I may be late to the game and you already have a plan for your Thanksgiving Day bird, but if you're like me, I don't like waiting hours and hours watching the bird cook only to find that I've overcooked it and it's dry. Major fail! I've done this technique for a few years now and it's been fool proof.
To spatchcock a turkey is exactly the same thing as butterflying a chicken, but with a name that is way more fun to say. Either way, this simply means cutting out the turkey’s backbone and pressing the bird flat so it cooks in a single layer. This technique will allow for faster, more even and thorough cooking of your bird.
• cutting board
• sharp kitchen shears
• sharp, heavy-duty kitchen knife or electric knife
What to do:
Start with a clean, dry turkey, all innards removed. On a clean no-slip service, (I usually put a kitchen towel under my cutting board so it doesn’t move and then a kitchen towel or paper towel on top of the cutting board to soak up any juices.) Lay the turkey breast side down.
Cut down one side of the backbone, turn and cut the other side.
Turn the bird breast side up and place your hands on the middle of the breast bone. Push down with vigor to break the breast bone. You can use any heavy object, saucepan or frying pan to break the sternum if you can’t do it with your bare hands.
Voila! You have successfully spatchcocked that bad boy!
Use a dry brine to help maintain tender juicy meat.
Dry Brine Recipe
3 Tablespoon Kosher salt
1 Tablespoon juniper berries
1 Tablespoon dry rubbed sage
1 Tablespoon dry thyme
1 Tablespoon whole peppercorns
1. In a food mill or electric grinder, or if you have the time, a mortar and pestle, combine all of the ingredients and pulse until coarsely ground.
2. Turn your spatchcocked bird breast-side down and liberally sprinkle the mixture all over the bird. Massage into the meat and around every nook and cranny of the bird. You'll be thankful you did.
3. Flip the bird breast side up and use the remainder of the spice mixture for the outside skin of the turkey.
4. Multiple days in the refrigerator will yield a juicier bird, but give your bird at least a 24-hour rest with the dry brine.
5. Before cooking, remove the bird from the fridge and leave at room temperature for one hour.
6. Give that bird some words of encouragement (Oh baby, you are marvelous! kiss kiss) as you put it in the oven to cook.
7. Heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes
8. Turn down the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit until a probe thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 155 degrees Fahrenheit, an additional 40 to 50 minutes.
9. Remove from the oven and allow the bird to rest (sit undisturbed) for 30 minutes. This will allow all of the juices to return to the meat.
Disclaimer, it may not look great, but it will taste amazing! I saved the giblets and necks and made a stock with celery, carrots, onions, garlic and peppercorns. I'll use the stock for stuffing and making gravy.