Everyone knows I love entertaining, but the last thing I want to do on Thanksgiving is wake up early and watch a bird cook all day! I want to be part of the party! That’s why my go-to on T-day is a spatchcocked turkey. It cuts down the cooking time by half and takes the fuss and shows it the door!
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Fit an 18-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack.
To spatchcock the turkey, use a large chef’s knife or kitchen shears to cut along both sides of the backbone. Remove the backbone and reserve for stock if desired. Place the turkey breast-side up on a cutting board and use your hands to press the center to break the breastbone and flatten the bird. Use your fingers to gently loosen the skin from the breast and the legs, then place the turkey on the prepared baking sheet.
To make the Cajun butter, mix together the smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, dried thyme, salt and black pepper in a medium bowl. Place the butter in another medium bowl and mix in the spice mixture until well combined. Transfer a quarter of the Cajun butter to a small microwave-safe bowl and set aside.
Rub the turkey with the remaining room temperature Cajun butter under the skin and on top of the skin.
Roast the turkey until the skin begins to brown, about 35 minutes.
Microwave the reserved Cajun butter until melted, about 10 seconds. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, brush the melted Cajun butter over the crispy skin and roast until golden, about 20 minutes. Baste the turkey with the pan drippings and roast, basting once more, until the internal temperature registers 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour.
Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest at least 15 minutes. Pour the juices from the baking sheet into a small serving bowl and reserve for drizzling over the bird. Slice the turkey breasts and transfer to a serving platter. Remove the wings, thighs and legs and transfer to the platter. Slice the 1/2 lemon into rounds. Garnish the turkey with the lemon rounds and herb sprigs if desired.