Spatchcocked Turkey with Fresh Rosemary and Lemon Zest Dry Brine

Spatchcocked Turkey with Fresh Rosemary and Lemon Zest Dry Brine

If you don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen watching your turkey roast and wringing your hands over whether the breast is going to dry out before the thighs cook through, a spatchcocked, dry brined bird is for you. Spatchcocking just means cutting out the backbone of the bird and then flattening the works (aka butterflying the bird). To do this, you need a pair of good, sharp kitchen shears and for god sake be CAREFUL. The ER is on holiday hours and having to sit in triage instead of snarfing pumpkin pie would totally suck.

I’m not going to go into chapter and verse on why this is the best way to cook a bird. I can tell you it produces a juicy, flavourful bird in about a 1/3 of the time as any other method we’ve tried. If you need further convincing, go read Serious Eats’ treatise, How to Cook a Spatchcocked Turkey: The Fastest, Eastiest Thanksgiving Turkey.


  • 1 14 lb turkey (no reason you couldn’t use a chicken if you wanted to)

Dry Brine

  • 1/2 C Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 C chopped fresh rosemary
  • Zest of one whole lemon


  1. Mix the ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Pat the turkey dry with paper towel.
  3. Sprinkle the dry brine mixture all over the bird (all surfaces). The bird should be well coated although not encrusted.
  4. You will most likely not need all the salt.
  5. Transfer the bird to a rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate uncovered for 12 to 24 hours (yes, you read right, uncovered for 12 to 24 hours).

This is how it looks before going into the oven

Spatchcocked turkey

  1. Without rinsing (we did brush off the excess salt), roast the bird omitting additional salting steps in this recipe:

It’ll take about 80 minutes.

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