Spatchcocked Turkey


This past weekend we had company come and I had a leftover turkey in the freezer. It seemed like the perfect combination. But, since there were other plans for Saturday night, I chose to do this on Friday. I know, I know, you can’t cook a turkey on a weeknight. At least not without taking an afternoon off right? Well, sort of not.

Enter spatchcocking, or maybe more commonly called, butterflying. You can view a set of instructions here but essentially you are cutting the backbone out, flipping it over and pressing it down. The intent is to provide a more even cooking surface so it cooks quicker. Kind of makes me sound like an expert, huh? Well, after doing this I certainly know how to do it but I don’t know that I’d go so far as to say that I am an expert. There were some hiccups.

Before I get too far, here is the recipe I used when cooking the turkey. Side note on the recipe, I didn’t make the gravy and, since I forgot to get celery (how I don’t know, I swear I held it on my hand) and the store was STILL out of fresh thyme I made some adjustment. Carrots and onions, yes. I then sprinkled some ground thyme and celery salt onto the. Quantities unknown, just until I felt like it was enough.

Back to the cooking. This did result in a very nice browned, crisp skin (see picture) but it took longer to cook. Almost twice as long as the recipe had stated it should. And then, once I cut into it, there were several spots in the breast that were not done. Including one out that was raw. Seriously raw. I mean, it looked like raw turkey. Not even a hint of being even a little cooked.

So, what went wrong? Honestly, I’m not sure. We do have a hot spot in the oven (the right side always seems to cook the bacon on that side faster) but the side of the turkey that was raw was on the right side. I probably should have rotated it when cooking but considering it needed more time (ultimately), I’m not sure that would have helped.

As I sit here and think about it, the only thing that comes to mind was that maybe it wasn’t fully thawed. It did sit in the fridge for four days thawing but I can tell you that there were still some ice chunks in the center and it was still really cold when handling it. So maybe that’s it. That would certainly affect how it cooked, if part of what it had to do was finish thawing.

So what’s the end result? Well, there was considerable effort expounded to get the backbone out of the turkey, then it did quite fit on the pan (causing me to – twice – pull it out and cut away skin that was dripping into the bottom of the oven and making a mess and then, finally, it took longer to cook.

Granted to cooking time may have been due to it not being fully thawed (maybe?) but I don’t think it was worth the effort for the end result. The next turkey will be a “normal” turkey, done on a day when there is plenty of time.

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