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I've been marinating my turkey in garlic and bourbon for nearly 12 years! My roommate and I, decided to hold a Thanksgiving party for all those that couldn't go home in time; or get the night off because of work. I was a bartender, turned cocktail server and she was a bartender; naturally most of our friends were in the same boat.

At the time, I saw the recipe for the turkey marinade on TV. I thought it was cool, to marinate the turkey in bourbon being that we all worked around alcohol. It was a hit and it stuck with me! That big bottle of Crown wasn't just for Crown & Cokes, people!

Brian and I, have tried every method for cooking turkey for Thanksgiving. Deep frying turkey is a mess, roasting a whole bird takes forever and cooking in an oven bag doesn't give you that crispy skin; which leaves me too butterflying a whole bird. Also known as spatchcock, where you remove the backbone and flatten it out to either roast or grill. We cooked it this way a few years ago, and knew this was it. This is how we would do our turkey every year.

Honestly, I only became aware of the term, spatchcock, a few months ago. I've always called my recipe "butterflied, roasted" and I struggled with changing it to "spatchcocked." It seemed like it was trendier to say spatchcocked.

The other night at Fakesgiving dinner, when I mentioned at the table that the other term is "spatchcocked" someone said, "Cocked, what? I think I might like the sounds of that!" Bahahaha...you know who you are. Call it butterflied or spatchcocked, this is the way to go! All it takes is 90 minutes or less in the oven!

Can I Get a What What...bounce wit me, bounce wit me...


Roasting method Adapted from Alton Brown

Serves 8 to 10


  • 1 (12 to 14 pound) whole turkey, giblets and neck removed (neck reserved for gravy)

  • Dashes of House seasoning (1 cup salt, 1/4 cup black pepper, 1/4 cup garlic powder)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 1/2 cup bourbon

  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard

  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

  • 7 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 1 turkey size oven bag for marinating


<butterflying a turkey>

  • Place the turkey, breast side down, tail towards you.

  • Start cutting at one side of the tail with a pair of kitchen shears, cut all the way through the neck end.

  • Repeat on the other side of the tail.

  • Remove the backbone.

  • Turn the turkey over, lay it out flat.

  • Press down on the breast with the heel of your hand to flatten it.

  • Get it; crack those ribs!

  • Set aside.

<marinating the turkey, the night before>

  • Season the turkey with house seasoning all over.

  • Combine olive oil, butter, bourbon, mustard, brown sugar and garlic in a bowl.

  • Place turkey in oven bag, pour and rub marinade on both sides of the turkey.

  • Seal with twist tie, place bag on a half sheet pan and store in the fridge.

<preparing for the roast>

  • Remove the turkey from the fridge, 30 minutes before roasting.

  • Set one rack in the middle of the oven.

  • Set a second rack at the bottom of the oven; place a roasting pan on it.

  • Ensure that the roasting pan will fit, now remove the middle rack and set aside on the kitchen counter.

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

<roasting the turkey>

  • Place the turkey directly on the rack; legs toward you, breast side up.

  • Return the rack to the middle of the oven.

  • Roast for 30 minutes.

  • Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

  • Continue to roast for 45 to 55 minutes, and/or the thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast, reads 155 degrees.

  • Remove the turkey from oven, and let rest for 30 minutes.



  • Butterflying a turkey is no joke, it will require some serious kitchen shears and arm strength.

  • Marinate the turkey for at least 8 to 12 hours, or as many as 24 hours.

  • The reason for the half sheet pan while in the fridge, in case you've poked a hole in the bag, then it won't drip everywhere.

  • You'll thank me later, for removing the middle rack after it's been fitted with the second rack and roasting pan. The first couple times we did this, where we preheated the oven then took out the middle rack for the turkey to rest on, one of us got burned.

  • When butterflying a turkey, stick to a bird between 12 to 14 pounds; anything larger will dry out the turkey. If you need more bird, then roast two turkeys or make another main dish.

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