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Slow roasting a spatchcocked turkey?

So I've been reading the low and slow turkey threads with interest. Has anyone ever tried slow roasting a turkey that's been spatchcocked? Would the time required be less?

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  1. spatchcocked birds cook more quickly, yes.

    i haven't tried low and slow so cannot give time rec's though, sorry.

    1. Watching this with interest because I would have loved to spatchcock last year's bird, but could not get the breastbone to flatten out, short of just removing it.

      4 Replies
      1. re: tacosandbeer

        with turkeys, i have the butcher do it.

        1. re: tacosandbeer

          I get my butcher to remove the backbone, then at home, I put on rubber gloves, grab a couple of handfuls of paper towels grab opposite sides of the ribcage and pull until the bones crack. I can then flip the turkey right side up and press down on the breast bone to flatten more.

          1. re: TorontoJo

            Thanks for the instructions. I am unfortunately limited to frozen birds - fresh are difficult to get my hands on until closer to Christmas here in the boondocks of the UK, unless I want to pay loads extra for a special order. But I could give it a try!

            1. re: tacosandbeer

              Oh, I've removed the backbone myself at home before, too. It's not terribly hard, you just need to make sure you have a good grip on the turkey -- the paper towels really help with that! I usually start with kitchen shears to get a cut started, then use a cleaver or large knife and whack, whack, whack. It helps to use the backbone itself as a guide by slightly angling the knife against the backbone so you end up cutting straight down the backbone instead of angling off the wrong direction into the meat.

              But I must say, I prefer it when my butcher does it! :o)

        2. I don't know the exact purpose of spatchcocking poultry but if it's for moist and juicy tender you'll get that with an intact bird cooked low and slow.

          11 Replies
          1. re: fldhkybnva

            Normally, spatchcocking allows the turkey to cook more evenly and more quickly. Also, since I dry brine my bird, having it flat in the fridge makes it easier to salt evenly, and it takes up less vertical space in the fridge.

            1. re: TorontoJo

              Good point, I literally need another fridge for Thanksgiving, one day.

              1. re: TorontoJo

                This, exactly. I was SHOCKED at how much less space the damn thing took without the backbone! You can use it for stock a few days before, too.

                1. re: biondanonima

                  I know, right? And I have to get *two* 20-pound turkeys in there in addition to everything else!

                2. re: TorontoJo

                  But you can't stuff it, so completely out at our house.

                  1. re: magiesmom

                    I think some put the stuffing underneath so it still catches drippings.

                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      Yeah, not the same. True stuffing mavens find this a travesty;)

                          1. re: magiesmom

                            I always spatchcock my turkey now before brining, and use the back, neck, wingtips, giblets to make stock. The fat that I skim off the top of my stock gets saved and then is drizzled over the stuffing that is baked separately. And I have tons of awesome stock to use for gravy, and usually enough left over for some soup as well.

                            TorontoJo, please let us know how you make out with the slow-roasted birds - I'm curious to try it some day!

                    2. re: TorontoJo

                      Spatchcocking also puts the dark meat towards the outer sides of the bird and shelters the white meat in the inner parts, thus helping to get the dark meat cooked without drying out the white meat quite as much.

                  2. The time required would have to do with the following variables considered and taken into account.

                    * The temperature you select to roast at(225-275*)
                    * The shape of the Breast
                    * The accuracy of your oven
                    * Roasting on a rack(elevated) or simply on top of vegetables
                    * Covered or uncovered.

                    If you are roasting two larger 20 pound birds, I suggest you remove the back, the leg and the thigh portions and cook separately.

                    Your actual roasting time at 225 will still require about 3 hours minimum, possibly 4+ if the breasts are large and thick. We used to cook large boneless breasts only at the Country Club and they took 4+ hours to hit 160*

                    Spatchcocked poultry is often cooked at higher temperatures and do save time. Low and slow is the opposite. It's a method to produce more evenly cooked meat and the allow the natural enzymes to break down the meat and naturally tenderize. The ending result is more moist and tender Turkey.

                    btw. Don't over look the benefits of a longer resting period of 1-2 hours if possible.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: fourunder

                      I have two ovens and was thinking of roasting at 200...

                      1. re: TorontoJo

                        I would roast the white and dark separately. I would plan 6.5-7,5 hours...4-5+ to slow roast and the rest of the time to rest. If you hit your mark early, you simply rest early and a little longer. If you find things are crawling at 200, you can increase the temperature. Personally, I have never found any noticeable difference, or rather, any benefit from using the lower 200 as opposed to 225 for the turkey to warrant the extra time needed, but if you have the time, there's no reason I can think of to discouraging you from using 200. Some others use it and find it best....but my general rule for turkey is 12-14#s I roast at 275. 14+ get's roasted at 225. For my palate, I find any lower temperatures for chicken or turkey produces a slightly rubbery texture. While the dark meat may be fully cooked, the color will be pink. I have no problem myself, but others find it off putting because they are used to meat cooked to death.

                        If you find you need an oven to start the sides, you can hold both in the one oven by refashioning the turkey around the breast to fit on the rack or sheet pan.

                        1. re: TorontoJo

                          Food poisoning

                          Roast at 425 or. 450 and then turn down to 200

                          1. re: C. Hamster

                            Sorry, I didn't mention that part, but I did intend to start at 425 for 30 mins, then turn down.

                      2. I did one a few years ago. It turned out great, used the instructions on Martha Stewart's website. I used a frozen bird, made sure it was thawed all the way. Cut the backbone out with kitchen scissors then give the turkey a solid push on the breast (skin side up) like you are giving it CPR until the breast bone breaks.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: blackpointyboots

                          You slow roasted it? Or just spatchcocked it?

