Spatchcocking: Fowl Foreplay

Now that I got your attention…

Thanksgiving is just a few days away and if you did not buy your turkey yet, you better get out there and get it! If you buy a frozen turkey, that bad boy can take up to four days to thaw in the refrigerator, so you have no time to lose. Once your turkey is thawed, take the turkey out of the plastic the night before you plan to cook it, salt it and return it back to the fridge. Or, if you prefer, you can brine your turkey, which you should do 24 hours before you plan to cook your turkey. Keep in mind that brining is recommended only for fresh turkeys, since most frozen turkeys are already injected with a sodium solution prior to freezing. The Food Network offers plenty of brining recipes.

When you are finally ready to cook your turkey pat the skin dry- this is the only way to get that nice crispy, brown skin! Now, here comes the fun part. Spatchcocking. I know it sounds like some kind of kinky foreplay, but spatchcocking, in my experience is by far the best way to roast any kind of poultry.

Advantages of Spatchcocking:

1. It cuts down your cooking time and the turkey cooks more evenly.

2. All of the skin is exposed and to the air, so it all gets crispy.

3. It is much easier to carve.

Step 1: Flip the turkey breast side down.

Step 2: Remove the spine of the turkey using kitchen or poultry scissors. You could also use a sharp boning knife, but it is much easier with the scissors.

Note: Save the backbone for your turkey stock/gravy. Even if you buy a pre-made gravy, adding the backbone adds a lot of great flavor!

Step 3: Flip the turkey over and place your palms in the center of the breast. Push down until you hear the breast bones crack.

Step 4: Place the bird on a roasting rack inside a rimmed baking sheet with all of your aromatics (onion, celery, carrots, lemon, rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic or any other herbs and spices you prefer) underneath.

Step 5: Rub the skin of your birds with softened, herbed butter. Be sure to place a generous amount underneath the skin of the breast as well.

Step 6: Roast at 450 degrees for 30 minutes and then turn the oven down to 400 degrees and roast for about 10 minutes per pound. After one hour of cooking at 400 degrees, cover with foil and continue cooking until the thickest part of the turkey (breast or inner thigh) reaches a temperature of 165 degrees. Do not rely on pop-up button!

NOTE: If you have a very large bird (more than 20 lbs), begin checking the temperature early, as it may not take quite as long as the formula (10 minutes per pound) that smaller birds do.

Your turkey should look like this:

Step 7: Once your remove your turkey DO NOT carve it right away! In order for the juices to redistribute let your turkey sit between 25 and 60 minutes. This is the perfect time to warm up any side dishes. You may tent some foil over your bird in order to keep the skin warm, but it really is not necessary. Your turkey will still be piping hot when you carve it, even after sitting for an hour.

Take a Look at this YouTube Video if you would like a visual aid:


Happy Thanksgiving!


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