Spatchcocked Turkey
Roasted with Lemon, Sage, and Garlic
with Giblet Gravy

Serves 8 to 12, depending on the size of the turkey

Spatchcocked Turkey Roasted with Lemon, Sage, and Garlic


Spatchcock, an old culinary term of Irish origin, is an abbreviation of "dispatch cock," a phrase used to describe preparing a bird by splitting it down the back, spreading it open like a book, and pressing it flat for easy, faster roasting. I could have also used the term butterflied.

Keep in mind that this turkey will not look like a Norman Rockwell image of a perfectly roasted turkey presented on a platter. It is meant to be carved in the kitchen. The turkey is spread open and roasted flat to speed up the cooking time. Once carved and presented on an elegant platter, you won't be able to tell the difference between a spatchcocked turkey and one you have roasted whole. This method is brilliant for the Thanksgiving cook with little time to prepare and cook, because a 10- to 14-pound turkey will roast in about an hour and a half. I promise that butterflying the turkey is not difficult, especially if you have poultry shears or a sharp chef's knife.

  • 6 cloves garlic
  • Zest of 1 lemon, removed in 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 10 large sage leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into chunks
  • One 10- to 14-pound fresh or thawed frozen turkey, removed from the
         refrigerator 1 hour before roasting
  • Giblet Gravy for a Spatchcocked Turkey (recipe below)

Position a rack on the second-lowest level in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Have ready a roasting pan large enough to accommodate the turkey when laid flat after spatchcocking (butterflying).

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the garlic, lemon zest, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper. Process until finely minced. Add the butter and process until well combined.

Place the turkey, still in its original wrappings, in a clean sink. Carefully slit open the plastic wrapper and remove the turkey. Remove the neck and bag of giblets from both the main cavity and neck cavity of the bird. Store them in a covered container in the refrigerator for making the gravy. Remove the plastic or metal clip holding the legs together. Pull and discard any fat pockets from the neck and main cavities of the bird. Trim off the tail, if desired, and store along with the neck and giblets for stock. Rinse the turkey and pat dry thoroughly.

To butterfly the turkey, place it, breast down, on a cutting board. Using poultry shears or a chef's knife, cut through the turkey from one end to the other on each side of the backbone to remove it. Cut the backbone in half and refrigerate it for making stock for gravy. Turn the turkey breast side up, pull the body open, and use the heel of your hand to press down firmly, cracking the rib bones so the turkey lies flat. This takes a little pressure and strength; you might need to make a partial cut through the breastbone to get the turkey to lie flat.

Using your fingers, and being careful not to tear the skin, loosen the skin from the breast of the turkey to create a pocket. Smear the lemon-herb butter all over the breast meat under the skin with your fingers, pushing some butter over the thigh and leg meat. Rub the skin of the turkey all over with any remaining flavored butter and season on all sides with salt and pepper. Transfer to the roasting pan, laying the turkey out flat, skin side up. Roast for about 1-1/2 hours, depending on the size of the bird, until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 to 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. Make the giblet gravy while the turkey is roasting.

Transfer the turkey to a carving board and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let rest for 20 minutes before carving, to allow the juices to redistribute. (The internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees while the turkey rests.) Finish making the gravy while the turkey is resting.

Strain the juices and browned bits from the roasting pan through a fine-mesh sieve set over a large glass measuring cup. Set aside and allow the fat to rise to the top. Spoon off the fat. The pan juices can be added to the gravy.

Carve the turkey, following the directions on page 80 of the book. Serve, accompanied by the Giblet Gravy.


Giblet Gravy for a Spatchcocked Turkey

Makes about 3-1/2 cups

This gravy gets deep flavor from adding the turkey backbone to the stock along with the neck and giblets. Make the stock and strain it while the turkey roasts.

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Turkey backbone, neck, tail, gizzard, and heart
  • 1 yellow onion, root end trimmed but peel left intact, quartered
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed but not peeled, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 large rib celery including leafy tops, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 2 cups canned low·sodium chicken broth
  • 5 cups cold water
  • 1/4 cup instant flour such as Wondra or Shake & Blend
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Begin the gravy by first making a turkey stock. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the turkey parts and saute until browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, pepper· corns, chicken broth, and water to the pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low. Skim any brown foam that rises to the top. Simmer the stock until it reduces by half, about 1 hour. Pour the stock through a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl or 4-cup glass measure. Set aside the neck, back, gizzard, and heart until cool enough to handle. Discard the rest of the solids. Set the stock aside, and when the fat rises to the top, skim it off. Shred the meat from the neck and back and set aside. Finely dice the gizzard and heart and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the flour and 1/2 cup of the strained turkey stock until the flour is dissolved.

Stir the reserved defatted juices from the roasting pan into the turkey stock. Measure 3 cups of the stock and pour it into a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour mixture and simmer until the gravy thickens, about 5 minutes. Add the reserved gizzard and heart along with a portion of the shredded meat, just enough to enrich the gravy. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer to a warmed gravy boat or bowl and serve immediately.

  • from:
    The New Thanksgiving Table
    An American Celebration of Family, Friends, and Food
  • by Diane Morgan
  • Photographs by Leigh Beisch
  • Chronicle Books
  • Hardcober/$24.95
  • ISBN-10: 0811864944
  • ISBN: 978-0-8118-6493-0
  • Recipe reprinted by permission.

Buy The New Thanksgiving Table


The New Thanksgiving Table

Also check out recipes from the original version of The Thanksgiving Table.

Don't miss the Global Gourmet's Comprehensive Thanksgiving Guide


This page created November 2009

The FoodWine
Main Page


World Recipes
World Recipes

   Clip to Evernote

Bookmark and Share


Twitter: @KateHeyhoe

Search this site:

Advanced Search
Recent Searches



Kate's Global Kitchen
Kate's Books
Cookbook Profiles
Global Destinations
Holiday & Party Recipes
I Love Desserts
On Wine

Caffeine and You Caffeine and You
cooking kids Cooking with Kids

Conversions, Charts
   & Substitutions

About Foodwine.com
   Contact Info
   Privacy Statement


Copyright © 1994-2018,
Forkmedia LLC



cat toysCrazy Cat Toys