Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Don't be such a spatchcock this Thanksgiving! On second thought...

I first learned about spatchcocking a chicken a couple of years ago as an alternative to beer can or traditional roasting. The benefits of using this technique with the funny name is that the bird lies flatter, cooks faster and more evenly. Not only that, you get to say the word spatchcock over and over! Do not underestimate how cool this is! Unless your friends are from the UK, they probably haven't heard this word that sounds so naughty yet makes foul taste so good!

Recently, it seems there has been more interest in spatchcocking the Thanksgiving turkey. I knew I was going to brine this year's bird, a natural, unbasted medium sized beast. Due to circumstances, the idea of a quicker, more evenly roasting bird seemed more attractive.

We do not have a huge crowd this year and many of the eaters are kids. From experience many kids do not fully appreciate my turkey's traditional rock salt and rosemary sage rub or the hint of spice in the pear acorn squash soup. Because parents are often so focused on their kids, they aren't either so, when I am cooking for families with kids, I turn my focus to simple, tasty and (relatively) quick. For this spatchcocking a brined bird is perfect!

How to Spatchcock a turkey.

Spatchcocking your bird is really not that difficult. I watched a this very straightforward video and had no problems at all taking the backbone out of my bird. A sharp knife is the key. I purchased a new pair of heavy duty kitchen shears but found I did not need them much for this job. A solid chef knife worked great.

Start with a thawed bird placed breast side down, head forward. Make a 1/4 inch cut from the neck area to the tail about a half inch from one side of the backbone and then then the other side.

 Using safe knife skills, start at the top and word down cutting all the way through 3/4 of the way down the bird. Pulling out the backbone, finish the removal buy cutting and pulling simultaneously. Keep the backbone for stock.

Open up the bird and clean out any bloodshot, loose fat or anything discolored. Remove the rib cage and keep for stock.

Turn the bird over breast side up and splay out the bones. Place your hands firmly on each breast (yes this is cooking porn) and press straight down. This cracks the shoulder bone and allows the bird to sit flatter. 

Congratulations! Your bird is now Spatchcocked! You can season and roast it as you normally would (in about half the time) or, if you did it early enough, you can brine it this way as well.

I will post my turkey brine technique at a later post or, as my Mother in Law would say, just "Googally" it.

1 comment:

  1. Sally Taylor-PillarNovember 28, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    I will keep you folks abreast of how this spatchcocked bird fares! And how it was for fare!