Lemon Herb Butter Spatchcock Turkey

December 26, 2013

Turkey doesn’t have to be reserved solely for Thanksgiving, especially when it’s a lemon herb butter spatchcocked (butterflied with the backbone removed so the turkey lays flat on the grill) turkey from Robyn Medlin Lindars from GrillGrrrl.com

Spatchcock Turkey

Lemon Herb Butter Spatchcock Turkey

I’ve done beer can turkey on the Big Green Egg for the past two years so I was looking to do something different for the holidays this year. When I saw the spatchcocked turkey on my friend’s Chris’ blog NibbleMeThis, I felt inspired to do this method for this year’s holiday feast.

What does Spatchcocking mean exactly? Spatchcocking refers to butterflying a bird (or any kind of poultry), removing the backbone and then cooking it butterflied so that it is spread out on the cooking surface. What is great about spatchcocking is by butterflying the bird, it cooks much faster than roasting as the bird is spread out on the heat surface.

I’ve spatchcocked chicken and Cornish game hens before and it is one of my favorite grilling techniques and it is now is my go-to way to cook turkey.


  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 large bunch rosemary, tarragon and thyme- leaves removed off the stems
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • sea salt, large pinch, large pinch
  • fresh ground pepper, large pinch
  • 1 turkey, spatchcocked with back bone removed (save yourself the trouble and have your butcher do this!)


If brining, brine overnight and then pat dry.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the butter, herbs, salt, pepper, and lemon juice with a stick blender.

Next, lay the turkey out on a big cutting board or plate and spread it out. Slide your fingers under the skin and separate it from the meat to placement of butter. Slather butter underneath the breast, legs, etc. — anywhere you can get butter underneath the skin- this is what is going to keep it moist (this is the worst part of the process but the results are worth it!).

Next, heat your grill to 350 degrees. Lightly oil the grill grates and when nice and heated up, grill the turkey on each side for 8-10 minutes or until nice char marks have begun to form. Remove the turkey now and place on a grill safe pan so you can collect juices from the turkey to make gravy with.

Now, place the turkey back onto the cooker and let cook until an internal read thermometer such as the ThermaPen or ChefAlarm, reads 170 degrees. Depending on the size of the turkey, this could take between 2 and 3+ hours. I had a smaller turkey that was approximately 10 lbs and it took 2.5 hours.

Note, I used the Pit Barrel Cooker to cook this turkey. The Pit Barrel Cooker is a drum smoker and grill and when grilling on direct heat, you are still fairly far away from the flames. However, with a kettle style grill I would recommend creating a direct and indirect cooking zone for this cook. (cooking direct over coals vs. cooking more like an oven, on the side without coals/direct heat source to simulate roasting or cooking in the oven.) So, for example, on a kettle grill I would grill the turkey first on direct for the char marks, and then let it continue to cook on indirect for the remainder of the cook.

Grilled spatchcock turkey

Grilled Spatchcock Turkey

The best part of this recipe is that it cuts down the cook time and it also frees up valuable oven space for some of those side dishes since you are using your grill, NOT your oven!

Related Topics: Christmas | Grilled Lemon Herb Turkey | Grilled Turkey | Grilled Turkey Recipe | Grilled Turkey Recipes | Grillgrrrl | Holiday Recipe | Lemon Herb Spatchcock Turkey | Robyn Medlin Lindars | Spatchcock Turkey | Turkey Recipe

User Guidelines