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Dry Brine Spatchcock Turkey (How to Spatchcock a Turkey)

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Are you ready for the BEST spatchcock turkey recipe? This dry brine turkey recipe utilizes two of the best methods when it comes to cooking turkey and we’re combining them into one DELICIOUS bird. I’m going to walk you through exactly how to spatchcock a turkey (I promise it’s easier than it sounds!) and exactly how to make a crispy AND juicy dry brine spatchcock turkey! It’s a foolproof method that results in the crispiest skin and juicy turkey meat.

There is a lot to cover in this dry brine spatchcock turkey recipe, but it’s broken down into easy steps. Check the table of contents to skip directly to a certain section. But if you want to read it all, we’ll go over what a spatchcock turkey is, what a dry brine is, how to spatchcock a turkey, how to dry brine a turkey, how to roast said dry brine spatchcock turkey, spatchcock turkey cooking times, how to carve a spatchcock turkey, how much turkey you’ll need, and some side ideas for your Thanksgiving or holiday meal. The best turkey is in your future.

We’re using the same herb compound butter as my air fryer turkey breast, which is also a great option if you don’t need a whole bird or you need a little extra turkey! Be sure to serve either with my sausage and herb stuffing, it’s a MUST!

Estimated reading time: 13 minutes

Serving dry brine spatchcock turkey gif

I’m thrilled to once-again partner with the National Turkey Federation to bring you these Thanksgiving and holiday inspired turkey recipes.

Turkey is a staple in our grocery cart (or grocery delivery!) because it’s incredibly versatile, it’s loaded with essential vitamins and minerals (selenium, and B vitamins to name a few), and let’s be real…it just tastes good! Whether you choose sliced turkey breast, turkey breast, whole turkeys, or ground turkey there are so many ways to eat and enjoy turkey!

How to Spatchcock a Turkey Video

What Is Spatchcock Turkey?

A spatchcock turkey (you can also use this method for whole chickens and I highly recommend!) simply means that you flatten (or butterfly) the turkey, which allows it to cook more even and in a fraction of the time! While it may sound complicated, it’s really as simple as removing the back bone, and flattening the whole bird out.

Because the white and dark meat of the turkey cook at different rates, the problem with traditional roasted turkeys is that by the time the dark meat is done cooking, the white meat is overcooked and dry.

This dry brine spatchcock turkey recipe results in the juiciest turkey since the light and dark meat cook at the same rate. (And bonus, it cooks in about 90 minutes!) I whole-heartedly believe that is the only way to cook turkey!

Spatchcock turkey on a platter

Dry Brine vs. Wet Brine Turkey

Wondering what the difference between a dry brine and a wet brine is? Let me break it down.

The purpose of any brine is to infuse the meat with both flavor and moisture with the salt.

Wet brining is the turkey or poultry is soaked in a salt water mixture. Dry brining is the same, but without the water!

Dry brine turkey recipes result in a golden crispy skin that almost has a deep-fried flavor and helps the meat stay super juicy and is seasoned perfectly. Once you try it, you’ll always prep your your Thanksgiving turkey this way.

How to Dry Brine a Turkey Video

@myeverydaytable

#ad 10/10 recommend a dry brine spatchcock turkey this Thanksgiving! 🦃 Crispy skin and juicy meat! 🤤 #momtok #parentsoftiktok #thanksgiving #thanksgivingturkey #turkeydinner

♬ I Can Feel It v3 – Nick Sena and Danny Echevarria

What You’ll Love About this Dry Brine Spatchcock Turkey

  • Rave-able turkey!
  • Tender and juicy meat
  • Golden crisp skin
  • Quick cooking time
  • Minimal prep time
  • Easy to prep ahead
Dry brine spatchcock turkey on a thanksgiving plate

Dry Brine Turkey Recipe Ingredients

The best spatchcock turkey is made with just a handful of simple ingredients you can find at any grocery store:

  • Whole turkey – Check the size chart below to determine what size turkey you need, I’ve used a 14 pound turkey, which is a pretty average size. Frozen or fresh turkey will work, just be sure to thaw a frozen bird.
  • Kosher sea salt – It’s important to use kosher salt for this dry brine turkey recipe. The salt grains are larger and table salt would be TOO much salt.
  • Baking powder – I know, this one seems odd, but it works. Read below to learn about what the baking powder does for this dry salt brine turkey.
  • Butter – Use an unsalted butter. It needs to be soft, so set it out overnight.
  • Garlic – Use fresh or frozen garlic, which I think are superior to jarred garlic.
  • Maple syrup – Use pure maple syrup for best flavor.
  • Fresh herbs – Rosemary and thyme give the herb butter classic holiday meal flavor.