                        2. OK, I'm going to take the dive and try this. My plan:

                          - Put turkeys into 450 degree ovens for 30 minutes at 9:30am
                          - Turn ovens down to 250 and roast for 7 hours until 5pm
                          - Rest for an hour while I use the ovens for other stuff

                          I'll check the temps at around 4pm and if it looks like I'm not even close to 155-160, I'll crank the heat up to 325 or so.

                          Any recommended tweaks to this?

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: TorontoJo

                            Just as an alternative thought, there is an old Cooks Illustrated recipe for a brined, spatchcocked, HIGH temperature turkey that turns out very well and has the additional benefit of not taking up very much oven time.

                            1. re: TorontoJo

                              How big are your birds? With the backbones out, I'm guessing that they'll take less than 7 hours at 250, unless they're monsters.

                              1. re: biondanonima

                                Oh, hmm...good point. The birds are 20lbs each, but without the backbone, they probably lose a pound or so each. Not sure that's enough to make a huge difference? But I will definitely plan on checking the temp earlier. Thanks!

                                1. re: TorontoJo

                                  I was just browsing an old thread and found a post with a timing chart for the high-low method: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8192...

                                  This isn't for spatchcocked birds, but it should give you an idea - they recommend almost 7 hours for a 20 lber, though, so it sounds like you were pretty close!

                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                    Yeah, that's what I was basing my estimates on! :o)

                              2. re: TorontoJo

                                I think you should give this link a look before you anticipate 7 hours in the oven.


                                1. re: fourunder

                                  Interesting -- looks like I won't need that much time. The good thing is that I can always turn the temp down to 175 or so and hold the turkey indefinitely.

                              3. I've been experimenting with this method on chickens with good results and plan on following the same method for turkey.

                                The day before serving I spatchcock the bird and slow roast directly on a sheetpan at 225* until it hits 160*. Then I cool it and refrigerate overnight. The next day a couple of hours before dinner I put it back into the oven on a rack at 475* for 30 min.Then I shut off the oven and leave the bird inside until time to eat. The result is nice crackling skin and tender, moist meat.

                                1. So, TorontoJo - how did it go? I planned to try this technique but my mother had already decided she wanted to go a different route, so I didn't fight it (I don't like turkey anyway, so I didn't really have a dog in the fight). However, next year, I may have to fight it for my DH's sake - he said the turkey was awful. She wet-brined, basted and WAY overcooked it - it was at 170 when she finally put in the probe thermometer and she insisted on putting it back for another 20 minutes because it "had only been in for 2 hours, it can't possibly be done." My mother isn't a terrible cook but she definitely has some old habits that she just can't shake.

                                  1. So my turkeys were dry brined and spatchcocked as usual. I put them in a 450 oven for 30 minutes, then turned down to 225. I left them alone for 4 hours, and when I checked the temp then, the breast was already at 160. Eep. And I had another 3 or 4 hours before dinner! So I turned off the ovens and let the turkeys rest in there for the afternoon. They were still reasonably warm when we carved them.

                                    The dark meat was juicy and succulent. The white meat was tender and tasty, but just a bit dryer than I would have wanted (though everyone insisted it was delicious and juicy).

                                    It was certainly an easy, "set it and forget" technique. But my old method (450 for 30, then 375 for 90 minutes or so) turned out a superlative juicy and tasty turkey as well. So I'm not sure what I'll do next time. If I do low and slow, I'll know that I can start the turkey WAY later than I did and check it way sooner. I'm glad I tried this method, though.

                                    12 Replies
                                    1. re: TorontoJo

                                      How big were they? My 19 lb bird cooked in 4 hours at 225F and it wasn't spatchcocked. Did you expect longer? Also with this method a long rest time up to 2 hours or even longer is recommended so your timing sounds right. I cook it to 150F and let it rest 2 hours.

                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                        They were 20 lbs each. I think it was done sooner than the 4 hour point when I checked it. Like I said, everyone else was happy with the bird, so I'm probably just being too picky. :0)

                                        1. re: TorontoJo

                                          It's a good thing you didn't shoot for the 7 hours originally expected. did you use a temperature probe thermometer?

                                            1. re: TorontoJo

                                              You might want to grab an in-oven probe thermometer for next time, it's pretty useful even for everyday use. I let that guide me and then double check with the Thermapen

                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                My oven has one, so I'll use it next time. Should have thought to use it -- thanks for the rec!

                                              2. re: TorontoJo

                                                I use a very inexpensive Taylor Digital Probe Thermometer....it cost me $12.

                                                The benefit of the probe model over instant read....you set the target temperature and it warns you if you want to set before it hits your goal....or you can set it to hit your goal and it beeps to let you know.

                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                  Exactly, I usually set it 10 or 15 degrees lower than my final temperature for a big roast so that I can check it

                                            2. re: TorontoJo

                                              You're being too picky. :-) That was the best roast turkey I've eaten since the last time I had roast turkey (roasted at a higher temp) at your house 2+ years ago! (Although I stuck to the dark meat both times, so I can't compare the white meat on either occasion!)

                                              1. re: prima

                                                Thanks, prima! That's nice to hear. :0) I think I'll be going back to my old technique next year.

                                                1. re: TorontoJo

                                                  Oh no, well I use you have to go with what works for you :) Glad to hear you tried out the slow roasted approach at least. I'm thinking perhaps the spatchcocking had something to do with the results.

                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                    I may give it another shot during Canadian Thanksgiving to get the timing down better. If I'm happy with that, than I'll use it for U.S. Thanksgiving again!