This really is the best way to cook a turkey

This really is the best way to cook a turkey

Our turkey recipe veers from tradition in several ways. First, we remove the backbone, and open the turkey so that it lies flat. If you’re feeling ambitious you can do this yourself, but do yourself a favor and get the butcher to do it instead. The flat shape has several advantages: the bird will cook faster and more evenly, it’s easier to carve, and because all the skin is on top, the meat is juicier and there’s more crisp skin in every bite.

But before grilling, treat the bird to a salt cure. This dries the skin, which helps it crisp, keeps the meat moist, and seasons the bird more deeply.
 
 

Ingredients
12 to 16 pound organic turkey, giblets and neckbone removed
Kosher salt

Tools
Roasting rack at least 15-3/4 x 12 x 3 inches, sheet pan, foil
 
1 Spatchcock the turkey
Using sharp kitchen shears, cut out the backbone from the turkey. Set the turkey on a sheet pan breast-side up and press down on the breastbone to flatten. Or have your butcher spatchcock the turkey for you.
 
2 Season the turkey
  • In a small bowl, measure out 1 teaspoon kosher salt for every pound of turkey.


Put the turkey skin-side up on rack on a sheet pan. Using your hands, gently separate the skin from the breast and leg meat, careful not to tear the skin. Using 1 teaspoon kosher salt for each pound of meat, season the turkey front and back with the salt, including under the skin. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 48 hours.

3 Cook the turkey
Heat a gas or charcoal fire to medium-low and clean and oil the grill rack. Set the turkey on the grill rack skin-side down, directly over the heat, cover the grill, and cook, until the breast is beginning to color, 20 to 30 minutes. Turn and continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the breast registers 150°F and the thighs register at least 165°F, 60 to 90 minutes.

4 Serve the turkey
Use two large spatulas to transfer the turkey from the grill to a clean sheet pan. Cover loosely with foil and let rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before carving. Taste any juices that accumulate and if they’re not too salty, whisk them into your gravy.