How To Spatchcock a Turkey

Ok, let’s get to the spatchock-ing! I’ve included step-by-step photos and GIFs to break this down into a few easy steps:

  • Remove backbone. Place turkey breast-side down and cut out the side of the backbone (on both sides) with heavy-duty poultry shears or a really sharp chef knife.
  • Flip turkey. Flip bird over so it’s skin-side up.
Flipping over spatchcock turkey gif
  • Flatten turkey. Flatten by pressing flat with your body weight (you’ll hear a snap). Cut the bone (keel bone) between the breasts so that you can really flatten it. Tuck wing tips under the breast.
Spatchcocked turkey gif showing breaking breastbone
  • Separate skin and meat. To make things easier before roasting, use your hands to separate skin from meat so that you can place the compound butter underneath the skin.

How To Dry Brine A Turkey

Once your spatchcocked turkey is ready, it’s time to dry brine it.

  • Dry turkey skin. Pat turkey dry with paper towels.
  • Mix dry brine. In a small bowl, mix together kosher sea salt and baking powder. Sprinkle mixture onto turkey until it is coated with salt mixture.
Sprinkling spatchcock turkey with dry brine

TIP: You will have extra salt mixture, which can just be discarded. You want an even layer on the turkey, but don’t need a THICK layer.

  • Brine turkey. Carefully transfer turkey to a sheet pan with wire rack and store in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.

How To Cook A Spatchcock Turkey

Ok, our turkey is spatchcocked and it’s been locking in juicy flavor with the dry brine…it’s time to cook the spatchcock turkey!

  • Preheat oven. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. We start the turkey off at a high temperature to brown it, and then lower the temperature to finish cooking it.
  • Mix herb compound butter. In a small bowl, mash together softened butter, garlic, maple syrup, rosemary, and thyme.
  • Season turkey. Being careful to not brush off dry brine, place dollops of compound butter underneath the turkey skin and lightly press down on skin to help distribute it evenly. (Doesn’t need to be perfect as it will melt into the turkey meat.)
Showing separating skin of spatchcocked turkey
  • Roast turkey. Roast turkey at high heat for 30 minutes. Reduce heat and rotate sheet pan in oven and cook for 45-75 minutes, until the turkey thigh reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. (See spatchcock turkey cook time per pound chart below.)

TIP: If you want your turkey more golden brown, you can broil for a few minutes to brown skin even more. PLACE ON A LOWER RACK AND SET A TIMER SO YOUR TURKEY DOESN’T BURN!!!!!

  • Rest turkey. Let spatchcock turkey rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.
Dry brine turkey recipe after roasting

Spatchcock Turkey Cooking Time Chart

How long does it take to cook a spatchcock turkey? While the spatchcock turkey cooking time will depend on the size and oven temperature, 6 minutes per pound is a good rule of thumb.

This spatchcock turkey cook time per pound chart should give you an estimate, but the best way to tell when your spatchcock turkey is done is by using an instant-read meat thermometer. Place the probe in the chicken thigh (thickest area) and set the temperature to 165 degrees F. It will let you know when it’s reached the temperature and time to take it out.

The average 12 lb. spatchcock turkey will take about 72 minutes (1 hour, 12 minutes).

Turkey Size (In Pounds)Estimated Cooking Time (In Minutes)
848 minutes
1060 minutes
1272 minutes
1484 minutes
1696 minutes

How Much Turkey Per Person

If you’re wondering how much turkey you’ll need, there are a few general rules.

General rule of thumb is to plan on 1-1 1/2 pounds of turkey per person. And some say right in the middle with 1 1/4 pounds of turkey per person. 🙂 This should leave plenty for eating, as well as some leftover turkey.

Number of PeopleTurkey Size (In Pounds)
45 pounds
68 pounds
810 pounds
1013 pounds
1215 pounds
1520 pounds
Plate of spatchcock dry brine turkey with stuffing and sides

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to thaw a frozen turkey?

If your turkey is frozen, it can take a few days to thaw in the refrigerator. Be sure to plan ahead and leave an extra day to thaw so that it’s ready for this spatchcock turkey recipe.

What does dry brine spatchcock turkey taste like?

Between the dry brine and herb compound butter…this dry brine turkey almost tastes like it’s been fried! I hate when people call oats and almond butter cookie dough (it’s NOT) and so I really hesitated to say this tastes like fried turkey, but it’s the best way I can think to describe it!

