Dry brining this turkey gives it amazing flavor.
I promise you that this will be one of the most flavorful and juiciest turkeys that you ever make.
I tried this method for the first time a few years ago. It’s now my go-to method for Thanksgiving! Heck, this is my go-to method anytime I am making a whole bird. I use this method with chicken all the time.
There are a few benefits to making your turkey this way.
- Your cooking time is almost cut in half.
- Handling the spatchcocked turkey is much easier than dealing with a fully intact bird.
- The dry brine is also much easier than wet brining your turkey. I also think it results in a better texture and flavor.
Spatchcocking – Super fun to say but what the heck does it mean?
Spatchcocking is a two-step process.
- Remove the backbone of the bird.
- Smash the bird flat.
This technique can be used for any whole bird. I often use it when grilling a whole chicken. When you use this method you end up with a delicious bird what has a ton of flavor, and is still really juicy. Plus the pan drippings are evenly distributed over anything that you might choose to put on the baking sheet underneath.
I use this method when I make my Jerk Chicken for the Jerk Chicken Beast Bowl. I always make a flavorful bone broth anytime I have leftover poultry. Check out the recipe for perfect bone broth here and my Aunt Jayne’s Dumpling Noodles. These are a family tradition – every single year. I gotta have them.
I first tried this method after reading a recipe from Alton Brown. He is kind of one of my cooking idols. I’ve always had a thing for geeky guys. But a geeky guy that cooks – now that’s impressive! His cooking show, ‘Good Eats’, is one that I used to watch all the time.
Alton roasts his bird right on the oven rack with a pan of root vegetable panzanella right underneath it. The first time I made this recipe, I did this. It was fantastic, but I didn’t appreciate all the clean up afterward. So…the way I set things up now is on a baking rack over a sheet pan. I have actually put root vegetables on the sheet pan. They come out great!
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Spatchcocked Thanksgiving Turkey
- 3 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp rubbed sage
- 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 1 1/4 tsp pink peppercorns
- 1 1/4 tsp juniper berries
- 1/2 tsp whole allspice berries
- 1 13 to 14 pound whole turkey neck and giblets removed and reserved for Giblet Stock
Preparing Turkey with Dry Brine.
- Four days before serving, place the salt, sage, thyme, black peppercorns, and allspice into a spice grinder and pulse until the peppercorns and allspice are coarsely ground, 5 to 6 pulses. Set aside.
- Start by spatchcocking the turkey: set the turkey, breast-side down, on a large cutting board with the tail closest to you. Use heavy-duty kitchen shears to cut up one side of the backbone.
- Turn the bird around and cut back down the other side of the spine.
- Reserve the backbone for turkey stock.
- Turn the turkey breast-side up and pull sides outward. Then use the heel of your hands to press down on both breasts, until you hear a cracking sound and the bird has flattened slightly.
- Rub the seasoned salt on both sides of the turkey. Place the turkey on a parchment paper lined half sheet pan, breast-side up with legs running with the long side of the pan. Store, uncovered, in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
- Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and leave at room temperature for 1 hour.
Cooking the Turkey
- Preheat oven to 425℉
- Place the turkey on a baking rack over a half sheet pan (to catch the drippings).
- Roast for 30 minutes.
- Reduce the temperature to 350℉
- Continue to roast until the thickest part of the breast is 155℉, approximately 40-50 minutes.
- Remove the turkey and let rest for 30 minutes before carving.