When it comes to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, the turkey is the star of the show -- sorry chicken stans. But, that doesn't mean turkey can't learn a few things from its poultry cousin when it comes to preparation and overall presentation. For instance, have you tried spatchcocking your turkey?
If you're already familiar with how to spatchcock a chicken, the process is exactly the same when spatchcocking a turkey or any other bird. Spatchcocking involves removing the backbone of the bird and presenting it with both sides laying flat symmetrically. The actual process for both birds is the same, so don't expect any surprises in that regard. However, spatchcocking a turkey may be more challenging than a chicken due to the size difference. Chickens are smaller, more delicate animals that require less effort to prepare. In comparison, turkeys are often much larger and have heavier meat and bigger bones. While there are smaller turkeys out there, most turkeys tend to weigh in the 15 to 20-pound range. That's good for feeding a large family, but it also means that spatchcocking your turkey may not be as simple as a chicken.
Spatchcocking Has Been A Practice For Centuries
Spatchcocking is really just a fancy word for butterflying, or separating your poultry into two halves. The process of spatchcocking chicken is Irish in origin and dates back to the 1700s. However, spatchcocking turkey is a much more modern practice. New York Times writer Mark Bittman helped popularize spatchcocking turkey for modern Thanksgivings, though he didn't invent the technique itself. He first wrote about the cooking method in 2002, then made a popular video on the process in 2008.
In an interview with Quartz where he is credited with changing Thanksgiving forever, Bittman said, "I didn't make it up. You spatchcock an eel, that goes back forever. Spatchcocking a chicken I learned, probably from James Beard. Spatchcocking a turkey I might have made up." Since the early 2000s, the popularity of the cooking method has increased exponentially, with countless people trying the method out for themselves.
How To Spatchcock Your Turkey
The benefit of spatchcocking your turkey is time and convenience. Even the Pioneer Woman recommends this method. You can have an entire dinner ready for your family in less than an hour. This method only takes 45 minutes. In comparison, it can take several hours to roast a turkey in the oven. The method is also popular because it produces juicy, crispy turkey without drying out the meat.
Since the turkey is level with each side, it has a smaller chance of cooking unevenly. You don't have to worry about the top side of the turkey cooking quicker than the backside or vice versa. Likewise, the skin of the turkey will have the same amount of heat, letting it get that nice, golden tan you want on your bird. Spatchcocking your turkey is still relatively simple despite the increase in size. All you have to do is cut the turkey vertically and remove its backbone. From there, the bird should easily lie down flat on your tray. Pop it in the oven, and you're good to go.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.