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Roasted Pollo Asado-Style Spatchcock Turkey

Servings: 10 to 12

Typically shredded for tacos, pollo asado usually refers to chicken, brightly flavored with fresh citrus juice, dried Mexican oregano, and achiote paste—a dense combination of ground annatto seeds, cumin, coriander, and cloves. Even with a short marinating time, turkey takes on these same flavors beautifully. See a step-by-step of how to spatchcock the turkey, which helps it roast more quickly and evenly.


For the turkey

  • 1 11- to 12-lb. turkey, gizzards, neck, and organs removed and saved for another use

For the marinade

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, with any pulp
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice, with any pulp
  • 2 Tbs. achiote paste
  • 5 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. white vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 6 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 231
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 63
  • Fat (g): 7
  • Saturated Fat (g): 2
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Cholesterol (mg): 133
  • Sodium (mg): 416
  • Carbohydrates (g): 0
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Sugar (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 42


Spatchcock the turkey

  • Arrange the turkey on a cutting board, breast-side down. Using kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbone, from tail to neck, removing the backbone completely. Pull the turkey open, and remove and discard any excess fat. Turn the turkey breast-side up. Place the palm of your hand on one side of the breast and push down firmly to break the breastbone. Repeat on the opposite side. Loosen the skin over the breast, thighs, and legs.

Marinate the turkey

  • In a blender, add lime juice, orange juice, achiote paste, salt, vinegar, oregano, cumin, and garlic, and purée until smooth. With the motor running, add oil in a steady stream until well combined. Set aside.
  • Arrange the turkey, breast-side up, on a large rimmed baking sheet, stretching out the thighs and wings so the turkey lies flat. Spoon about one-third of the marinade under the skin, massaging to distribute evenly. Pour the remaining marinade over the top, and rub to coat the turkey completely. Marinate in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 1 hour.

Roast the turkey

  • Place an oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the turkey, breast-side up, on a large, parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet, ensuring the turkey is flat and the wingtips are tucked. Roast for 45 minutes, baste with the pan juices, and tent with foil if the skin begins to get too dark.
  • Rotate the pan, and continue to roast, basting every 30 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast (away from the bone) registers 165°F, about 1-1/2 hours.
  • Let the turkey stand for 20 minutes, then carve, and drizzle with the pan drippings.


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