Recently we’ve been having more and more years limiting turkey supplies. Usually affected by the avian flu. Larger fresh turkeys then become in short supply, along with the consistently higher price associated with supply and demand.
With a short supply of fresh turkeys, you should probably get your order in early. This year, again, I was told to get my turkey count to the growers early this year so I would be assured to get my fresh turkeys.
On the other hand, frozen turkeys are still available and in good supply as most of these birds were processed and frozen last year previous to the breakout.
Now, I wanted to share one of my favorite ways of cooking turkey that saves you some time and maybe creates a new tradition for your holiday dinner.
It’s called Spatchock. It’s a chef’s trick to cook turkey more quickly and evenly. This preparation has grown in popularity, and we get asked about it a lot. So here’s our method, which also includes a brine.
The term “spatchcock” has existed for hundreds of years, though no one can agree on how it came about. To spatchcock a turkey or any other type of fowl refers to removing the backbone and cooking it flat. It resembles butterflying, so each half of the bird is flat on the cooking surface. There are several benefits to preparing your turkey this way:
- Cooking time — you can cook a 12-pound turkey in about 90 minutes
- Juicier meat, especially when brined
- Crispier skin
- More even cooking
Once spatchcocked, using a brine adds a different flavor profile, but it isn’t necessary to get a delicious, juicer turkey. Many commercial brines are available on the market. We make and sell our own in three flavors.
It’s best to brine your turkey overnight to get those flavors deep inside. I also suggest a few sage and herb butter pats tucked under the skin, which helps baste the turkey, adding another layer of flavor while cooking. Now you’re ready for the turkey to go in the oven.
SAGE AND HERB BUTTER
1 cube salted butter room temperature.
Add 1/2 teaspoon each chopped (fresh if you have it) sage, rosemary and thyme.
Mix until all herbs are combined with the butter. Scoop the mixture into a zip-top bag. Push all contents to the bottom and roll, making a round tube. Put it in the refrigerator for at least an hour before.
SPATCHCOCKING A TURKEY
Cooking time for a 12-14-pound bird
This process can be completed by standing the bird on the end breast, legs up, and back facing you. Now, hanging on to the tail, take sharp shears or knife and cut down each side of the backbone to remove it. The breastbone also needs to be cracked for the turkey to lay flat.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place turkey flat side down. Pull up the skin, and stuff six or eight pats of the sage herb butter under the skin. Be sure to replace the skin over the meat.
Place in oven and let bake for one hour and 20 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 155 degrees.
To prevent the skin from burning you can cover it with a piece of foil. Once the bird reaches 155 degrees, remove it and let rest. The turkey will continue to cook to its perfect temperature of 160-165 degrees. During this time, take a little of the sage herb butter and rub it over the top of the skin.
Spatchocking is fairly straightforward, but if you find this too tricky, we would gladly cut it for you, ask for it when you order your turkey. Also available at our store are the sage herb butter and the turkey brines for your convenience.