It may be hard to believe, but you can roast a 12-pound Thanksgiving turkey in a little more than an hour, one that will emerge from the oven with juicy, evenly cooked meat and delectable crisp, golden-brown skin.
The secret is an incredibly simple method: spatchcocking, or flattening the bird by removing the backbone. Another term for it is butterflying. All it takes is a pair of poultry shears and a bit of muscle. (If you don't want to give it a try, most butchers will do it for you with advance notice.)
Quickness isn't the only advantage. A spatchcocked turkey lies flat on a baking sheet, which facilitates uniform cooking. The dark meat will be done before the white meat has the chance to dry out. Spatchcocking works for turkeys headed for the grill, too.
In the oven, a split turkey takes up less space than an intact one, so you'll have plenty of room for side dishes. And with the backbone out of the way, carving will be a breeze.