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Old 11-15-2017, 05:11 PM   #1
flatferenghi
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so many cooking shows telling us

how to cook our turkeys so that all parts come out perfectly. so how do y'all do it? Love & Profits: FLATFERENGHI
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Old 11-15-2017, 05:19 PM   #2
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In a turkey cooking bag. It's perfect every time.
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Old 11-15-2017, 05:26 PM   #3
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Thanks.. I need to get my bag for Thursday!
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Old 11-15-2017, 06:30 PM   #4
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I use a digital probe thermometer - the kind with a probe and then an attached cable that snakes out the oven door and into the digital readout. I set it for the appropriate temperature and then wait til the alarm goes off!
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Old 11-15-2017, 08:25 PM   #5
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I use a digital probe thermometer - the kind with a probe and then an attached cable that snakes out the oven door and into the digital readout. I set it for the appropriate temperature and then wait til the alarm goes off!
I have one of those, too (IGrill) and absolutely love it. No checking, no basting. It gives me the "10 degree warning" when it's getting close.

But before I ever use it, however, first step is to spatchcock my bird (don't you just LOVE that word?!) do a dry brine with coarse kosher salt and fresh herbs (both done the day before cooking) and roast on a rack over a cookie sheet, strewn with chopped onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, and a mixture of fresh herbs to flavor the drippings for the most amazing gravy ever.

I start it at 425 degrees for the first half hour, then back it down to 325 degrees for the remainder of the time. Last year I cooked a 25 pound bird perfectly in well under 2 hours. If memory serves, it was closer to an hour and a half. The legs and thighs are done at the same time as the breast with this method, since they are all "laid out" flat, at the same level.

Now granted, you don't get that Norman Rockwell presentation at the table, but to me, the convenience and perfect, juicy, and warp-speed cooking more than make up for that.

This is one meal that has evolved greatly over my decades of cooking it. I started the way my mom did it, basting every 20 minutes (my mom's turkey was always so dry, my brother and I referred to it affectionately as "turkey dust"...)

From there, I went to laying butter-soaked cheesecloth over the breast of only fresh turkeys (not anymore - I will cook any turkey I can get my hands on.) For a couple of years, I deboned the entire thing, and "reconstructed" it around a rice and sausage stuffing to look like a normal, bone-in bird.

Then, I began doing a traditional wet brine. Around then, I began the breast-down roast, flipping over to brown the breast toward the end. Did the wet brine for several years, before finally experimenting with dry brine, which I determined does a superior job with much less mess. And the big plus, it makes it easy to get nice crackly, crispy skin. I hickory/mesquite/apple smoked the bird once. Very tasty, but it just lacked that traditional flavor that the hubs craves every year. (So whereas I still smoke a breast from time-to-time, never, ever on T Day.)

Three years ago, I began spatchcocking. And I'm convinced, having tried just about every method there is (except for deep frying. Don't ask...) that a dry brined, spatchcocked bird will turn your turkey into a relatively fuss-free, gustatory masterpiece, a meal to be the subject of many lively discussions, to be dreamed of and anticipated with great eagerness, year after year.
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Old 11-16-2017, 08:03 AM   #6
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I use a digital probe thermometer - the kind with a probe and then an attached cable that snakes out the oven door and into the digital readout. I set it for the appropriate temperature and then wait til the alarm goes off!
I have one of these, too. Don't know how I ever cooked without it!
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Old 11-16-2017, 01:00 PM   #7
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I second the cooking bags. Perfect every time.
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Old 11-16-2017, 01:11 PM   #8
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I'm going to try something that I heard about recently - I'm going to spatchcock (butterfly) a turkey and then use a dry brine. Spatchcocking is cutting out the backbone and flattening it and cuts cooking time in half and crispy skin because more surface area is exposed. The dry brine makes it moist. I'm going to try it on a chicken first (this weekend).
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Old 11-16-2017, 04:33 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Baricat View Post
I have one of those, too (IGrill) and absolutely love it. No checking, no basting. It gives me the "10 degree warning" when it's getting close.

But before I ever use it, however, first step is to spatchcock my bird (don't you just LOVE that word?!) do a dry brine with coarse kosher salt and fresh herbs (both done the day before cooking) and roast on a rack over a cookie sheet, strewn with chopped onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, and a mixture of fresh herbs to flavor the drippings for the most amazing gravy ever.

I start it at 425 degrees for the first half hour, then back it down to 325 degrees for the remainder of the time. Last year I cooked a 25 pound bird perfectly in well under 2 hours. If memory serves, it was closer to an hour and a half. The legs and thighs are done at the same time as the breast with this method, since they are all "laid out" flat, at the same level.


Now granted, you don't get that Norman Rockwell presentation at the table, but to me, the convenience and perfect, juicy, and warp-speed cooking more than make up for that.

