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Dry Brined Spatchcock turkey
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5 from 7 votes

Dry Brined Spatchcock Turkey

Every Thanksgiving, the pressure is on to deliver the perfect turkey. But with all the different recipes and techniques out there, it can be tough to know where to start. If you're looking for a method that guarantees a moist, flavorful, and crispy turkey, then dry brining and spatchcocking is the way to go.
Prep Time3 days
Cook Time2 hours 5 minutes
Resting time30 minutes
Total Time3 days 2 hours 35 minutes
Course: Christmas, Dinner, Main Course, Thanksgiving
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Calories: 208kcal
Author: Susan Ensley

Equipment

  • Large Plastic Cutting Board
  • Vinyl Gloves
  • Heavy Duty Kitchen Shears
  • Paper Towels
  • Half Size Hotel Pan for thawing the turkey
  • Half Sheet Pan Size Wire Rack that will fit in your roasting pan
  • 12x17x3 Baking Pan

Ingredients

  • 1 10-13 lb Whole Turkey

For the Dry Brine

  • 3 tbs Kosher Salt
  • 2 tbs Brown Sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp Dried Rubbed Sage
  • 1 ½ tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1 ½ tsp Dried Rosemary
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder

For the Turkey

  • 3 Lemons
  • 2 Oranges
  • 2 Onions
  • 5 Celery Stalks
  • 5 Carrots
  • 1 tbs Whole Black Peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs Fresh Rosemary
  • 4 sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 4 sprigs Fresh Sage

For the Rub

  • ½ c Unsalted Butter at room temperature
  • 2 tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Instructions

How to Prepare the Turkey Before you Dry Brine

  • Place your turkey in a large deep pan. (I used a half sheet hotel pan, but a foil pan will work too.) Then place the pan in the fridge to thaw. This should take approximately 1 day for every 4 pounds of turkey. (This depends on how cold and full your fridge is. My 10 pound turkey took four days to thaw.)
  • Before you're ready to handle your thawed turkey, put a pair of vinyl gloves on.
  • Start by pouring out the liquid that has accumulated at the bottom of the pan and return your turkey to the pan. Then carefully remove the wrappings on the turkey while it's still in the pan - more liquid will come out of the turkey when you do this.
  • Remove everything that is inside your turkey, making sure to check both ends. In my turkey, the neck was in one end while the giblet packet was in the other.
  • Lay a large damp kitchen towel on your countertop and place your cutting board on top. Then place a layer on paper towels on top of the cutting board.

How to Spatchcock a Turkey

  • Remove the turkey from the pan and place it breast side down on your prepared cutting board.
  • Using your heavy duty kitchen shears cut along one side of the backbone. It took me about five cuts to get through one side. You will need to put a little bit of elbow grease into this.
  • After you have cut through one side of the backbone, repeat the process on the other side. Again this should take you about five cuts or so to get through the whole side. You can either discard the backbone, or save it if you're planning to make soup with the carcass.
  • Flip the turkey over so that it's now breast side up. Place one hand in the center of the breast and your other hand on top of it. Then press down hard until you hear the bone crack.
  • Using paper towels, pat the turkey dry.
  • Then place several layers of paper towels in the bottom of the pan you plan to roast your turkey in and place the wire rack on top. I used a 12x17 deep baking pan as opposed to a standard roasting pan or a half sheet pan so that my hand sheet pan wire rack would fit snugly in the top of the pan and would not be sitting on the aromatics that will be in the bottom of the pan. This was to create airflow underneath the turkey during roasting.

How to Dry Brine the Turkey

  • In a small bowel whisk together the Kosher salt, brown sugar, dried rubbed sage, dried thyme, dried rosemary and garlic powder.
  • Spread the mixture evenly over the turkey.
  • Carefully pick up the turkey and place it on the wire rack in your prepared pan.
  • Wrap the entire pan in several layers of plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 days or 48 hours.
  • Take the turkey out of the fridge and cut away the plastic wrap. Then return the turkey to the fridge for one day or about 24 hours to allow the turkey to dry out.

How to Roast the Dry Brined Spatchcock Turkey

  • Preheat your oven to 450°F.
  • Take the turkey out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature.
  • Carefully remove the rack, with the turkey still on it, from the pan and set aside. (I placed mine in a half sheet pan because that was the size of the wire rack I used.)
  • Remove the paper towels from the bottom of the pan and discard them. Wipe the pan dry and line it with heavy duty aluminum foil.
  • Cut the lemons and oranges into wedges so that you have 12 wedges of each. Place in the bottom of the prepared pan.
  • Cut the onions into wedges, separate the layers, and place in the bottom of the prepared pan.
  • Cut the celery and carrots into 2-3 inch pieces, then place in the bottom of the prepared pan.
  • Evenly distribute whole peppercorns over the cut fruit and vegetables in the bottom of the pan.
  • Lay the sprigs of fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, and fresh sage on top of the cut fruit and vegetables. Set the pan aside.
  • Combine the unsalted butter, olive oil, and fresh ground black pepper in a small bowl.
  • Before you're ready to handle your raw turkey, put a pair of vinyl gloves on.
  • Using your hands, rub the butter mixture evenly over the entire turkey. If the turkey is too cold, the butter won't spread very well.
  • Once the turkey is covered with the butter mixture, carefully place the wire rack into the prepared pan. Please note that the rack should not be touching the fruit and vegetables in the bottom of the pan.
  • Insert an oven proof meat thermometer into the thickest part of one of the thighs.
  • Place the turkey in the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Cook the turkey until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Depending on the size of your turkey, it will cook somewhere between 2-3 ½ hours. Mine took 2 hours and 5 minutes.
  • Remove the turkey from the oven and cover it with a large piece of heavy duty foil for 30 minutes.

How to Carve the Turkey

  • After 30 minutes remove the foil from the turkey and carefully transfer it to a carving board.
  • First remove the two leg and thigh quarters by cutting through the joint where they attach to the turkey.
  • Next remove each of the wings by cutting through the joint where they attach to the turkey.
  • To remove the breasts first make an incision down the center of the breast along the top of the breast bone. Next, starting at the breast bone, slice down along the bone and down under the breast to remove it. Repeat with the other breast. Then going against the grain, cut the breasts into about half inch slices.

Nutrition

Calories: 208kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 2668mg | Potassium: 381mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 6961IU | Vitamin C: 45mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 1mg