Sick of dry tough turkey? Learn a really cool technique to prepare tender juicy birds for the holidays or any time of year!
The technique I use here is called "Spatchcocking." Basically, it entails ripping out the bird's spine and crushing it's ribs to flatten it as much as possible. Violent, somewhat, yes... but effective. What this does is allows you to cook the bird flat, so it cooks quickly and wont dry out. It works for turkey, chickens, game birds, pretty much anything with feathers and a spine.
- First thing you'll need is a nice strong pair of kitchen sheers. I found a great pair of gardening sheers that work even better than my kitchen sheers, at 1/4 the price. $19.00 at Lowe's. They really get the job done.
- Flip the bird over, breast side down, with the neck facing away from you. At the opposite end, closest to you, you'll notice a triangular protuberance at the base of the spine, above the giant hole from where the bird was eviscerated. That's where it's tail feathers were attached (if you you're Italian, you'll know that as "the Pope's nose"). Take a sharp boning knife and run a cut through the skin, on either side of the spine, making a line for you to follow with the shears....
- *** This is how I did it on the video because most regular kitchen shears I've used in the past had a bit of a tough time with the thicker parts. Clearing out the meat with a knife, down to the bone, made it a bit easier. This was the first time I used the garden shears. I've since used them again without the initial knife cut. Without getting too graphic, lets just say they are of a caliber requiring you only point them in the direction you want to go and squeeze the handles. No prep work necessary. Just make sure your fingers on the other hand stay out of the way - those things are ferocious.
- Insert the shears on one side of the tail and chomp your way up through the ribs on that side of the spine to where the neck used to be. Repeat on the other side, extracting the entire spine and the tail in one long gruesome piece.
- Flip the bird over and cup your hands over the breast bone like you were going to give it CPR. Press down firmly, crushing the ribs and flattening the bird as much as possible. Flip it back over and season the inside. I use Greek seasoning. I've also used a pouty dry rub, even plain salt and pepper. Use whatever you like. Season the other side and then lay the turkey on a backing rack, inside a baking sheet (a broiler pan also works too. If you don't have a rack, just the baking pan will do. All the rack does is help keep the pan juices under control. Without one, you'll just have to pay more attention to how much liquid is coming out while it cooks. It really shouldn't be very much).
- Bake in a preheated, 400 degree, oven for about an hour. But, to make sure you don't overcook your bird, start taking it's temp after 45 minutes. Internal temperature, in the thickest part of the breast has to be at least 160 degrees. It varies for different sized birds. The one I used in the vid weighed 12 pounds and after 45 min I was really close to temp. It just needed 10 more minutes. Just to give you a point of reference. Once you hit the number, cover the bird loosely with foil and let it rest for 30 minutes before you carve it.