What is the first thing you think of when you hear Thanksgiving? Turkey. Some may argue it’s actually family or thankfulness, but they won’t be invited back next year. So back on the turkey, cooking a turkey requires literally hours of work and careful maintenance and in the meantime you’re also expected to tidy, cook other dishes and entertain guests.
Fortunately, there are a series of foolproof steps that I developed through trial-and-error that will guarantee you the most perfectly cooked and seasoned turkey you’ve ever tasted. Better yet, most of these steps are done well in advance of the actual day, giving you the time to actually enjoy Thanksgiving.
I won’t lie to you, the process is labor intensive. But the reward for all your efforts will be perfectly seasoned crisp-skinned bird that your guests will be raving about until Christmas.
The first step of the process, spatchcocking is a method of butchering turkey where the backbone of the turkey is removed allowing it rolled out and roasted flat. But your turkey will cook just fine without spatchcocking, so why go through the trouble? Four main reasons:
The flatter and more uniform thickness of a spatchcocked turkey allows it to cook much faster than a conventional bird. Take for instance, while a 10lb conventional turkey requires about three and half hours to cook, a spatchcocked one can be done in 90 minutes.
Because of how much higher it is seated on the bird, white meat cooks much faster then dark meat. So by the time the thighs and legs reach temperature, the breast is dry as bone. Spatchcocking essentially rearranges the turkey’s topography, allowing the white and dark meats to lay close together and to reach their ideal temperatures at closer times for juicy, tender meat of all kinds.
Drumsticks aside, the skin of the turkey probably the most sought after part of the bird. When spatchcocked, the entirety of the turkey’s skin is exposed to the heat of the oven allowing your guests more of that crispy, crackly goodness.
On a regular turkey, the backbone is usually discarded since it lacks any real meat. This is a huge waste since the backbone is dripping with goodness, it can be roasted and then ed to stocks and gravies to give them a wonderful depth of flavor.
So if any of that sounds at all appealing to you, click the video below.
Now that you’ve spatchcocked your turkey (or had your local butcher do it for you), grab some salt and let’s get to brining!