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Smoky Spatchcocked Turkey

Photo: Jennifer Causey
Active time 45 mins
Total time 3 hrs, 45 mins

Serves 16 (serving size: about 5 oz.)

Wow your guests with a grilled bird that’s ready in half the time, thanks to our favorite whole-bird technique: spatchcocking. We remove the backbone and roast the turkey flat so that every part has access to the heat at the same time. The turkey won’t have grill marks like the usual grilled protein (it cooks flesh side up over indirect heat), but it will absorb the same chargrilled flavor and get gorgeously bronzed on the outside. A smoky spice rub of paprika and ancho chile powder seems fitting for the grill, but you could use any spice combo or minced fresh herbs combined with a couple of tablespoons oil.


  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 (14-lb.) whole fresh or frozen turkey, thawed
  • Cooking spray

Nutrition Information

  • calories 144
  • fat 2.4 g
  • satfat 0.8 g
  • monofat 0.5 g
  • polyfat 0.7 g
  • protein 25 g
  • carbohydrate 4 g
  • fiber 0.0 g
  • cholesterol 83 mg
  • iron 2 mg
  • sodium 314 mg
  • calcium 25 mg
  • sugars 3 g
  • Est. Added Sugars 3 g

How to Make It

  1. Preheat one side of grill to medium (375°F).

  2. Combine first 6 ingredients. Remove giblets and neck from turkey; discard or reserve for another use. Place turkey, breast side down, on a cutting board. Using kitchen shears, cut along both sides of backbone; discard backbone. Turn turkey breast side up; press firmly against breastbone with the heel of your hand so that the bird is splayed open, butterfly style. Trim excess fat; tuck wing tips under turkey. Place turkey on a large rimmed baking sheet. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Rub spice mixture under loosened skin.

  3. Coat grill grate with cooking spray. Place turkey, skin side up, on grate over unlit side of grill. Cover and grill 2 1/2 hours or until a thermometer inserted into thickest portion of thigh registers 160°F, rotating turkey 90 degrees every 30 minutes. Place turkey on a cutting board. Let stand, loosely covered with foil, 30 minutes (internal temperature will rise to 165°F). Remove skin before carving.