Southwestern Grilled Spatchcock Turkey

Southwestern Grilled Spatchcock Turkey

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From:, October 2018

This isn't your average Thanksgiving turkey! Loaded with spices of the Southwest, the flavor of this bird is enhanced even more by grilling. Removing the backbone from the turkey, called "spatchcocking" or butterflying, allows it to lay flat on the grill so it cooks faster. Make sure you have a good pair of kitchen shears to make it easier to remove the backbone.

Ingredients 12 servings

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Original recipe yields 12 servings
Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 (12 to 13 pound) turkey


  • Prep

  • Ready In

  1. Combine chili powder, paprika, sugar, salt, garlic powder and pepper in a small bowl.
  2. 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 or reserve for turkey broth. Place the turkey, cut-side down, on a cutting board 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 spice mixture under the skin.
  3. Light a chimney starter full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit, pour the coals to one side of the grill and let it burn down to medium heat (about 400°F). Wearing an oven mitt, carefully place a foil or foil-lined drip pan under the grill rack on the unheated side (see Tip). Place the turkey, breast-side up, on the rack over the pan.
  4. Continue cooking, rotating the bird so the side furthest from the heat is now closest to the heat (not flipping) and adding more coals halfway through, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast and thigh registers 165°F, 2 to 2½ hours. Remove from the grill and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.
  • Tip: The recipe uses the indirect method for grilling, which means that the heat source is on one side of the grill and the food is cooked over the unheated side of the grill. A traditional charcoal kettle grill has enough room to place a spatchcock turkey over the unheated side. Depending on the placement of the heating elements, some gas grills may not allow you enough space to place a turkey over the unheated area. However, if your gas grill has two heating elements, one on either side, you may cook the turkey on a gas grill, using the indirect method.
  • Equipment: Large charcoal grill

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 3 ounces
  • Per serving: 150 calories; 4 g fat(1 g sat); 1 g fiber; 2 g carbohydrates; 26 g protein; 10 mcg folate; 92 mg cholesterol; 1 g sugars; 1 g added sugars; 496 IU vitamin A; 1 mg vitamin C; 17 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 276 mg sodium; 239 mg potassium
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 0
  • Exchanges: 3½ lean protein

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