turkey. Remove any large pieces of fat. Turn the turkey, breast side up.
  • 5To break the breastbone, place your hand on one side of the breast, close to the breastbone, and push down firmly until you hear a crack. Repeat on the other side. (For better leverage as you work, stand on a step stool.)
  • 6Pull the thighs outward so the turkey lies flat, with the wings facing inward. Tuck the wing tips under to secure. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, breast side up. Let stand for 30 minutes.
  • 7Brush or rub turkey all over with oil mixture. Roast, rotating sheet halfway through and basting twice, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165 degrees, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let stand for 20 minutes.
  • 8A spatchcocked turkey requires a slightly different carving technique than a bird cooked the traditional way, but the basic approach remains the same: Remove the legs and wings, and then slice the breast meat. Start with a sharp chef’s knife, and remove each leg by cutting through the turkey where the thigh connects to the breast. Next, at the joint of each leg, cut drumstick from thigh. Transfer thighs and drumsticks to a warm platter. Tent with foil.
  • 9To cut wings and breast, find the joint connecting wing and breast, and cut through it. Repeat to cut off other wing. Cut breast meat into two pieces, slicing along either side of breastbone. Slice the breast meat across the grain. Arrange on the platter with the dark meat, and add the wings. Garnish with fresh herbs, if desired, and serve.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 whole fresh turkey (about 12 pounds)
  • Fresh herbs, for garnish (optional)

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