Butterfly Turkey

Smell of Rosemary – Butterfly Turkey

Thanksgiving can be a big hassle, especially when you need to roast a large bird. For years, I made a brined turkey, and they always came out from the oven beautifully baked, golden brown and with juicy breast meat and perfectly cooked legs. But the process of brining and then baking a large (20 pound) turkey can be quite difficult and long, not to mention having the oven occupied for several hours. Here is the recipe for the method that I tried last year, which I find much less time consuming, easier to make and just as delicious. This recipe is a butterfly or spatchcocked turkeyit takes about one hour and ten minutes to roast a twelve pound turkey, if you have more guests you can easily bake 2 turkeys, one after another in about two and a half hours. Twelve to fourteen pound turkeys are the best for butterflying, as larger birds will need more time to bake and will be harder to handle. You can roast your turkey on a large-rimmed baking sheet, with the accompanying vegetables and herbs providing flavor and moisture. I hope you will find this recipe useful this Thanksgiving, please let me know if you have any questions.

Smell of Rosemary – Butterfly Turkey - Ingredients


1 turkey, about 12 pounds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large onion, cut into wedges
4 carrots, thickly sliced
2 parsnips, thickly sliced
3 celery stalks, thickly sliced
3 apples cut into wedges
½ bunch of fresh thyme
½ bunch of fresh sage
2 tablespoons of olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

To butterfly the turkey, place the bird breast side down, using poultry shears or a sharp knife cut along both sides of the backbone. You can save the backbone to make stock, if you choose.

Smell of Rosemary – Butterfly Turkey - Removing of the Backbone

Open the turkey and score along the keel bone using the tip of a knife, it is a bone situated in the middle of the breast. It will make easier to flatten the turkey. Turn the turkey breast side up, and using the palm of your hand press firmly on the center of the breast until flatten.

Smell of Rosemary – Butterfly Turkey

Season turkey with salt and black pepper and let it rest at room temperature for about half an hour.
On a large, rimmed baking sheet, arrange vegetables and herbs. Place flattened turkey on the top of the vegetables and brush with olive oil.

Smell of Rosemary – Butterfly Turkey - Turkey for the Oven

Place turkey in pre-heated oven and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, turn turkey around in the middle of the baking.

Smell of Rosemary – Butterfly Turkey - Roast Butterfly Turkey

Remove from the oven, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 30 minutes before carving.

Smell of Rosemary – Butterfly Turkey

Prep time about 30 minutes

Bake time 1 hour and 10 minutes

Total time 2 hours and 10 minutes

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