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 is now my go-to method for preparing a turkey.
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 back bone 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.
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 afterwards. 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
Dry-brining makes this turkey extra moist and delicious; not to mention, easier to cook.
- 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 service, 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.
Hands On Prep Time is only 30 minutes but be prepared to let this turkey set in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.