Slideshow: How to Cook a Spatchcocked Turkey: The Fastest, Easiest Thanksgiving Turkey

Crisp-Skinned  Golden Brown Turkey
Crisp-Skinned Golden Brown Turkey
It doesn't look like your traditional thanksgiving centerpiece, but it's striking in its own way—namely ultra-crisp skin and perfectly juicy meat.
You'll Need...
You'll Need...
To begin with, you'll need a turkey and some poultry shears. Plan on about a pound of carcass-weight raw turkey per guest. For particularly large groups, it's better to use two small birds (they can be roasted in the same oven on staggered racks using this technique!) than one large bird.
Snip snip
Snip snip
Pat the turkey dry with paper towels, then place it breast-side-down on the cutting board. Holding it firmly with one hand, make a cut along one side of the backbone, starting down near where the thighs meat the tail.
Repeat
Repeat
Make an identical cut along the other side of the backbone. This cut is a little trickier, so make sure not to get your fingers in the way of the blade. Using a clean dish towel or rag to hold on to the bird will make it easier to keep control.
Trim excess fat
Trim excess fat
There may or may not be a large excess hood of fat up near the neck. If it's there, remove it. If you wish to make carving even easier, the wish bone can also be removed by making a thin incision with the tip of a paring knife or boning knife along both sides of it, and pulling it out with your fingers.
Press Down, HARD
Press Down, HARD
Turn the turkey over onto what once was its back, splaying its legs out in a manner that can only be described as inappropriate. Press down hard on the ridge of the breast bone. You should hear a couple of cracks, and the turkey should now rest flatter. Flatter is better for even cooking and crisper skin.
Ready to Roast
Ready to Roast

Preheat the oven to 450°F, then line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil and cover it with a mix of roughly chopped onions, carrots, and celery, along with some thyme stems. These vegetables will not only add flavor to the drippings (which will then make it back into the gravy), but will also slowly release moisture to ensure that the pan drippings don't scorch and set off your fire alarm.

For precise measurements and timings, see the recipe here.

Meanwhile...
Meanwhile...

Use the extra back bone pieces, giblets, and neck to enhance some store-bought or homemade chicken broth, along with a few more vegetables and aromatics. I brown the bones in a little bit of oil before adding the stock to give it a nice roasted flavor.

After simmering for about 45 minutes while the turkey rosts, the broth will be deeply flavorful and intense. Cook a quarter cup of flour with a few tablespoons of butter until golden blond, then slowly whisk in the strained stock to make a great gravy.

For precise measurements and timings, see the recipe here.

Get Ready To Carve!
Get Ready To Carve!

If all went well (and there's no reason it shouldn't), your turkey will be perfectly golden brown and crisp, its thighs coming to 165°F just as the breasts hit 150°F in 80 to 90 minutes. Once cooked, remove it from the oven, take the rack out of the baking sheet, add the pan drippings to your gravy, and let the turkey rest for about 20 minutes before starting to carve.

To begin carving, start by cutting off the first leg by slicing through the joint where the thigh meets the body.

For precise measurements and timings, see the recipe here.

No Fliying For You!
No Fliying For You!
Remove the wings by locating the ball joint near the top of the breast and working the knife through it.
Split Wings
Split Wings
The wings can be left whole or further separated into drumettes and flats by cutting through the first joint.
Remove the Breasts
Remove the Breasts
Hold the breast firmly in place with one hand (a clean kitchen towel can help if you have a slippery grip or fingers sensitive to heat), then slice down one side of the breast, using the tip of the knife to follow the contour of the bone.
Almost there...
Almost there...
As you continue to slice, the breast should fall away in one complete piece. Make sure you take the tenderloin along with it.
Repeat
Repeat
Repeat for the other side. You now have two breast halves, two drumsticks, two thighs, four wing pieces, and one carcass from which to pick meat for leftovers soup.
Slice
Slice
To continue cutting into serving pieces, slice each breast into even slices on a bias. Transfer to a warm serving platter.
Popped Hip
Popped Hip
Pry away the hip and save it along with the carcass for soup.
Get The Thigh Meat
Get The Thigh Meat
Cut along one side of the thigh bone with the tip of your knife, removing as much meat as possible along that side.
And The Rest
And The Rest
Repeat on the other side of the bone. Save the bone along with the rest of the bones for soup.
Ready to Serve
Ready to Serve

Who needs a large bird centerpiece when you've got a platter-ful of perfectly cooked meat and crisp skin to pass around? I promise you: your guests will not miss it.

For precise measurements and timings, see the recipe here.