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Spatchcock Turkey with Sage & Thyme

  • 20 m
  • 2 h 10 m
Carolyn Casner
“When it comes to cooking a whole turkey quickly and evenly, spatchcocking—removing the entire backbone from the bird and splaying it open—is a great technique. This skin on this spatchcocked turkey gets crispy and browned because nearly all of the skin is exposed. This recipe uses a simple blend of oil, fresh herbs and spices for classic roasted turkey flavor. Look for a small turkey, about 12 pounds, as it fits better in most roasting pans.”


    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
    • 1½ teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
    • 1 12-pound turkey, giblets removed
    • 2 lemons, sliced


  • 1 Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • 2 Combine oil, thyme, sage, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Trim any excess fat from the turkey. Using heavy-duty kitchen shears or poultry shears, cut the turkey down one side of the backbone, through the ribs. Make an identical cut on the opposite side to remove the backbone completely; discard. Place the turkey cut-side down and flatten with the heel of your hand (you'll have to press hard!). Splay the thighs outward and tuck the wings under. Loosen the skin over the breasts and thighs; rub the herb mixture under the skin.
  • 3 Make a layer of lemon slices about the size of the turkey in a large roasting pan. Set the turkey on the lemons.
  • 4 Roast the turkey until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165°F, 1½ to 1¾ hours. Remove from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.
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