Fall-apart tender and juicy all the way down to the bone, this herb-roasted spatchcock turkey becomes the shining food star on your holiday feast table. An easy overnight marinade injects mad flavor deep, deep into the bird, while a roasted grain free and gluten free gravy practically makes itself while the turkey is baking. The juices released from the turkey while baking release over-the-top delicious pan juices that you can serve as an au jus for those who prefer a lighter dipping sauce. Yep and yay...
This Herb-Roasted Spatchcock Turkey Recipe Makes Holiday Cooking Easy and Breezy, Y'all...
Since Mark and I have been married, the issue of cooking a big ole turkey for the holidays is generally a sticky one. While I love, love, love turkey, Mark really isn't a fan of the big giant bird at all. So, two Thanksgivings ago, I came up with an elaborate marinating and butter rub plan for a turkey breast. I was certain that if I could turn Mark on to a succulent turkey breast, he would eventually jump on board to trying out a whole turkey.
Well, to tell y'all the truth, it worked!! Mark couldn't believe how moist and flavorful the roasted turkey breast turned out...And he loved the gravy, too!! So, this year he let me go all in with a whole turkey. And I had to rise to 'this better be good,' challenge again, or my chances of enjoying turkey next year would be slim to store-bought turkey slice fix none.
We're both huge fans of butterflied chicken. So, I thought that developing a similar, but completely brand spanking new herb-roasted spatchcock turkey recipe, was how I was going to keep my Turkey Day privileges safe and sound around the Liner house this year. Yep.
How to Make Herb-Roasted Spatchcock Turkey Like a Holiday Cooking Rock Star Champ, Y'all...
The first step to make my herb-roasted spatchcock turkey is actually butterflying the bird. This is really complicated to explain, so I'm linking this Youtube video I found to give you a clear picture of what you need to do. Please note though, that I (I mean Mark) did not clip the wings. Nope. We left them intact, and tucked them behind the breast, as you can clearly see in the pics. Also, I cannot stress enough how important it is to use an electric knife for this process. If you don't have one, then block off a lot of time, and just be very careful and very patient while you're butterflying the bird.
Next, since we don't really eat organ meat around here, we discarded everything but the turkey neck and backbone. I stored the backbone in a covered dish, and refrigerated it. Then, I placed the turkey neck in a baking dish covered with chicken broth, herbs, and spices. Then, I baked it for 30 minutes, because I wanted the neck and seasonings to flavor the broth, and make the whole marinade inject the raw turkey with the deep, down-home turkey flavor that makes all of us turkey lovers long for Thanksgiving and Christmas all year long.
Next, I rested the marinade until it came down to room temperature. And I poured it into the bottom of a very large heavy plastic dish. Then, I discarded the neck before placing the butterflied turkey breast-side down in the dish. I seasoned the back side of the turkey liberally, then I covered it securely to let it rest in the fridge overnight.
The next morning, I carefully turned the spatchcocked turkey over, and gave the other side a chance to soak up some of the marinade for a few hours. When it was time to make the herb-roasted spatchcock turkey, I spread cut-up Cajun trinity pieces over a large greased baking sheet. Then, I discarded the marinade and patted the turkey dry. Then, right before I put it in the oven, I slathered on a thick coating of herb-seasoned butter, just to pack another flavor punch into the skin of the bird.
I also retrieved the refrigerated turkey backbone, and set it in a deep baking dish. I covered it with even more seasonings and chicken broth, and slid it onto the bottom rack of the preheated oven. Then, I placed the butterflied bird with veggies pan on the top rack, and let the experimental herb-roasted spatchcock turkey recipe process begin...
And Then I Was Literally Dancing in My Kitchen Over This Herb-Roasted Spatchcock Turkey Recipe, Y'all...
By the time the herb-roasted spatchcock turkey came out of the oven, I was beside myself wondering if I had gotten this one right. So, after a round of pics, Mark carved the bird, and we dug right in.
