Spatchcocking: Tyler Florence's Revolutionary Technique for Cooking Your Thanksgiving Turkey in 90 Minutes

Cook your Thanksgiving turkey in 90 minutes this year with Tyler Florence’s spatchcocking technique.


Photo by: Neilson Barnard ©2015 Getty Images

Neilson Barnard, 2015 Getty Images

Three hours. On average, that’s the amount of time it takes to adequately cook a Thanksgiving turkey. Thanks to an innovative technique from Chef Tyler Florence, however, 90 minutes is all you’ll need this year. During an appearance at last month’s Grand Tasting at the New York City Wine & Food Festival, Tyler gave audiences a demo on spatchcocking a turkey. The process involves removing the poultry’s spine and flattening its breastbone, which not only cuts cook time in half, but also allows for greater heat distribution, making your bird juicier and crispier than ever before.

“If you have a really good pair of kitchen shears, you can totally do this yourself,” Tyler said, kicking off the demo. Of course, you can also stop by your local grocery store or butcher shop and they’ll be happy to do it for you. And though the prospect of cutting out a bird’s backbone may seem scary, Tyler’s spatchcocking method is as easy as flipping, clipping and snipping.

Tyler starts by turning the turkey over so that it is lying on its breast. He then makes four cuts on each side of the bird’s spine, beginning at its tail end and working upward so that its thighs and ribs are detached. Next comes the trickiest snap: the wishbone. Cutting the wishbone may take a few extra cuts, but once it's done, you’re halfway through Tyler’s spatchcocking process.

Next, remove the spine, but don’t make the mistake of throwing it away. “This spine, what we’re cutting out of this, makes a fantastic soup. So this absolutely does not go in the garbage,” Tyler shared.



Photo by: Neilson Barnard ©2015 Getty Images

Neilson Barnard, 2015 Getty Images

After the spine has been set aside, take both of the freshly cut sides and open up your bird, removing any large pieces of fat. Once that’s done, flip your turkey back over, skin-side up, and using the heel of your hand as a gavel of sorts, press firmly down on the middle of the turkey’s breast until you hear a loud crack! This will signal that the turkey’s breastbone has given way. Next flatten out the bird’s legs and wings, spreading them so your bird looks as if it is about to do a split. As Tyler put it: “It kind of looks like the turkey is twerking. Like a little turkey twerk.”

Tyler then seasons the bird with a simple mixture of kosher salt, pepper and olive oil so that its natural flavors can shine through while it is roasting. “I don’t want this to taste like apple pie; I don’t want this to taste like pumpkin pie spice. I don’t want this to taste like sage, necessarily. I want it to taste like the most-mind-blowing turkey I’ve ever had,” Tyler said of his decision not to brine his spatchcocked bird.

After it is generously seasoned, the turkey bakes in the oven at 375 degrees F for 90 minutes, leaving you with more time to focus your attention on other Thanksgiving favorites: sides and desserts.

Visit Food Network's Thanksgiving Central for more holiday ideas and recipes.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Turkey Taboos: What NOT to Do This Thanksgiving

With these words of wisdom in your back pocket, your beloved bird will taste better than ever this Thanksgiving.

Best 5 Ways to Dress Up Your Thanksgiving Turkey

Stick to Food Network's best-ever turkey recipes to put an impressive spin on your holiday bird.

Mix-and-Match Turkey

Make the bird the way you like it: This step-by-step guide from Food Network Magazine leads to thousands of possibilities!

3 Times the Turkey on The Kitchen

Guarantee your juiciest, most-impressive bird ever this Thanksgiving with these three top recipes from the co-hosts of The Kitchen.

How to Get Crispy Skin — Thanksgiving Tip of the Day

For crisper skin, unwrap the turkey the day before roasting and leave it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight.

Best 5 Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes

Food Network's top five turkey recipes encompass a unique mixture of classic and creative takes on this holiday favorite that are fit for any Thanksgiving feast.

Perfect Thanksgiving Gravy

Getting ready for a special event? Find outdoor party ideas, 4th of July recipes and summer produce recipes along with great menus for entertaining from Food Network.