If you’ve never tried spatchcocking a turkey—that is, cutting out its backbone and opening it flat—then this just might be the year to try. Spatchcocking, which you can also do with a whole chicken, helps the bird cook quicker and more evenly. And with all that skin exposed to the heat, you get optimum crispness. Best of all, when cooking a spatchcocked turkey on your Traeger grill, more of the meat will be exposed to the smoke giving you next-level wood-fired flavor. Finally, a spatchcocked bird is easier to maneuver than a whole bird, and carving is a breeze.
Spatchcocking is very easy to do but only if you’re using strong kitchen scissors or shears, like Traeger BBQ Shears. Trust us on this one. With a strong pair of scissors or poultry shears, cutting out the backbone takes little effort. While you may technically be able to cut it out with a knife, it will be much more awkward and difficult. A cutting board is also handy, but since you are not using a knife, you can spatchcock your turkey on a large-rimmed baking sheet.
Place the turkey on a cutting board and position its breast side down. Using kitchen scissors or poultry shears, cut along both sides of the backbone and remove it. (Reserve it for making stock if you like.)
Open the turkey up and remove the giblets if necessary. (Reserve for gravy or stock if desired.)
Flip the turkey over so that its breast side up and press down hard on the breast to crack the breastbone and flatten the turkey somewhat.
As with a whole turkey, spatchcocked turkeys can be cooked in several different ways from roasting it to smoking it low and slow. And they can be seasoned in all manners, too, from simple salt and pepper to an elaborate wet or dry brine. While it’s best to follow a recipe, below are basic methods for roasting and smoking a spatchcocked turkey.
Carving a spatchcocked turkey is like carving a whole turkey but easier because the bird is splayed, and you can see and easily access all the joints.
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