And oh y'all, the turkey came out better than I thought it would!! I literally pulled some of the meat off of the bone, just to make sure that it was tender and juicy all the way down. And it sooo was!! To my surprise and delight, Mark even ate the breast and skipped his usual leg and thigh routine!! I couldn't believe it!!
And the gravy, y'all!! I added a bit of tapioca starch to the gravy base that I baked in the oven right under the turkey. It thickened perfectly as it cooled off on my countertop. And the minced garlic really added the perfect amount of taste and added texture that I was looking for.
But, to be honest, the real sleeper star of this show was the pan drippings over the Cajun trinity vegetables that baked under the turkey. I planned on adding them to the gravy, which you can do if you wish. However, it's really a perfect au jus all its own, with an amazing flavor from the butter rub that I really couldn't get enough of!! So, I alternated dipping my turkey into the gravy and the au jus, and it was Heaven on earth to experience.
Happy Thanksgiving, y'all, and lots of love to you and yours. Share this herb-roasted spatchcock turkey recipe with those you're blessed enough to call your very own. And see y'all on the yum side...
Herb-Roasted Spatchcock Turkey Recipe
- 1 14 to 16 pound whole turkey
- 2 onions, sliced
- 4 celery ribs, chopped
- 2 to 3 small to medium red or green bell peppers, chopped
For the Herb-Roasted Spatchcock Turkey Marinade
For the Butter Rub
- 2 sticks softened butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon rosemary
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoons Texas Pete Pepper Sauce
- 2 teaspoons honey
- ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Spatchcock the turkey, and set aside. It's best to use an electric knife, but time and patience with a regular carving knife will work, too. Discard the organ meats, but keep the turkey neck and backbone. Place the backbone in a covered dish and refrigerate.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Make the marinade by placing the turkey neck in the bottom of a deep baking dish. Then, stir in the remaining marinade ingredients.
- Bake the marinade for 30 minutes. Then, remove from oven and let come down to room temperature.
- Pour the marinade into a very big heavy plastic bowl or baking dish. Pour the cooled marinade into the bowl. Then, place the spatchcock turkey breast-side down in the marinade. Season the exposed side of the turkey liberally with salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
- Cover the turkey with multiple sheets of aluminum foil. Marinate the turkey overnight. The next morning, very carefully turn the turkey over so that the backside gets to sit in the marinade for a few hours. (It's totally ok if the turkey won't fit that way in your bowl. The legs and thighs will get plenty of seasoned juices released over them while roasting, so don't get discouraged if you can't marinade the other side of the turkey for some reason.)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Make the grain free and gluten free turkey gravy by placing the backbone in a deep baking dish. Cover the backbone with the chicken or turkey broth, then add the broth and remaining gravy ingredients to the dish. Stir until well-incorporated.
- Grease a large sheet pan with butter or oil.
- Spread the cut-up onion, bell pepper and celery over the greased sheet pan.
- Place the spatchcock turkey, breast-side up over the veggies, on the top rack of the oven.
- Bake for 20 minutes to brown the top of the turkey.
- Turn the heat down to 350 degrees F. Slide the baking dish with the turkey gravy ingredients onto the bottom rack of the oven.
- Cover the turkey and veggies loosely with foil, then cook for about 2 hours, or until a thermometer inserted into the breast and thigh reads 165 degrees F.
- Remove the turkey gravy pan. Using heavy-duty oven mitts, very, very carefully strain it over a colandar set atop a large glass bowl. Let cool slightly, then transfer to your serving bowl. Stir 1 tablespoon of tapioca starch or arrowroot starch into 3 tablespoons of cold water. Pour into the bowl, and stir until well-incorporated. If the gravy isn't thick enough for your tastes, repeat the thickening process until satisfied.
- Carefully remove the herb-roasted spatchcock turkey from the pan onto a large cutting board. Then, carve the turkey. Pour the pan drippings with veggies into a serving bowl.
- Let the turkey rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. Then, serve with both gluten free turkey gravy and au jus with Cajun trinity veggies.