Spatchcock turkey. Yes it sounds dirty, but I assure you it’s a perfectly acceptable technique to practice in the kitchen in front of mixed company and your parents.
An excerpt from the definition of spatchcock on Wikipedia, “…poultry or game that has been prepared for roasting or grilling by removing the backbone, and sometimes the sternum of the bird and flattening it out before cooking.”
So basically, flip that bird over with the breast down on the cutting board and use a badass knife or kitchen shears to cut out the backbone (running in between the thighs up underneath the wings to the neck). You can also remove the breast plate if you wish. I usually wish to.
Thanksgiving is a pain in the ass. The past two years I have been in charge of cooking for a group of friends. It sounds fun when you volunteer, but then your kitchen assistants just end up drinking too much and asking them to wash the collards turns into an all day affair. But, with adversity comes reward. I love cooking. I love cooking more than eating. But I still try to make my workload more manageable, and spatchcocking your turkey is a life saver. Why you ask? Oh I happen to have 5 reasons written down right here!
- Time—By opening up the turkey you kind of create a level playing field for all the different parts of the bird to cook. The spatchcock method allows you get the inside of the turkey cooking just as fast as the outside. This leads to solving a BIG turkey problem for some…
- Juicy—Many Thanksgiving diners declare that they don’t really like turkey because it’s too dry. This is usually the fault of the cook for overcooking by waiting on that stupid pin to pop out of the bird instead of using a thermometer or perhaps not letting the bird rest long enough. Fact is, some parts of the bird usually are done cooking before others (I’m looking at you breasts). So while you are waiting on those wonderful juicy turkey legs to finish, your breasts are shit out of luck.
- Crispy—Who likes soggy poultry skin? Nobody likes soggy poultry skin. Spatchcocking guarantees maximum crispy turkey skin. All that skin will be laid out flat facing up into the sky of the oven. Time for a sun burn for your bird.
- Diversity—Diversity is important in today’s society. It’s also important with our turkeys. I’m a #SJW for diverse turkey. Meaning that although I insist you spatchcock your turkey, I am adopting a policy of inclusion in regards to other means of preparation. Brine? Sure. Dry Brine? Even Better. How about a generous rubbing down of butter or herbed duck fat? That’s my favorite way. Point is, however you like to season and prepare your turkey, spatchcocking is open minded. Except stuffing…no where to stuff anything other than under the skin. Which is awesome.
- Presentation—Carving a turkey at the table like your Clark fucking Griswold may seem like a cool idea, but Thanksgiving is hard enough as it is. Carve this bitch up on the cutting board out of sight of your guests and they’ll never even know about this spatchcocking business. The legs and wings are insanely easy to pull off with this technique and removing the breasts is a lot easier down closer to the cutting board, as opposed to if you had left the backbone in and roasted “traditionally”. All of your turkey skin is going to be G.B.D (golden, brown, delicious) and crispy and your meat will be juicy and you cooked this turkey how you wanted it and saved time.
Time. Juicy. Crispy. Diversity. Presentation. YOU ARE A WINNER, WINNER, TURKEY DINNER.