Butterflied Roast Turkey — Save Thanksgiving!

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I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been at a family Thanksgiving dinner where the turkey just refused to hit temperature, while all the sides grew gradually colder and droopier and everyone filled up on appetizers until they didn’t want any turkey anyway, lol. Enter: Butterflied Roast Turkey, which cooks evenly in 60-90 minutes (depending on the size of your turkey), resulting in a perfectly browned bird where none of the meat is dried out or undercooked.

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No, you won’t have the big lovely roast bird to bring out on a platter — but hey, we always carved ours up in the kitchen first anyway, so who’s to know? :) Full credit for this one goes to ScratchupsDad, who dealt with the whole slimy deboning process. Me, I’d wear gloves! As prepared here, Butterflied Roast Turkey is both gluten and dairy free. We used a gluten free Butterball turkey, but if you have food allergies in your family, check your brand just in case.

(Just a 12 pounder today, since we had a small immediate family Thanksgiving dinner this year. All the relatives were out of town for the actual holiday, so our larger family celebration? Was in October. That’s just how we roll, here in the Scratchups household.)

Butterflied Roast Turkey

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Ingredients

Whole turkey — ours was just under 12 pounds
Olive oil
2-3 bay leaves
Garlic sea salt
Italian herbs seasoning
Rubbed sage

Directions

removingspine

Remove the turkey guts and rinse your turkey well both inside and out. Cut off any loose flaps of skin at the end by the spine. Then, using the sharpest poultry shears you can find, cut all the way down one side of the spine, then all the way down the other side of the spine. Lift spine up, then cut out where it is attached by the wing end. Remove spine entirely, and either discard or save for stock.

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Now it’s time to remove the breastbone. Separate the breastbone and ribs from the meat on each side with a sharp knife. Then, cut out the breastbone with your poultry shears and clip through the cartilage with shears where it’s connected to the wings. Snip out with shears and remove, then feel for any loose little bones or cartilage and snip those out with your shears and discard. Reserve breastbone for stock, or discard.

seasonturkey

There! Now that we’re rid of all those pesky bones, it’s time to get cooking. Lay your turkey flat on a rack in a roasting pan, skin side up. Brush with olive oil, then season to taste. (We used three bay leaves, rubbed sage, garlic sea salt, and Italian herbs, but this is forgiving — change it up for your own tastes!)

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These times are based on a 12 pound turkey. Increase the cooking time if yours is bigger, but check frequently, since it will cook faster than you’re used to! Cook 20-25 minutes at 450, until browned. Reduce heat to 400 and cook another 40 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh hits 165 degrees. Remove bay leaves, carve, and serve. Ours took one hour and five minutes total, and was done perfectly!

Why the Butterfly?

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When you roast a turkey the traditional way, the breast meat can dry out before the thigh meat is cooked to temperature (plus, as we’ve all experienced, it can take a long, loooong, time). When you butterfly the turkey beforehand, however, the meat can cook much more evenly — and also takes much less time. This gives you a juicier bird, without the wait! This turkey is so darn good, that I even bought an extra bird on the Thanksgiving sales last week to keep in the freezer so that we can do it again at a later not-even-a-holiday-date.

But will I have enough bones left for soup?

turkeysoup

Not to worry — turkeys are BIG. I actually discarded the spine and breastbone and just used the final bones from the cooked turkey to make stock overnight, which transformed into this lovely turkey and wild rice soup the next day.

Want more affordable and easy recipes?

That’s the only kind I post! If you like Butterflied Roast Turkey, you might also like:

Easy print version

Butterflied Roast Turkey -- Save Thanksgiving!
 
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Ingredients
  • Whole turkey -- ours was just under 12 pounds
  • Olive oil
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • Garlic sea salt
  • Italian herbs seasoning
  • Rubbed sage
Directions
  1. Remove the turkey guts and rinse your turkey well both inside and out.
  2. Cut off any loose flaps of skin at the end by the spine.
  3. Then, using the sharpest poultry shears you can find, cut all the way down one side of the spine, then all the way down the other side of the spine.
  4. Lift spine up, then cut out where it is attached by the wing end.
  5. Remove spine entirely, and either discard or save for stock.
  6. Now it's time to remove the breastbone. Separate the breastbone and ribs from the meat on each side with a sharp knife.
  7. Then, cut out the breastbone with your poultry shears and clip through the cartilage with shears where it's connected to the wings.
  8. Snip out with shears and remove, then feel for any loose little bones or cartilage and snip those out with your shears and discard.
  9. Reserve breastbone for stock, or discard.
  10. Lay your turkey flat on a rack in a roasting pan, skin side up.
  11. Brush with olive oil, then season to taste. (We used three bay leaves, rubbed sage, garlic sea salt, and Italian herbs, but this is forgiving -- change it up for your own tastes!)
  12. These times are based on a 12 pound turkey. Increase the cooking time if yours is bigger, but check frequently, since it will cook faster than you're used to! Cook 20-25 minutes at 450, until browned.
  13. Reduce heat to 400 and cook another 40 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh hits 165 degrees.
  14. Remove bay leaves, carve, and serve.

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