The Ultimate Guide to Dry Brine Spatchcock Turkey

Are you ready to take your Thanksgiving turkey game to the next level? Look no further than the dry brine spatchcock turkey method! This foolproof technique combines two powerhouse methods – dry brining and spatchcocking – to deliver the crispiest skin and juiciest meat you’ve ever tasted. Trust me, it’s a game-changer that will have your guests raving.

What is Dry Brining?

Dry brining is a simple yet effective way to infuse your turkey with incredible flavor and moisture. Unlike a traditional wet brine, where the turkey is submerged in a saltwater solution, dry brining involves rubbing a salt mixture directly onto the bird’s skin and allowing it to work its magic.

As the salt mixture sits on the turkey, it draws out moisture from the meat, which then dissolves the salt. This saltwater solution is then reabsorbed back into the turkey, carrying the seasoning deep into the flesh. The result? A turkey that’s incredibly juicy and packed with flavor from the inside out.

The Benefits of Spatchcocking

Spatchcocking, also known as butterflying, is the process of removing the turkey’s backbone and flattening it out. This might sound intimidating, but it’s actually quite simple with a sharp set of poultry shears or a sturdy knife.

By spatchcocking the turkey, you’re exposing more surface area to direct heat, which leads to more even cooking and a crispier skin. Plus, it significantly reduces the cooking time, which means less time spent hovering over the oven and more time enjoying your guests.

Why Combine Dry Brining and Spatchcocking?

When you combine these two techniques, you’re getting the best of both worlds – a turkey that’s incredibly flavorful, juicy, and evenly cooked with a crispy, golden-brown skin. It’s a winning combination that will make your Thanksgiving turkey the star of the show.

Step-by-Step Guide to Dry Brine Spatchcock Turkey

Now that you understand the magic behind this method, let’s dive into the step-by-step process:


  • 12-14 lb whole turkey
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme


  1. Spatchcock the Turkey:

    • Place the turkey breast-side down on a cutting board.
    • Using sharp poultry shears or a sturdy knife, cut along both sides of the backbone, removing it completely.
    • Flip the turkey over and press down firmly on the breastbone until you hear a crack, flattening the turkey.
    • Tuck the wing tips under the breast.
  2. Dry Brine the Turkey:

    • In a small bowl, mix together the kosher salt and baking powder.
    • Pat the turkey dry with paper towels and sprinkle the salt mixture evenly over the entire surface, including the cavity.
    • Transfer the turkey to a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan and refrigerate, uncovered, for 12-24 hours.
  3. Prepare the Herb Butter:

    • In a small bowl, mash together the softened butter, minced garlic, maple syrup, rosemary, and thyme until well combined.
  4. Roast the Turkey:

    • Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C).
    • Carefully loosen the skin from the breast and leg areas, being careful not to tear it.
    • Spread the herb butter mixture under the loosened skin, distributing it evenly.
    • Roast the turkey at 450°F (230°C) for 30 minutes to get a head start on browning.
    • Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (175°C) and continue roasting for 45-75 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°F (74°C).
    • Rest the turkey for at least 20 minutes before carving and serving.

Tips and Tricks

  • Use a Natural or Organic Turkey: For the best results, choose a natural or organic turkey that hasn’t been pre-brined or injected with a salt solution.
  • Adjust the Salt Ratio: If you’re using Morton Kosher Salt, reduce the amount to 3 tablespoons, as it has larger crystals than Diamond Kosher Salt.
  • Don’t Skimp on the Resting Time: Letting the turkey rest allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring every bite is juicy and flavorful.
  • Experiment with Seasonings: While the herb butter adds incredible flavor, you can also try different spice blends or rubs to switch things up.
  • Save the Backbone: Don’t discard the backbone! Use it to make a flavorful turkey stock or gravy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I dry brine and spatchcock a turkey in advance?

Absolutely! You can dry brine the turkey up to 3 days in advance and spatchcock it up to 2 days in advance. Just be sure to keep it refrigerated and covered until you’re ready to roast.

How long does it take to cook a dry brine spatchcock turkey?

The cooking time can vary depending on the size of your turkey, but generally, a 12-14 lb spatchcock turkey will take around 1.5-2 hours to cook through.

Can I use this method for other poultry?

Yes! The dry brine spatchcock method works beautifully for chicken, Cornish hens, and even duck.

Is it safe to cook the turkey at such a high temperature?

Yes, it’s perfectly safe to start the turkey at a high temperature of 450°F (230°C). This initial blast of heat helps crisp up the skin and kickstart the browning process. Just be sure to reduce the temperature after 30 minutes to prevent overcooking.


If you’re looking to take your Thanksgiving turkey to new heights, the dry brine spatchcock turkey method is the way to go. With its crispy skin, juicy meat, and incredible flavor, this turkey is sure to be the centerpiece of your holiday feast. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your turkey, your salt, and your poultry shears, and get ready to impress your guests with the ultimate Thanksgiving showstopper!

The PERFECT Thanksgiving Turkey

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