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Grilled Spatchcock Chicken (Recipe Review)

One of the very first recipes I was tasked with developing when I joined Kitchn’s team was a grilled whole turkey. Living in California means that I have pleasant grilling weather almost year-round. But I’m not going to lie — I was a little intimidated by the idea of cooking a bird of that size on a grill, especially for such a food-centric holiday as Thanksgiving.

But after wrestling a few turkeys onto the grill and going through some trial and error, I was quickly convinced that this is one of the quickest and tastiest ways to cook a whole bird. Coming over to my house for Thanksgiving? You can count on being served juicy turkey cooked entirely on a grill, complete with crispy skin!

Besides being incredibly delicious, here are the reasons why I love grilling turkey for Thanksgiving.

The only downside of a grilled turkey is that you won’t have drippings to make a gravy. But in my opinion, this isn’t a deal-breaker. Our make-ahead gravy is a tasty option that doesn’t require roasting a whole bird.

How to Make a Grilled Spatchcock Turkey

A really good grilled turkey isn’t just plopping a whole turkey onto the grill. Cutting the turkey in half first means that the turkey can be divided into dark meat and white meat right off the bat. This is called spatchcocking, but not in the normal sense. Argentine-style spatchcocking, my preferred method for a turkey, doesn’t cut along the spine of the bird (turkeys are too big to cut through here with regular kitchen shears). Instead, you cut through the thin ribs along the side of the bird before you pull the pieces apart (it looks a bit like a frog!). Rub the turkey with a dry brine and then forget about it until you’re ready to grill.

When it’s turkey go time, heat the grill up and stuff some butter under the skin. Start cooking the dark meat first, as it takes longer, about 20 minutes. Then add the breast section and grill, basting with melted butter every 20 minutes, until both parts are done, about 1 hour and 40 minutes total for a 12- to 15-pound bird.

Let the turkey rest, then carve (it’ll be so much easier because it’s already in two parts) and arrange onto a platter. Finally eat and enjoy yourself, celebrating the fact that there’s no big roasting pan or rack to clean in the sink!

If You’re Making Grilled Spatchcock Turkey, a Few Tips

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