How to Brine a Spatchcock Turkey: A Comprehensive Guide

Alright, y’all! This is THE post. We’ll be talking about everything Thanksgiving turkey 101, including this dry-brined spatchcock turkey, which is a mainstay for any Thanksgiving table. Once you learn this technique, you are going to look like an absolute pro every Thanksgiving. Say goodbye to dry and flavorless birds, that all ends today!.

For your next special occasion, brining a spatchcock turkey is a great way to guarantee a juicy, flavorful, and evenly cooked bird. Using this method, the turkey is dry-bringed, which is rubbing it with a spice mixture based on salt and allowing it to rest in the refrigerator for a few hours or even days. This method contributes to the breakdown of the muscle fibers, making the turkey more moist and tender.

What You’ll Need:

  • Spatchcock Turkey: A spatchcock turkey is a turkey that has been butterflied, meaning the backbone has been removed and the turkey is flattened. This allows for faster and more even cooking. You can find spatchcock turkeys at most grocery stores or butcher shops.
  • Kosher Salt: Kosher salt is the preferred type of salt for brining as it dissolves easily and evenly.
  • Spices: The spices you use for your dry brine are up to you, but some popular options include black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and thyme.
  • Baking Sheet: You’ll need a large baking sheet to hold the turkey while it brines.
  • Plastic Wrap: Plastic wrap is used to cover the turkey while it brines.
  • Oven: You’ll need an oven to roast the turkey after it has been brined.


  1. Prepare the Dry Brine: In a small bowl, combine the kosher salt and your desired spices.
  2. Pat the Turkey Dry: Use paper towels to pat the turkey dry. This will help the dry brine adhere to the skin.
  3. Apply the Dry Brine: Rub the dry brine mixture all over the turkey, making sure to get it under the skin as well.
  4. Refrigerate: Place the turkey on a baking sheet and cover it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.
  5. Remove from the Refrigerator: When you’re ready to cook the turkey, remove it from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
  6. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 450°F.
  7. Roast the Turkey: Place the turkey on a roasting rack in a baking dish and roast for 1-1 1/2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  8. Let Rest: Let the turkey rest for at least 15 minutes before carving and serving.


  • Use a Meat Thermometer: A meat thermometer is the best way to ensure that your turkey is cooked through to a safe temperature.
  • Don’t Overcook: Overcooking your turkey will result in dry meat.
  • Baste the Turkey: Basting the turkey with butter or pan drippings will help to keep it moist.
  • Carve Carefully: Carving a spatchcock turkey can be a bit tricky. Be sure to use a sharp knife and cut against the grain of the meat.

Additional Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What is the difference between a wet brine and a dry brine? A wet brine is a solution of salt, water, and other seasonings that the turkey is submerged in. A dry brine is a mixture of salt and spices that is rubbed onto the turkey.
  • How long should I brine a spatchcock turkey? You can brine a spatchcock turkey for as little as 24 hours or as long as 3 days.
  • Can I use a different type of salt for the dry brine? Yes, you can use table salt, but you’ll need to use less of it as it is more concentrated than kosher salt.
  • Can I add other ingredients to the dry brine? Yes, you can add other ingredients to the dry brine, such as herbs, citrus zest, or even brown sugar.
  • What should I serve with my spatchcock turkey? Some popular side dishes for spatchcock turkey include mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce.

Brining a spatchcock turkey is a simple yet effective way to ensure a delicious and juicy turkey for your next meal. By following the instructions above, you can easily master this technique and impress your guests with your culinary skills.

How to Spatchcock a Turkey

If using a frozen turkey, start by removing the giblets and neck and ensuring it is fully defrosted. Place the turkey on a large cutting board and pat it very dry with paper towels. Arrange the turkey breast-side down on the cutting board with the legs facing you.

Using good-quality kitchen shears, cut along one side of the turkey spine, separating it from the ribs. Trim the turkey as close to the spine as possible to prevent wasting more meat than is necessary. Repeat on the other side of the spine.

Flip the turkey so that the breasts face upward and the legs face outward. Using the palm of your hands, press along the breast bone. You should hear a small crack and the bird should lay flat. Watch the video for a quick tutorial.

Reasons to Spatchcock a Turkey

  • Faster cooking. Spatchcocked turkeys cook in HALF the time of regular turkeys. A 14-pound turkey will cook in about 80 minutes if it is spatchcocked; otherwise, it will take about 3 hours.
  • Even cooking. When your turkey cooks flat, you can expect even cooking. There’s no need to worry about dry breast meat or undercooked dark meat because every part of the bird is equally exposed and cooks at the same rate.
  • Better seasoning. Since all of the turkey’s ingredients are easily accessible, seasoning every crevice and cranny is a breeze. Turkey legs are typically hard to reach and often underseasoned, but you’ll find that dry brine everywhere this time!
  • More room in the oven. Thanksgiving dinner is a breeze when you cook multiple sides at once with a flat turkey. Additionally, it frees up a ton of oven space because the turkey only needs a few inches of space in addition to a large roasting pan.
  • Crispy skin. When the turkey’s parts are exposed, its skin crisps throughout. Since legs are rarely exposed to direct heat, your skin appears pallid and sticky. No more! You’ll have perfectly crispy skin all over.

Spatchcocked and Brined Turkey | Step by Step Tutorial

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