How Long To Cook A 20 Lb Spatchcock Turkey

How Long To Cook A 20 Lb Spatchcock Turkey

A spatchcock turkey is a delicious and efficient way to cook a large turkey. The process involves removing the backbone and flattening the bird before roasting, resulting in even cooking, crispy skin, and juicy meat. If you’re wondering how long to cook a 20 lb spatchcock turkey, read on to find out more about this cooking method and get a classic herb spatchcock turkey recipe.

What is Spatchcocking?

Spatchcocking is the process of removing the backbone of a whole turkey, chicken, or other poultry for roasting, and pressing the bird to lay flat in the pan. This method ensures even cooking and faster cooking time, resulting in juicy turkey meat and crispy skin.

How to Spatchcock a Turkey

To spatchcock a turkey, you’ll need to use kitchen shears to cut alongside the backbone, starting where the tail meets the thigh. Once the backbone is removed, the turkey is flattened by pressing down on the breast bone. The turkey is then seasoned and roasted in the oven.

How Long to Cook a Spatchcock Turkey

The cooking time for a spatchcock turkey depends on its weight. Here’s a general guideline for cooking times:

  • 11-12 lb turkey: about 75 mins
  • 12-14 lb turkey: about 1 hour 25 mins
  • 14-16 lb turkey: about 1 hour 35 mins
  • 16-18 lb turkey: about 1 hour 50 mins
  • 18-20 lb turkey: about 2 hours

It’s important to use a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey reaches the correct internal temperature. The breast meat should reach 150ºF and the thigh meat should reach 165ºF.

Should You Brine Your Spatchcock Turkey?

Spatchcock turkey is naturally juicy and delicious, so brining is not necessary. However, if you prefer to brine your turkey, you can still do so before spatchcocking it. Just ensure that the surface of the bird is dry before spatchcocking.

Reasons to Make a Spatchcock Turkey

There are several benefits to making a spatchcock turkey, including:

  • Using the backbone to make gravy and stock immediately
  • Even and quick cooking, with a 20 lb turkey taking about 2 hours
  • Crispy skin and juicy meat
  • Exposure of all turkey skin to heat for optimal crispiness

Variations on Classic Roasted Turkey

You can customize your spatchcock turkey by adding seasonal veggies, changing the butter, or incorporating citrus flavors. This method allows for creativity while ensuring a delicious and efficiently cooked turkey.

How to Carve a Spatchcock Turkey

Carving a spatchcock turkey is easier than it looks. By separating the thighs, drumsticks, and wings from the turkey, deboning the thigh meat, and slicing the breast, you can create a beautifully arranged platter of turkey meat.

Classic Herb Spatchcock Turkey Recipe

For a classic herb spatchcock turkey, you’ll need a medium-sized turkey, onion, orange, lemon, celery, fresh rosemary, oil, salt, pepper, and a rosemary citrus butter. The turkey is seasoned, roasted, and then carved for serving.


1. Can I spatchcock a 20 lb turkey?

While it’s possible to spatchcock a 20 lb turkey, it’s important to ensure that your oven and roasting pan can accommodate the size of the bird. Consider the practicality of handling and roasting a turkey of this weight.

2. Do I need special equipment to spatchcock a turkey?

Using kitchen shears is essential for spatchcocking a turkey. It’s also helpful to have a large roasting pan with a wire rack to roast the turkey evenly.

3. Can I brine a spatchcock turkey?

While spatchcock turkey is naturally juicy, you can still brine it before spatchcocking if you prefer. Just ensure the surface of the bird is dry before proceeding with the spatchcocking process.

4. How do I know when a spatchcock turkey is done?

Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the turkey. The breast meat should reach 150ºF and the thigh meat should reach 165ºF to ensure it’s fully cooked.

5. What are the benefits of spatchcocking a turkey?

Spatchcocking a turkey results in even cooking, faster cooking time, crispy skin, and juicy meat. It also allows for the use of the backbone for gravy and stock immediately.

6. Can I customize the seasonings for a spatchcock turkey?

Yes, you can customize the seasonings for a spatchcock turkey by adding different herbs, spices, or citrus flavors to suit your taste preferences.

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