This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
Make this delicious Spatchcocked Grilled Turkey recipe for the holidays! It cooks up quickly and deliciously!
I know…you are probably asking yourself, “What IS a Spatchcocked Grilled Turkey?”
Spatchcocked is simply a culinary term that refers to removing the backbone of a turkey (or other bird) so it can lay flat when it is grilled or roasted. Some people refer to this method as “butterflied” – but no matter what you call it – this is a great cooking method to learn, because it helps ensure that your turkey will cook evenly.
And grilling a turkey?!? You bet! Our Spatchcocked Grilled Turkey cooked up quickly (and deliciously) using our gas grill as an oven. (Below is a photo of how we grilled the spatchcocked turkey.)
Grilling a turkey frees up your indoor oven to bake other dishes for your Thanksgiving dinner, and cleanup is super easy too. But most importantly – our Spatchcocked Grilled Turkey is one of the most delicious turkey recipes we’ve ever eaten! The turkey came out flavorful, juicy and perfectly cooked with a golden, crispy skin.
1 turkey (we used a 12-pound fresh turkey)
1 gallon water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 fresh rosemary springs about 8” long
12 fresh sage leaves
1 gallon ice water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Note: If you would rather use an oven instead of a grill, process is the same except have the rack with the turkey sitting over a sheet tray lined with foil.
Unpackage the turkey and set the neck aside but discard the giblet package or use it for some other recipe. Rinse the turkey under cold water inside and out and set aside.
Place all brine ingredients (except ice water) in a pot larger than 2 gallons and bring to a boil and boil for five minutes.
Add one gallon of ice water and set aside to cool. I take an additional step by placing the pot full of brine in a sink full of cold water to bring the temperature down even faster.
Using a very sharp knife and a pair of kitchen shears, remove the backbone. To do this, place the turkey gently on a cutting board, breast down and run the sharp knife along both sides of the backbone as deep as you can, cutting through a few rib bones. Use the kitchen shears to cut through the remaining connections including the more difficult bones at the end. Set the backbone aside with the neck.
Take the sharp knife and make a small cut into the cartilage in the center that holds the two breasts together and then using a little pressure, press the left and right breasts down until it splits in the center and the bird now lays flat. The cartilage is the white triangle piece connected to the keel bone which is the bone that separates the two breasts.
In a food safe bag laid out in a roasting pan (or you can skip the bag), place in turkey and cover with the brine and seal the bag. (We had a little brine leftover which we discarded but that will depend on the size of your roasting pan. Just make sure the turkey is covered with brine).
Place in refrigerator overnight and up to 12 hours.
Place the back and neck in a large sauce pan with some onion, celery, carrot, parsley, salt, bay leaf and black pepper corns and cover with water. Bring to boil and simmer for two hours. Use this liquid when making gravy the next day since there will be no pan drippings if cooking on a grill.
3 hours before serving, heat grill by placing left and right burners on medium high and center burner off. If using charcoal, move hot coals to left and right and leave none in center.
Remove turkey from brine and discard brine then place turkey on a paper towel lined counter or cutting board and pat the entire top dry.
Pull off a 3-foot-long sheet of foil and crumble in a bunch and place inside the arch of a V-Rack (the kind of rack that comes with most roasting pans. If you don’t have one, just use foil). Place this V-Rack with arch up and foil down on a sheet tray and drape turkey over it so that the breast portion is over the foil part, skin up. Basically, what we are doing is letting the dark meat cook longer than the white meat by defusing the heat under the breasts. This process works extremely well.
Oil the entire top of the turkey with a brush and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and set temperature to alarm at 160 degrees.
Lift the entire rack and turkey onto the center of the grill and close the lid. If your grill has a temperature gage or if you are doing this in the oven, adjust temperature to 425 degrees F and cook uncovered for 30 minutes (but lid to grill on). After 30 minutes, the turkey should be nice and browned, or close to it.
After 30 minutes, lower temperature to 325 degrees F, loosely cover with a large piece of foil and cook for about 90 minutes, (with grill lid closed), or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.
Remove to a sheet tray, keep loosely covered with foil and let rest 30 minutes (no less) before carving.
Last Step! Please leave a review and rating letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business thrive & continue providing free recipes.