WAIT!!! BEFORE YOU COOK YOUR TURKEY THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY, consider spatchcocking instead. It is SOOOOOOOOO MUCH EASIER–just 4 simple steps! Once you try it, you will NEVER go back. The meat will be so moist and savory, and the skin so beautiful and crisp, your family will consider you something of a Thanksgiving hero.
HERE ARE 6 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD SPATCHCOCK INSTEAD:
- It cooks much more quickly. Instead of 4 hours in the oven, it’s an hour and 20 minutes tops. Not only does this save you time, but it saves energy.
- It cooks evenly. No more undercooked thighs and overly dry breast meat. The bird has a lower profile now so everything gets the same amount of heat and steam.
- The skin is crispier. Since all the skin is on the upper surface, it all gets the same amount of air space in the oven, so it crisps up easily and evenly.
- The meat is juicier. Meanwhile, the meat evenly soaks up all the juices, making it extremely moist in every part of the bird.
- It’s less stress in the kitchen. No fretting over the turkey drying out, no hourly basting, no worrying if you’ve cooked it enough. Just throw that sucker in and let it cook for a little over an hour. And you’re done.
- It’s easier to carve. All the meat is on a more horizontal plane, rather than sideways and upside-down, so it’s easier to get to.
Before you get your hands all turkey-covered, dice up some vegetables for roasting, and spread them evenly in a rimmed baking sheet. I usually go with the traditional carrot-celery-onion blend. This step is not necessary for a successful turkey, but the vegetables will add aroma, flavor, and moisture to the meat, and they do the same to the juices which you’ll be using for the gravy. So I highly recommend it.
Step 1: Rinse the turkey inside and out and pat dry with a paper towel. Make sure you get all the giblets out.
Step 2: Starting from the neck-end of the turkey, cut the backbone out on each side, all the way up to the tail. This does require some effort, so good poultry shears are recommended. You can also use a strong serrated knife for the parts on the ribcage that get stuck.
Step 3: Once you have pulled the backbone out completely, flip the bird over, spread it out, and press it down firmly on the ribcage until you hear it crack and see its profile flatten. You may need a footstool to gain leverage if you are petite.
Step 4: Place the bird on a wire cooking rack over the vegetables, and tuck the wings underneath. Baste it with olive oil, add liberal amounts of freshly ground salt and pepper, and cook it at 450 degrees F. until the thigh reaches 165 degrees (about and hour and 15 minutes, give or take).
- If you opt out of the vegetables, you can just put the turkey straight onto the pan with or without the cooking rack.
Or you could always try a Marilyn Monroe pose, like this. :0)
It should come out looking something like this. The skin will be crispy and brown, and there will be juices in the pan.
When you serve the turkey, remember that it will lay a bit differently than the traditional roasted turkey you may be used to. Some people prefer to roast their turkey the traditional way period, but I have never had more compliments about my turkey’s appearance or taste than when I spatchcocked it.
Carving is done a little differently for this style, so check out this video on how to do it right. If you prefer, you could simply carve the turkey in advance and place the meat on a serving platter with a nice garnish and stuffing.
- This stuffing was made separately by my mother. I will supply that recipe shortly. It is to die for, in my opinion.
- 1 turkey
- Assorted roasting vegetables (optional)
- Olive oil
- Freshly ground pepper
- Sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Chop up some vegetables and spread them out in a large, rimmed baking sheet, and set aside
- Rinse and gut the turkey, then pat it dry with a paper towel
- Place it on cutting board breast down and cut out the backbone with poultry shears.
- Turn it over, spread the legs out, and press down hard on it's ribcage and breastbone until you hear it crack and see it flatten.
- Transfer the bird to a rimmed baking sheet, breast side up, and tuck the wing tips underneath the bird.
- Brush with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and roast for an hour and fifteen minutes, or until the thigh reaches 165 degrees.
- Place on a platter with garnish.
As a bit of trivia, did you know
- Only Tom turkeys gobble
- Hen turkeys make a clicking noise.
- Domesticated turkeys cannot fly.
- Wild turkeys can fly for short distances up to 55 miles per hour and can run 20 miles per hour. No joke.
- June is National Turkey Lovers’ Month!