Orange and Sage Spatchcocked Turkey

Butterflying a turkey takes a little work, but this Orange & Sage Spatchcocked Turkey is perfect for your holiday meal.

Orange & Sage Spatchcocked Turkey

We’ve got two weeks ’til Christmas and I’ve barely made a dent in my holiday shopping. I’ve done a lot online, but I think my main problem is that there’s nothing out there I really want to buy. Take the kids, for example. The boys have a ton of Legos – why do we need more? We have a PS3, but do I really want to buy them more video games and then fight with them that they can’t play on it whenever they want? We have plenty of books, a couple iPods, a cupboard full of board games. What else do the kids really need?

Like so many others, this is the final week of school before a 2-week winter break. I will scurry about, from store to store, checking off my list as I find just the right gift. I have a Christmas Eve dinner to plan out, shop for and cook for and I haven’t given it much thought.


Our annual dinner party ranges from 70 guests to 20. It is usually dependent on who is in town. I have no idea who will be in town this year, but I’m sure everything will work out.

It always does.

But until then, time is not on my side!

Orange & Sage Spatchcocked Turkey

Luckily, this roast turkey does not require the amount of cooking required as most. You typically see chicken butterflied, or spatchcocked, not a big roast turkey. But, with a big sharp knife and a little muscle, you will be pleased with the results.

This turkey was about 13lbs. It would typically take 3-3 1/2 hours to cook the traditional way, unstuffed. But, when butterflied, it cut the cooking time in half, only requiring 1 1/2 hours in the oven.

Oh yeah, pass me drumstick, please!

Seasoned with orange and fresh sage, and your guests will be drooling with you.

Orange & Sage Spatchcocked Turkey

Spatchcocking is the method to butterfly a whole chicken, or in this case, a whole turkey. This helps speed up the cooking time. Recipe by Laura Bashar of Family Spice


  • 13 lb whole turkey, completely thawed
  • 3 cup water
  • 1/2 onion, halved
  • 3 sage leaves
  • 8 TBS butter, unsalted
  • 1 large orange, grated zest only
  • 3 TBS fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 TBS all-purpose flour


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Rinse with water and pat dry with paper towels:
    • 13 lb whole turkey , completely thawed
  3. Remove gizzards and neck and reserve and place in a small saucepan.
  4. Cover with:
    • 3 cup water
    • 1/2 onion , halved
    • 3 sage leaves
  5. Simmer until reduced to 2 cups, skimming occasionally, about 1 hour.
  6. Strain turkey broth, and reserve.
  7. Place the turkey, breast side down, on a large cutting board.
  8. Using a large, sharp knife, cut along each side of the backbone.
  9. Pull the turkey open slightly to cut the backbone out completely. Reserve for stock or discard.
  10. Cut down the breast bone then turn the turkey breast side up and open it as flat as possible.
  11. Using your hands, press down firmly to break the breastbone and flatten the bird.
  12. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine:
    • 6 TBS butter, unsalted
    • 1 large orange , grated zest only
    • 3 TBS fresh sage , chopped
    • 1 tsp black pepper, ground
    • 2 tsp salt
  13. Brush melted butter mixture all over the turkey, skin side and cavity side. Also apply under the skin of the turkey breast.
  14. Place turkey in a large roasting pan, skin side up.
  15. Roast turkey for 1 hour 30 min or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh away from the bone registers 170º-175ºF. If the turkey starts to burn, loosely cover with a sheet of aluminum foil.
  16. Meanwhile, make the gravy. In a large non-stick skillet heat over medium-high heat and add:
    • 2 TBS butter, unsalted
    • 2 TBS all-purpose flour
  17. After flour is browned, whisk in reserved turkey broth & strained pan drippings.
  18. Whisk until fully incorporated and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes or until gravy has thickened.
  19. Serve turkey with gravy.

Prep Time:

Yield: Serves 8

Cook Time:

Orange & Sage Spatchcocked Turkey Detail

Now, if you can excuse me, I have to continue my online shopping journey. Not everyone wants fudge, cookies or pomegranate vodka! Have you finished your holiday shopping.

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4 Responses to Orange and Sage Spatchcocked Turkey

  1. Mary at #

    Your turkey looks fabulous and sounds delicious. This is my firstvisit to your blog, so I took some time to browse through your earlier posts. I'm so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  2. That turkey is just gorgeous! This would grace any holiday table beautifully…

  3. My goodness! Laura, this roasted turkey looks AMAZING! I've never seen turkey cut open like this. So unique and makes regular turkey dish extra special!

  4. I was considering a spatch cok method for thanksgiving this year. This makes me wish I had gone ahead with my plans. Oh well maybe next year. GREG

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