Can you dry brine a turkey in one day?

No, the dry brine needs to sit overnight, so you really need to prep it ahead. You should brine it for at least 12-24 hours.

Do you rinse off a dry brined turkey?

There are different views on this. Some say you absolutely have to rinse it off, but I tend to put 100% of my trust into Kenji Lopez-Alt, who argues for NOT rinsing off the dry brine.

Rinsing will prevent the skin from browning and getting crispy.

Why is there baking powder in the dry brine?

I know, it sounds a little odd, but it has a real purpose! The baking powder helps break down the skin proteins, which allow them to crisp up. It also creates tiny little bubbles on the skin which creates extra surface area, which then creates extra crunchy skin.

How to dry brine spatchcock turkey

How To Carve A Spatchcock Turkey

Carving a spatchcock turkey does require a little bit of a different approach, but it’s pretty simple. After you’ve let your turkey rest for at least 20 minutes, use a sharp knife to:

  • Cut legs from breast.
  • Cut drumsticks from thigh.
  • Cut wings from breast.
  • Slice breast meat.

Arrange everything on a large platter and tent with foil until ready to serve.

Storage Instructions

Store any leftover turkey in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

How to reheat

Reheat the turkey in a 350 degrees F oven or a hot skillet for best results. You can also microwave the turkey meat, but just be careful to not overcook it or it will dry out.

Can you freeze leftover turkey?

Yes, you can absolutely freeze leftover turkey. Store it in an airtight container (stasher bags or glass storage containers work well) for 2-3 months.

Dry brine spatchcock turkey on a Thanksgiving plate

How to Prep Dry Brine Turkey Recipe Ahead

If you want to prep this turkey ahead, there are a few things you can do, which will definitely make Thanksgiving day a little less stressful!

  • Mix together dry brine a day or two in advance.
  • Mix together herb compound butter a day or two in advance.
  • Spatchcock and dry brine the day before you are roasting.

Spatchcock Turkey Hack

Want to make this dry brine turkey recipe really, REALLY simple? Have your butcher remove the backbone for you! Yes, many meat counters or butchers will do this for you, you just need to ask.

Be sure to ask your butcher save the backbone for you so you can use it for stock or gravy.

What to Serve with Spatchcock Turkey

Serve this brined spatchcock turkey with all the traditional Thanksgiving meal sides like mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and a few of these sides:

Helpful Tools to Make Spatchcock Turkey Recipe

  • Sheet Pan with Cooling Rack – You’ll need a rimmed baking sheet with cooling rack to dry brine and roast your spatchcock turkey. This allows the air to fully circulate.
  • Instant Read Meat Thermometer – This is the best way to tell when your roast spatchcock turkey is cooked perfectly. No more dry turkey!
  • Chef Knife – You need a super-sharp chef knife to carve this spatchcock turkey recipe. See spatchcock carving method above.
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Spatchcock turkey on a platter

Dry Brine Spatchcock Turkey Recipe

  • Author: Emily Dingmann of myeverydaytable.com
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Brine Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 90 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free
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Description

Learn how to spatchcock a turkey! This dry brine spatchcock turkey (with an herb butter) results in crispy skin and juicy meat. It’s the best!


Ingredients

Scale

For the dry brine: 

  • 1214 lb. turkey
  • ½ cup kosher sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp. baking powder 

For the herb butter:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh thyme

Instructions

Spatchcock and Dry Brine: 

  1. Place turkey breast side down on a cutting board and cut out backbone with sturdy kitchen shears.
  2. Flip bird over and flatten by pressing flat (you’ll hear a snap) and pat turkey dry with paper towel. Tuck the wings under the breast.
  3. Mix together kosher sea salt and baking powder. Sprinkle mixture onto the turkey until it’s coated with salt mixture.
  4. Carefully transfer turkey onto a baking sheet that’s topped with a rack and refrigerate uncovered  for 12-24 hours.

Roast spatchcock turkey: 

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, mash together butter, rosemary, thyme, and sage. ix herb butter.
  3. Roast turkey for 30 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to 350 degrees for 45-75 minutes and start checking internal temperature after 30 minutes. Most turkeys will take about 90 minutes, give or take. Place an instant-read meat thermometer in thigh and cook until it reaches 165 degrees F.
  5. Remove from oven and let turkey rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing.


Notes

** Can broil for 5 minutes at the end of cooking to brown up skin even more. Keep on lower rack and watch closely.  

Keywords: dry brine spatchcock turkey, spatchcock turkey recipe, how to spatchcock a turkey, dry brine turkey recipe

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