Southwestern Grilled Spatchcock Turkey - Thanksgiving on the Grill

An American Thanksgiving is incomplete without the traditional roasted turkey. But sometimes, you want to do something different. That's why we're sharing this Thanksgiving on the Grill recipe: Southwestern Grilled Spatchcock Turkey! It's not your average bird, and it sure packs a punch of flavors that will make your mouth water! You'll love how easy it is to put together, too, so don't wait any longer!

If you've never heard of spatchcocking before, it's when a turkey's backbone is removed (also known as "butterflying") to make it lie flat on the grill and cook faster. Make sure you have a decent pair of kitchen shears handy to remove the spine easily. Apply a rub of chili powder, garlic, paprika, brown sugar, salt, and pepper to the turkey underneath the skin for a Southwestern kick. Set up your grill for indirect heat, and grill the turkey until golden and slightly blackened.

With mesquite, savory goodness, this turkey is sure to be a hit for your holiday dinner. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from the Summerset Grills team!

Serves 10-12

Southwestern Grilled Spatchcock Turkey Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 (12 to 13 pound) turkey

Southwestern Grilled Spatchcock Turkey Directions

  1. Combine chili powder, paprika, sugar, salt, garlic powder, and pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Trim any excess fat from the turkey. Using heavy-duty kitchen shears or poultry shears, cut the turkey down one side of the backbone, through the ribs. Make an identical cut on the opposite side to remove the backbone altogether; discard or reserve for turkey broth. Place the turkey, cut-side down, on a cutting board and flatten with the heel of your hand (you'll have to press hard!). Splay the thighs outward and tuck the wings under. Loosen the skin over the breasts and thighs; rub the spice mixture under the skin.
  3. For gas grills, see the Tip below. Light a chimney starter full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit, pour the coals to one side of the grill and let it burn down to medium heat (about 400 degrees F). Wearing an oven mitt, carefully place a foil or foil-lined drip pan under the grill rack on the unheated side (see Tip). Place the turkey, breast-side up, on the rack over the pan.
  4. Continue cooking, rotating the bird, so the side furthest from the heat is now closest to the heat (not flipping), and adding more coals halfway through until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast and thigh registers 165 degrees F, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove from the grill and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Grill Tip: The recipe uses the indirect method for grilling, which means that the heat source is on one side of the grill, and the food is cooked over the unheated side of the grill. A traditional charcoal kettle grill has enough room to place a spatchcocked turkey over the unheated side. Depending on the placement of the heating elements, some gas grills may not allow you enough space to place a turkey over the unheated area. However, if your gas grill has two heating elements on either side, you may cook the turkey on a gas grill using the indirect method.

Taken from