Crispy Skinned Roast Turkey (or Chicken)

Photograph of spatchcocked turkey, showing crisp crust.

Dry brining produces a crispy skin, while spatchcocking allows the meat to cook quickly and evenly.

Spatchcocking (road-kill style) allows the meat to cook much more quickly than traditional methods, while exposing all the skin to allow it to brown. It also allows the white and dark meat to heat to different temperatures, allowing the dark meat to be sufficiently cooked without drying out and over-cooking the white meat.

Some people butterfly it by splitting along the breastbone rather than the spine, but that overexposes the white meat and causes it to become over-cooked.

Prepare

  1. Defrost the Turkey in the refrigerator for several days.

Two nights before serving (or next morning)

  1. Remove neck, giblets, etc.
  2. Thoroughly dry the skin with paper towels.
  3. Rub skin with a mixture of:
    • 4 Tablespoons Coarse Salt.
    • 4 teaspoons Baking Powder.
  4. Place on a rack on a baking sheet, and refrigerate.

Day of serving

  1. Remove spine (poultry shears work well).
  2. Open up and flatten turkey.
  3. Rub skin with Olive Oil and Black Pepper.
  4. Put sliced onions and carrots on a large rimmed baking sheet (They'll likely burn, but they'll absorb dripping fat and help prevent smoking.)
  5. Place turkey on rack on baking sheet.
  6. Tuck wings behind back so they don't overcook and burn (or cover with foil).
  7. Bake at 450°F.
  8. Use thermometer probe in breast.
  9. Remove from oven when coldest part of thigh is 165°F, after about 75–90 minutes.
  10. Let turkey rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

Notes