Recipe: Spatchcocked Turkey with Sage Chimichurri

Brine the turkey the night before for a super-moist turkey, prime for barbecuing.  This recipe is part of our Barbecue Christmas Menu.

Recipe: Anthony Hoy Fong  Photos: Liz Clarkson  Styling: Catherine Milford

Serves: 6
Preparation time: 2 hours, plus brining


Spatchcocked Turkey
¼ cup sea salt
12 whole black peppercorns
1 Tbsp dried rubbed sage
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp fresh rosemary needles
4-5kg whole turkey
¼ cup melted butter

Sage Chimichurri
¼ cup sage leaves
½ cup parsley leaves
½ cup coriander leaves
2 Tbsp oregano leaves
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup white vinegar
¼ cup lemon juice
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ tsp red chilli flakes
1 tsp sea salt


Combine the dry brine ingredients – salt, peppercorns, sage, thyme and rosemary – in a mixing bowl and set aside.

Rinse turkey under cold running water, remove and discard any giblets or neck. Place turkey on a cutting board breast side down and using clean kitchen shears cut down the backbone on both sides to completely remove backbone. Flip turkey over and flatten on the board with both hands, splitting top of breast bone so it lies flat.

Place turkey in a large roasting pan and sprinkle half the dry brine on each side, using your hands to rub it in evenly and deeply into crevasses and bones. Lay the turkey bone-side down, cover loosely with cling film and refrigerate overnight.

About an hour before cooking, bring turkey to room temperature. Heat barbecue and light only the side burners to medium so you have two temperature zones– a higher heat to sear and a lower heat to cook the meat slowly through the middle (this also prevents flare-ups from dripping fat).

Turkey cooking on indirect heat.

Place turkey skin side down to sear. Angle it so the thigh and leg side are over the lit burners – this will help them cook faster and at the same pace as the breast. When the meat has developed sear marks, move it to the centre of the barbecue for indirect heat, close the lid and cook for 80-90 minutes. Try not to open the lid too often as you will slow down the cooking process. About halfway through, the skin will start to crisp – at this point, baste the top of the turkey with the melted butter.

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The turkey is ready when an instant-read thermometer inserted between the leg and thigh joint registers 72-73°C. When cooked, remove turkey from the barbecue and rest on a platter, loosely tented with foil, for 15-20 minutes.

To make the chimichurri, combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse for 2-3 minutes until well combined and smooth.

To serve, separate the breasts from the turkey, slice across the grain into 5mm-thick slices and fan out on a large serving platter. Separate the wings and drumsticks and pull the thigh meat into large pieces. Drizzle with the sage chimichurri.

christmas turkey in the barbecue


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