The City Magazine Since 1975

Rodney Scott’s BBQ Spatchcocked Holiday Turkey

October 2023
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1 whole 12-14 lb. turkey, neck and giblets removed (save for gravy or discard) and spatchcocked
1/2 cup Rodney’s Rib Rub (recipe follows)
4 cups Rodney’s Sauce (recipe follows)

Rodney’s Rib Rub (makes 2 cups)

1/2 cup kosher salt, Diamond Crystal preferred
1/4 cup MSG
1/4 cup fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tbs. garlic powder
2 Tbs. onion powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper

Rodney’s Sauce (yields 4 cups)

4 cups distilled white vinegar 
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced 
2 Tbs. ground black pepper 
1 Tbs. cayenne pepper 
1 1/2 Tbs. red pepper flakes 
1/2 cup sugar 


Fire the grill to 250°F.

Prepare the turkey by sprinkling rib rub all over both sides of the bird. Place the turkey on the grill skin-side down, close the grill, and cook for 90 minutes.

Using a small, clean mop or a basting brush, baste the turkey with the sauce. Flip the turkey so it’s skin-side up and baste the skin side. Close the grill and cook until the thickest part of the thigh meat measures 160°F, another 90 minutes. (Once you have finished basting the turkey, discard any remaining sauce, as it will have come in contact with raw turkey).

Remove the turkey from the grill and let it rest for 30 to 40 minutes before carving and transferring to a platter.

Rodney’s Rib Rub:
Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. The rub can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to six months.

Rodney’s Sauce:
In a small stockpot, warm the vinegar over medium-high heat. After about five minutes, when the vinegar reaches 150°F on an instant-read thermometer and just before it starts to simmer, add the lemon slices and continue to cook until the lemon peels begin to soften and wilt, about 10 minutes more. 

Whisk in the black pepper, cayenne, pepper flakes, and sugar. Continue to cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and the sauce reaches 190°F, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to completely cool before using. Once the lemon is removed, the sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to eight weeks.