Art of Cooking Spatchcock Turkey

Spatchcocking, or butterflying, a turkey is a popular cooking method that involves removing the backbone and flattening the bird before roasting. This technique results in

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Spatchcocking, or butterflying, a turkey is a popular cooking method that involves removing the backbone and flattening the bird before roasting. This technique results in faster, more even cooking and allows for easier seasoning and basting. However, determining the proper cooking time for a spatchcocked turkey can be challenging, especially for beginners. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore how long it takes to cook a spatchcock turkey, along with easy-to-understand tips and techniques for achieving a perfectly cooked bird.

Understanding Spatchcock Turkey Cooking Time

The cooking time for a spatchcock turkey depends on several factors, including the size of the bird, the oven temperature, and whether it’s stuffed or unstuffed. Here’s a general guideline for estimating cooking time based on oven temperature:

  1. Preparation Time: Before cooking, spatchcock the turkey by removing the backbone and flattening the bird. Season the turkey generously with salt, pepper, and any desired herbs or spices. Let the turkey sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to allow the seasoning to penetrate the meat.
  2. Oven Temperature: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) for a standard cooking temperature. Alternatively, you can roast the turkey at a higher temperature of 400°F (200°C) for a slightly shorter cooking time or a lower temperature of 350°F (175°C) for a longer, slower roast.
  3. Cooking Time: As a general rule of thumb, spatchcocked turkeys cook faster than traditional whole turkeys. On average, a spatchcock turkey weighing 12-14 pounds (5.5-6.5 kg) will require approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to cook at 375°F (190°C). However, it’s essential to use a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey is cooked to the proper internal temperature.
  4. Internal Temperature: The turkey is considered safe to eat when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C) in the thickest part of the breast and thigh. Use a meat thermometer to accurately gauge the temperature, inserting it into the meat without touching bone.

Tips for Cooking a Perfect Spatchcock Turkey

To achieve a perfectly cooked spatchcock turkey, consider the following tips and techniques:

  1. Brining: Brining the turkey in a saltwater solution before cooking can help keep the meat moist and flavorful. Brine the turkey for at least 12 hours before cooking, then rinse and pat dry before seasoning.
  2. Seasoning: Season the turkey liberally with salt, pepper, and any desired herbs or spices. Rub the seasoning both under and over the skin for maximum flavor.
  3. Even Cooking: Arrange the spatchcocked turkey on a rack set inside a roasting pan, breast-side up. This allows for even air circulation and ensures that the turkey cooks evenly.
  4. Basting: Baste the turkey periodically with pan drippings or melted butter to keep the meat moist and enhance flavor. Use a basting brush or spoon to drizzle the drippings over the turkey every 30 minutes or so during cooking.
  5. Resting: Allow the cooked turkey to rest for at least 20-30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in juicier and more flavorful slices.
  6. Carving: To carve the spatchcock turkey, use a sharp knife to slice along the breastbone and separate the breast meat from the bone. Then, slice the breast meat and thigh meat against the grain for tender, juicy slices.


Cooking a spatchcock turkey is a fantastic way to achieve a flavorful and evenly cooked bird in less time than traditional roasting methods. By following the guidelines and tips outlined in this guide, you can confidently prepare a delicious spatchcock turkey that will impress your family and friends. Experiment with different seasoning blends and cooking techniques to customize the flavor to your liking. With practice and patience, you’ll master the art of cooking spatchcock turkey and create memorable meals for years to come.


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