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SmokinOkie 11-15-2010 03:42 PM

Turkey Spatchcocking 101 w/PRON
So, lots of questions and as I was updating my Turkey 101 for my class this year (last week at the local Vo-Tech), I did one and Spatchcocked it.

Thought pictures would help others understand what it is more clearly.

Are there lots of options. Sure, this is how I do mine.

The whole idea of spatchcocking is to open the whole bird up, lay it flat and cook it flat. You can use this for Chicken as well.

Those that love to Spatchcock say that it cooks faster and the whole bird comes out even.

When I'm doing just turkey, I'll do this sometimes as an option. You really need enough space in your smoker to do this, but I LOVE the parting out of the meat, just makes trimming later that much quicker/easier.

I like this for the flexibility it gives me, that if the white/dark get done at different times, you can take them off when done.

Start with a whole turkey:

To Spatchcock you need to remove the spine.
This photo shows the area I'll cut out. I use a share knife and some kitchen shears.

This photos shows the spine removed (and that's it at the bottom of the photo.

I like to remove the keel bone. That's the white shape above the spine after I've removed it. You can see where it was removed in the middle of the turkey, where you see the meat. I like to to this for easier trimming later and it lays flatter. NOTE: it is rather difficult to remove. You have to cut carefully and not ruin the breast meat.

Here's a view with the bird turned over.

You can cook it just like this OR see the photo after this one

Part out the bird. I cut the dark quarters off (thigh/leg) IMPORTANT. Be very away of the skin and where you cut it. You want to leave as much as skin as you can for the breast meat (which I didn't do this time to show you what happens if you cut it close. Just keep this in mind when you trim out the dark pieces.

Loaded in the smoker. I try to off set them so the bird above doesn't drip on the ones below.


bluetang 11-15-2010 04:05 PM

Great tutorial! Fine looking finished product too:thumb: Thanks for sharing that.

pomah25 11-15-2010 04:12 PM

Great looking bird, i will be trying spatchcocked for the first time next week!

Jay Bird 11-15-2010 04:15 PM

Thanks for the lesson. Beautiful bird.

hamiltont 11-15-2010 04:33 PM

Ohhh ya... Nice tutorial... I can't wait to get them birds on the Q. @ $.49/lb. I've acquired a few in the freezer... Cheers!!!

Bossmanbbq 11-15-2010 04:34 PM

Very Nice!! I just love this time of year! Turkey is one of our favorites and you can load up this time of the year with the prices and deals you can find!!

donmiller 11-15-2010 04:43 PM


1) Put a pan under the bird to catch the drippings to aid in making gravy. It will usually be necessary to put some fluid in the pan (water, broth, white wine) at the start to keep the first drippings from burning.

2) Using the giblets for gravy? When boiling the giblets, cut that backbone up into 2 or 3 pieces and throw that in too.

3) Some folks coat the skin with oil or butter. They say it helps crisp up the skin.

4) You forgot to mention to add seasoning to the skin. It looks like you used some type of rub, but forgot to mention that (or considered it obvious maybe).


bigabyte 11-15-2010 04:46 PM

Nice write up!:cool:

The Grill Sergeant 11-15-2010 10:39 PM

I spatchcocked a turkey the other day... Knowing that my kitchen shears likely wouldn't cut the ribs, I went to Menards and bought some dandy pruning shears. It was a nice gift to myself. Worked perfectly! They are now a standard kitchen utensil!

I hadn't thought of removing the keel - thx 4 bring this up. Next time I will.

SmokinOkie 11-16-2010 09:20 AM

Glad it helps, you know how Photos do that.

If any of you guys try this and have photos, just post them in the thread. It's not really that hard if you're comfortable with a knife.

Grill Sergeant, great point. I have bad arthritis and kitchen shears don't always work, I too have a pair of stainless pruning shears when I need "leverage".


AUradar 11-16-2010 09:26 AM

what temp and for how long (per pound)?

I'm thinking of doing this this weekend. I have to smoke 4 turkeys. I have four trays in my smoker but not much hight between trays. Figure this would be the way to do it.

Phesant 11-16-2010 09:36 AM

Nicely done.... thanx for sharing :-D

SmokinOkie 11-16-2010 11:12 AM


Originally Posted by AUradar (Post 1458882)
what temp and for how long (per pound)?

I'm thinking of doing this this weekend. I have to smoke 4 turkeys. I have four trays in my smoker but not much hight between trays. Figure this would be the way to do it.

I've actually created a Turkey 101 (which I've had over 10 years).

I updated it for 2010 for the Turkey 101 class I gave at the Vo-Tech last week.

Look this over. I'm not a xx min for xx time kinda guy; I recommend a good thermometer and a finishing temp of 165.

Turkey 101 PDF


Jay Bird 11-16-2010 06:38 PM

Outstanding Turkey 101 PDF. A true wealth of info. Many thanks. :clap2:

Smokin Karen 11-16-2010 10:37 PM

Wow! Nice photos! Thanks for sharing that!

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