Tools Needed to Spatchcock Your Turkey

By grace.g.yang · November 24, 2009
Under: My Life,NYC Thanksgiving

I’ve been reading a lot of great feedback about my spatchcock, brine, and herb butter turkey post and have also been getting a LOT of questions – the most frequently asked question was what kind of materials should I purchase to spatchcock the turkey? If you’re headed to the grocery store to buy other ingredients for your turkey tonight, add these to your shopping list (if you don’t own them already).
1. To spatchcock your turkey, you will need sharp kitchen scissors or poultry shears. If I had the money to purchase poultry shears, I’d go with Henckels ($29.99 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond):


Be sure to thoroughly clean the poultry shears or scissors after cutting up the turkey – you’ve been dealing with a lot of bacteria! My cheap alternative: very sharp kitchen scissors and strong forearms!

2. To brine your turkey, you’ll need a durable brining bag ($4.99 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond):


I purchased a brining bag last year but thought they were super expensive for a one time use. The benefit of having a brining bag is that it closes (it’s essentially a large Ziploc bag), the downside: it’ll cost you $5 and you’ll have to throw it out after. My Cheap Alternative: clean grocery bags and a roasting pan/pot to support the turkey.

3. To keep track of your turkey’s cooking temperature, you’ll need a reliable meat thermometer ($19.99 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond):


I bought this Oneida digital thermometer last year and it’s been very reliable – you poke the stick in the turkey thigh and can set the thermometer to beep when it reaches a certain temperature (I was looking for 165). No cheap alternative – I recommend investing in a good thermometer because you don’t want your guests getting sick from undercooked meat!

4. To roast your spatchcocked turkey, you can use either a roasting pan or a large cookie sheet:


I used the roaster ($19.99 at BBB) to hold the turkey while it was brining, but you could use the roaster for the turkey if you’d like to place some vegetables under the turkey while it’s roasting. Last year, when my turkey wasn’t spatchcocked, I used the roaster for actually baking the turkey, this year, it was too small to fit my 16 pounder.


I used the largest cookie sheet from the Wilton three cookie sheet set for my turkey this year (I purchased at BBB a while back and have used the cookie sheets MANY times). The downside of the cookie sheet is that it’s not large enough to place vegetables underneath the turkey, but, at least you can keep the drippings (place some aluminum foil between the turkey and the cookie sheet).

Any other questions about spatchcocking your turkey? If you need help on Thursday, you can e-mail me ( or send me a message on twitter (gracenotesnyc) – I’ll be around all day and will be able to walk you through spatchcocking if you need the help!

Reader Comments

Grace, I found your brining and herb butter instructions by chance and I’m so glad I did. This was the first time I cooked for Thanksgiving and was worried about the outcome. But your instructions were so clear and easy to follow. The result was delicious. I still can’t believe how tender and flavorful my turkey was especially the breast meat, which I usually don’t enjoy. I’m a briner for life now. 🙂

My boyfriend can now boast about my turkey instead of his cousin’s; mission accomplished! 😉

Thanks for the terrific instruction.

Lansdowne, PA

Written By Felicia on December 1st, 2009 @ 8:05 am

I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I absolutely
enjoyed every little bit of it. I’ve got you book-marked to check
out new things you post…

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