How To Spatchcock Turkey and Chicken

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Chef Laura Frankel
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spatchcocked chicken

Ok, the name is funny, but this is serious cooking. Spatchcocking poultry is the process of removing the backbone and sternum of a bird. The bird is then flattened out by pressing on it. The result is a bird that cooks evenly, quickly and without drying out the breast. Spatchcocking is easy and takes only a few minutes and either a very sharp knife or really good kitchen shears. While the process is simple and easy, the time saved in cooking equals big payback. Because the turkey is butterflied, the heat is more evenly distributed and a 12 pound turkey will take about 1 ½ hours to roast versus a whole turkey which will take over 3 hours to roast.  A whole chicken that has been spatchcocked takes about 30 minutes to roast while a whole chicken takes an hour.  See our guide to cooking a turkey.

I learned how to spatchcock poultry many years ago in culinary School and fell in love with the technique. I never understood why everyone didn’t do it. Whole roasted chicken and turkey are a reasonable possibility for dinner on weeknights. No more slaving over the stove waiting for dinner and a moist, luscious dinner is moments away. No more v-racks, beer cans and other contraptions used in an effort to roast the perfect bird. Just you, a bird and sharp knife. This year for the chagim, try Spatchcocking and see if you don’t fall in love with a silly word that means serious cooking.

Spatchcocked Turkey Recipe