How to Spatchcock Turkey for a Tremendous Thanksgiving


Thinking of trying spatchcocking your turkey this Thanksgiving? Is so, you definitely won’t be disappointed! Spatchcocking is essentially where you flatten the turkey by splitting it down the middle, giving you a well-cooked, delicious turkey with crispy skin.

Spatchcocking allows you to forget those days of opening up the turkey to find the middle is still a bit pink or lacks flavor. If you use a Z Grills pellet grill, you’re opening up a whole new world of flavor! (Not to mention, minimizing the amount of work it takes to get your turkey from the refrigerator to the table.) Here’s how to do it:

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    How to Spatchcock a Turkey

    1. If you’ve frozen your turkey, make sure it has fully defrosted before working with it.
    2. On a large cutting board, lay the bird on its breast and cut out the spine. This is easiest with meat shears, but a large sharp knife or even a bread knife will work. Cut around the length of the spine, cutting through the ribs, until the backbone is free. (You can use it to make gravy if you choose, or throw it out.)
    3. Turn the turkey over and pull open the back so you can push down on the breast to flatten the turkey.
    4. Season your turkey with your preferred rub and brush on some olive oil.
    5. Set your pellet grill to 450F and give it ten minutes or so to reach temperature.
    6. Place your turkey directly on the grates and allow it to cook for 30 minutes.
    7. After 30 minutes, reduce the temperature to 300F.
    8. Leave it to cook for a further 3-4 hours (the size of your turkey will affect how long it takes) until the internal temperature reaches 165F, then remove it from the grill.
    9. Allow the turkey to rest for about 20 minutes before carving.
    How to Spatchcock Turkey

    What Rub Should I Use for Turkey?

    You can purchase ready-mixed rubs if you prefer, but mixing your own is always satisfying and allows you to have complete control over your turkey’s taste. Here’s our favorite rub:

    • ¼ cup brown sugar
    • 1/8 cup paprika
    • 1 tbsp garlic powder
    • 1 tbsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp rosemary
    • 1 tsp thyme
    • 1 tsp sage
    • 1/8 cup salt
    • 1 tbsp black pepper

    Simply combine it all in a bowl and apply it to your turkey when you’re ready.

    Do I Need to Carve the Turkey Differently If I Spatchcock it?

    No, because you’ve really only changed the way the turkey cooks, once you’ve turned it over and put it on the board to carve, you can still carve the breast as you normally would.

    What Pellets Are Best for Turkey?

    You can use any pellet you prefer, though if you’re serving a lot of mouths that may be pickier (such as kids), choose a pellet with a light smokey flavor. To make sure your meal sets everyone’s tastebuds on fire, opt for Fruit Wood PelletsApple Wood Pellets, or Cherry Wood Pellets.

    Do I Need a Pellet Grill to Smoke Turkey?

    You can use other forms of grill as long as they can maintain temperature with a closed lid for a long period of time, but if you want the best results possible with the least amount of effort, use a pellet grill. All Z Grills pellet grills in our range maintain your set temperature without babysitting, allowing you to set-and-forget your turkey while you prepare other dishes or even relax with your friends and family!

    11002B Pellet Grill
    McCormick Garlic Powder, 8.75 Oz
    • Smoother and more mellow than raw garlic
    • Made from fresh, whole garlic cloves that have been dried and ground
    • Powdered garlic disperses completely and evenly into your dishes
    • Use 1/4 tsp. garlic powder in place of 1 clove of fresh garlic
    • Non GMO
    McCormick Paprika, 6.62 oz
    • Fruity, slightly sweet and toasty flavor
    • Vivid red color makes it the perfect garnish for deviled eggs and pasta salads
    • Always starts with whole, ripe peppers
    • Add to Hungarian favorites like chicken paprikash and goulash
    • Use paprika as base for your own spice rubs for barbecued meats

    About The Author

    Z Grills

    Z Grills

    Z Grills is a grill manufacturer with over 30 years of experience within the industry. With over 650,000 pellet grills sold and 85 million cooks made, trust us.

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