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Spatchcock Turkey Question

Planning to spatchcock a 20 lb bird for Thanksgiving for the first time.  How tough will it be to cutout the backbone?  Will a pair of Wusthof shears be able to get through it or do I need something more heavy duty?

Also any suggestions on cook time per lb of I do indirect and like 300 degrees?

Comments

  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 27,114
    I use a hatchet to spatch a turkey.  Don't know the size of your BGE but to ensure it will fit, run a piece of string around the thickest part of the bird, measure and subtract a couple of inches for removal of the back bone.  

    Here's a thread that may give you some insights regarding cook times:
    The theory to the actual turkey cook-time  FWIW-
    Louisville; "indeterminate Jim" here.  Rolling smoke in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer!
  • dmouratidmourati Posts: 1,135
    I have spatchcocked a few turkeys with ordinary kitchen shears but prefer these:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000PGG7ZQ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Have you tried your shears on a chicken? A turkey is about twice as hard to spatchcock.
    Mountain View, CA
  • Have never done a 20-pounder, but basic kitchen shears have worked on my spatchcocked turkeys (up to 15-16 pounds, but usually in 12-14 range). You didn't mention the size of your BGE, but I hope it's an XL. It may fit in a large, but that would be tight.
    Stillwater, MN
  • lousubcap said:
    I use a hatchet to spatch a turkey.  
    Do you not own a chainsaw, Frank?
    If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.

    "I've made a note never to piss you two off." - Stike


  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 14,831
    Never spatched a turkey, but prefer a good serrated bread knife for spatching chickens.

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

  • MasterCMasterC Posts: 923
    Sit it up and two,  three for the timid, chops 

    Fort Wayne Indiana 
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 27,114
    lousubcap said:
    I use a hatchet to spatch a turkey.  
    Do you not own a chainsaw, Frank?
    Actually I do but I find I get better control and less flying pieces/parts with the good 'ol hatchet.  (Parts of turkeys can fly!) =)
    Louisville; "indeterminate Jim" here.  Rolling smoke in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer!
  • EggNorthEggNorth Posts: 1,509
    I usually only cook a 12 lbs or so.  I cut both sides of the backbone, flip and then press down.  Kitchen shears does the job.

    Backbone, neck, and other parts plus some vegetables are boiled to make turkey broth for the gravy. 
    Dave
    Cambridge, Ontario - Canada
    Large (2010), Mini Max (2015), Large garden pot (2018)
  • I have an XL so not too worried about size.  I've done many chickens but wasn't sure about how much tougher a turkey is.  I've read a number of places that say have a butcher do it so I wasn't sure.
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 19,647

    Spatchcocked Turkey and Chicken on the Big Green Egg

    (you cut out the backbone and cook opened)

    I like a 11/12 lb bird. If I need lots of turkey I just cook a couple ( 1 & 1/2  hr cook app)

    Chicken 3 to 4.5lb bird or birds. Under an hour cook. 

    Or, just add a package of legs extra. 

    I do not brine the turkey or Chicken. 

    If time I like to leave uncovered in the fridge overnight (no problem if no time) 

    I cook "direct" @ 400 on a raised grill "skin side up" and never turn over.

    I will use a coffee rub. Use what you like.

    NOTE PLEASE (A LOT OF SMOKE IS NOT YOU FRIEND)

    I use about a single handfull of mixed chips: Cherry & Pecan. 

    Cook to temp (not time) breast @ 165 and thigh @ 175


     

    Coffee Rub (turkey, chicken, beef & pork)

    Equal part: Instant Expresso Ground coffee..

    Equal part: Brown Sugar..

    ½ part: Black Pepper..

    ½ part: Kosher Salt..

    ½ part: Garlic Powder..

    ¾ part: Ancho Chili Powder..

      Don't worry on exact, just close on measurement. I used to use turbinado sugar but we like with brown better. This is pulled from MollyShark, Hungry Man, & Richard In Fl then tweaked. I find the ancho chili powder is far less expensive in the bulk spice area than the bottled area ( have used both light or dark version). I make it starting with a half cup Instant Expresso Ground coffee and work from there as it seems to store well if sealed.

    Salado TX & 30A  FL: Egg Family: 3 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max when they came out (I'm good for now). Plus a couple Pit Boss Pellet Smokers.   

  • abpgwolfabpgwolf Posts: 540
    I use a pair of tin snips (cheapo Harbor Freight type) that I set aside just for use with food. I run them thru the dishwasher after each use. Makes quick work of a turkey. 

    Lititz, PA – XL BGE

  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 14,831
    abpgwolf said:
    I use a pair of tin snips (cheapo Harbor Freight type) that I set aside just for use with food. I run them thru the dishwasher after each use. Makes quick work of a turkey. 
    Good idea! And cheap too. HF has 'em for $7-8.

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,685
    edited November 2021
    It's really not too bad with a pair of sharp shears. The one tricky spot is where the thigh attaches to the backbone. With some wiggling you can get to the cartilage and cut through it. Takes a little patience, and you may have to cut down the backbone from each end (both sides of the joint). Spatch is the way to go! Happy cookin'. Chris
    DizzyPigBBQ.com
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
    Instagram: @DizzyPigBBQ
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