thanksgiving turkey (spatchcock style), stock and gravy

thanksgiving turkey (spatchcock style), stock and gravy

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Inspired by, Col Grandpa after years of doing it.

Serves: 10+
Prep Time: 1 hour Brine time: 24 hrs Cook time: 2+hrs
Skill Level: Medium, with lot’s of steps
Cooking Method: Grill with indirect heat and stove top.


1 Fresh whole turkey (18+ lbs), butterflied according to instructions. (Save backbone, neck, and giblets for turkey stock)

See my poultry brine recipe for the best way to brine.

Turkey Stock:

  • 3 large onions, roughy chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • Fresh herbs sage, thyme, rosemary
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Back bone, neck and giblets from turkey 1 gal + water

Turkey Prep:

  • 3 large onions, roughy chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 apples, cut into wedges
  • Fresh herbs like sage, thyme, rosemary and what every sounds good
  • 2+ tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 table spoon flour
  • 2 quarts homemade turkey stock


Cut and Brining

Step 1 - Turn the turkey over, breast-side down. Using a pair of sharp heavy- duty kitchen shears, cut along one side of the backbone. Repeat on the other side of the backbone. Reserve the backbone for making turkey stock for gravy. Press firmly down onto both sides of turkey to flatten.

Step 2 - Line a 5 gallon bucket with a heavy duty barrage bag and place the turkey in the bucket.

Step 3 - Pour the brine solution in the over the turkey and add water and ice to cover. Tie the bag and put a lid on the bucket and refrigerate overnight.


The Turkey Stock

Step 1 - In a large pot add onions, celery, carrots, herbs, backbone, neck, giblets and salt & pepper.

Step 2 - Fill pot with cold water and let it simmer uncovered all day. This will make your home smell like Thanksgiving. So good!

Step 3 - Add water to the pot as needed. This will be the stock for the gravy and turkey soup if you desire to make a batch.

Step 4 - After the turkey has cooked, and is resting, strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a a large bowl.

Step 5 - Set aside for gravy and save remainder for soup.


It’s Time to Cook

Step 1 - Determine when you want to gather the family and eat. A 20lb turkey will take about 2 1/2 hours to cook at 325 degrees F., plus you will need it to rest for 30 minutes lightly tented with foil.

Step 2 - Fire up the grill for indirect heat at 325 degrees F. (I use a pellet grill, but ceramic cooker with charcoal and a plate setter works just as well).

Step 3 - Scatter onions, carrots , celery, apples and herbs across a foil lined broiler rack.

Step 4 - Transfer the turkey from the brine bucket, to an area where you can pat it dry with paper towels and then rub the under side of the bird with surface with oil, and your favorite rub, salt and pepper.

Step 5 - Transfer the turkey to the foil lined pan with all the veggies and herbs. Lay the bird flat on top of the veggies and tie the legs together making sure it does not overlap the edges, pressing down on the breast bone to flatten the breast slightly.

Step 6 - Repeat the rub, oil and melted butter and place the turkey on the grill, basting every 45 minutes. Remove when internal temp is 160 degrees F. Rest the turkey for 30 minutes with a foil tent.


The Gravy

In the mean time let’s make the gravy.

Step 1 - melt butter over medium-high heat in a large sauce or roasting pan.

Step 2 - Add flour and cook, stirring constantly until flour is golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Step 3 - Whisking constantly, add the turkey stock in a thin, stand stream until it is all incorporated. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer add salt and pepper to taste and cook until it thickens.

grandpa’s thoughts:

This has taken many years too perfect, and we continue to tweak the process as our family dynamics change.

Regarding brining, I know there's a debate whether it's important to brine or not to brine. I say, if you have the time brine.

This method will usually result in a fairly crisp skin, however that’s not my focus. It’s the flavor the skin that's the priority. My goal is to have the turkey cooked evenly all at the same time so the meat has great flavor, and there are great drippings for gravy.

Once you cook spatchcock style, I will be willing to bet you won’t go back to traditional.


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