what if spachcocked but big?
November 16, 2018 12:31 PM   Subscribe

How do you spachcock a big-ass turkey in a regular-ass oven?

I want to follow the Serious Eats technique but my turkey is going to be 20lbs and my oven wont fit a full-sheet pan. I can only really find info on cooking 12-14lb birds on a half sheet pan.

I have a normal sized (for the US) electric convection oven. I can easily fit a 20 lb turkey in a roasting pan and rack and cook it whole. Not a problem. I'll do that if I have to.

But I want to spachcock it.

The trouble is my oven cannot fit a full-sized sheet pan, nor can it fit two half sheet pans side-by side. If I butterfly a turkey it's going to be WAY bigger than a half sheet pan. Even if I made some aluminum foil extensions they would have to be so big that I would not be willing to trust them.

have you done a turkey this big this way? How did you do it?

Do they make a 1 1/2 sized sheet pan that I can get at Amazon Prime?

Not really looking for opinions on spachcocking in general, unless your name is Kenji or maybe Alton. Stuffing will be cooked outside the bird. Don't @ me.

Is it possible to butterfly a 20 lb bird and cook it? I'm not sure the oven is large enough to split the bird in half and stack two half sheet pans on two different racks.
posted by bondcliff to Food & Drink (12 answers total)
Instead of just spatchcocking cut it completely in half - roast each half in a separate pan on two shelves in your oven?
posted by leslies at 12:36 PM on November 16, 2018 [10 favorites]

Cut it in half along the backbone, and roast each half in a separate pan. If you don't have room for both in the oven, roast half at another house.

Or do half or the whole thing on a Weber BBQ! I have spatchcocked a turkey nearly this big on the Weber. The trick is to position the turkey in the middle of the grill, over a disposable drip pan, with handle openings over the coals on either side. Every hour, you open it up and add five briquettes to each side through the grill openings.
posted by ottereroticist at 12:41 PM on November 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

One side @ a time?

(sorry, couldn't help it)
posted by Dashy at 12:42 PM on November 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

How to Spatchcock a Turkey on a Weber grill.
posted by ottereroticist at 12:47 PM on November 16, 2018

I cut it into parts. Breast and back on one tray, drums and thighs on a second tray, rotate trays a few times during cooking. If you only have room for one tray, cook half the bird at a time.
posted by disconnect at 12:49 PM on November 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I like turkey, will buy one while they are on sale, freeze 1/2. Easier to cut it in half if partially frozen, so if frozen, defrost partially, then cut. It's not elegant, but it's doable. I would roast on 2 shelves, swapping several times.
posted by theora55 at 12:50 PM on November 16, 2018

Here’s a 15” x 21” sheet pan (I believe that is considered a two-thirds size. I bought one of these at Walmart), and here’s a 16” x 22” pan.
posted by theperfectcrime at 12:55 PM on November 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

ya, i cant see why you wouldnt spachcock it to get everything laid flat and nice, and then section it along the backbone (remove the backbone) and wrap the skin back under so the breast meat stays moist at the cut. then just do either half at a time or both halves rotating top and bottom like 3 or 4 times throughout cooking.
posted by chasles at 12:57 PM on November 16, 2018

As I mentioned, given the size of the bird I'm not 100% sure I'll be able to stack two halves in the oven. I'll have enough people over so doing one half at a time will cause timing issues.
posted by bondcliff at 1:00 PM on November 16, 2018

Most standard domestic American ovens can't fit a full sheet pan. These stoves come in two "standard"[1] widths: 30 inches and 27 inches. The oven interiors are, respectively, around 25 inches wide and 22 inches wide. Both are around 16 inches deep. Thus, the sheet pans linked by theperfectcrime should both work for you. If you spatchcock the turkey, it should fit on one of those pans. If it's a bit too big and you can't just tuck it in at the edges, make a line of piled-up sliced onions down the middle of sufficient height to bring your turkey spread into compliance. Note, by the way, that the breastbone of the turkey should be parallel to the short side of the sheet pan, not the other way around.

[1] If your stove is narrower than this,you should already know, as it will clearly appear to be undersized.
posted by slkinsey at 1:48 PM on November 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

When I had a small wall oven in the misty pre-internet days, I measured the oven and went to the fancy cooking supply place downtown. I asked them what was the biggest roasting pan I could usefully put in that oven, and bought that to use for both roasts and lasagne. I ended up using that thing almost weekly for the 16 years I lived there, even for cookies and once a sheet cake. Conveniently it fit a ~20 lb spatchcocked turkey without any fuss. I think the guideline they gave me was at least 4" smaller than the inner dimensions of the oven, so there would be 2" on all sides for air flow.
posted by buildmyworld at 3:11 PM on November 16, 2018

I do a modified spatchcocked turkey every year and it fits in the roasting pan. I cut out the backbone and lay the bird on the stuffing that’s sitting on a foil lined rack. I put a bunch of holes in the foil so the stuffing won’t get mushy. I cut off the legs too and lay them in sideways. The only drawback is, no drippings for gravy bc the stuffing got them all. But no worry about salmonella either as the stuffing isn’t packed tightly in the cavity. It all fits in a large roasting pan for me but I do use a smallish turkey, under 10 lbs so ymmv if using a large one.
posted by RichardHenryYarbo at 9:19 AM on November 17, 2018

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