This is one meal that has evolved greatly over my decades of cooking it. I started the way my mom did it, basting every 20 minutes (my mom's turkey was always so dry, my brother and I referred to it affectionately as "turkey dust"...)

From there, I went to laying butter-soaked cheesecloth over the breast of only fresh turkeys (not anymore - I will cook any turkey I can get my hands on.) For a couple of years, I deboned the entire thing, and "reconstructed" it around a rice and sausage stuffing to look like a normal, bone-in bird.

Then, I began doing a traditional wet brine. Around then, I began the breast-down roast, flipping over to brown the breast toward the end. Did the wet brine for several years, before finally experimenting with dry brine, which I determined does a superior job with much less mess. And the big plus, it makes it easy to get nice crackly, crispy skin. I hickory/mesquite/apple smoked the bird once. Very tasty, but it just lacked that traditional flavor that the hubs craves every year. (So whereas I still smoke a breast from time-to-time, never, ever on T Day.)

Three years ago, I began spatchcocking. And I'm convinced, having tried just about every method there is (except for deep frying. Don't ask...) that a dry brined, spatchcocked bird will turn your turkey into a relatively fuss-free, gustatory masterpiece, a meal to be the subject of many lively discussions, to be dreamed of and anticipated with great eagerness, year after year.

This is one method (spatchcocked) I haven’t ever tried in my 55 years cooking. Can’t wait to try it this year. Thanks for the idea. And all the other detailed recipes you have contributed to this site. Hope to learn from you for years to come.
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Old 11-16-2017, 05:35 PM   #10
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Thank you so much, Barbara! I've learned a lot from you, too.

Once you try this, you'll never go back! One thing you might want to buy before the big day is a pair of poultry shears. They look something like pruning shears, and are incredibly sharp. I got an excellent pair reasonably on Amazon. I also use my cleaver to finish off any bones that give too much of a fight. It takes a LOT of hand strength to cut through the rib bones where they join the backbone.

So being a woman who knows her own limitations, I recruit the hubs to do this task, as he has always had super strong hands. Even so, it still takes some fight when he does it. The combo of poultry shears and cleaver works the best. And that backbone, covered in water along with the wing tips and more of the veggies, and simmered for an hour or two, makes a fabulous base for your gravy. Or make things go really fast and dump the bones, veggies, and water in your Instant Pot for 10 minutes, followed by a 10-15 minute natural release. Boom.

It's messy work with huge potential for work surface contamination, so keep a sink full of soapy hot water, spiked with a 1 second pour of bleach for mopping up the counters, soaking the cutting board and utensils afterward. Let everything stay in that solution for a minimum of 2 minutes before rinsing.

Just to be doubly sure that the sponge will harbor no bacteria hiding anywhere when I'm done, after I've soaked the sponge in the bleach water, I make sure it's dripping wet, then nuke it for 3 minutes. Careful taking it out of the micro, as it will be very hot. I usually let it cool in place if I can afford the time, or grab it with tongs and rinse in cold water if I can't. You can't be too careful when it comes to this meal, as there's so much opportunity for subsequent cross contamination, and those nasty beasties can live for 2-3 days on surfaces. (Can you tell I'm obsessiveabout kitchen sanitation??)
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Old 11-16-2017, 06:15 PM   #11
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Lol... I just realized that I read about that method here - from you, Cat! Duh! And I ran out and bought poultry shears today! I'm going to try it on a chicken this weekend.
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:18 PM   #12
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That's so funny, Casey! That's something I would do. Sorry, but you can't hold a candle to me when it comes to being scatterbrained. It's my specialty!

I'm really glad you're going into this with a pair of poultry shears. It's going to make the work much easier. This is definitely not a task you'd want to begin armed with nothing more than a kitchen knife. If you have a strong young man in your family, don't be shy about asking him to be "on call." I used to be able to do this stuff in my younger days, but now that I'm older and much less hefty, it's a bit rugged for me. In my experience, men often love a challenge of this kind, and are usually quite flattered when you tell them you need to borrow their "guns" for a bit. And, having accepted the challenge, they won't give up until that backbone is in your pot and your bird is splayed out on your cutting board, spread-eagled in a supremely undignified pose.

A hint, BTW, to get it to lie as flat as possible is to make a 2" slit on both sides of the center "keel" area, at the end where the wishbone is, all the way through the cartilage. Then, press hard and sharply downward a few times as necessary with the heel of your hand and the other hand on top of it for maximum leverage (very similar to compressions used when administering CPR) by the place where you made the slits, and you should feel (and, quite possibly, hear) it "give." At that point, it will flatten completely.
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Old 11-16-2017, 11:01 PM   #13
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Well, just as an fyi........I deboned a 15lb turkey about a month ago, have always wanted to. Well I did it, wasn't too bad after watching a video on youtube, took me about 2 hrs total time, as Baricat was saying above about the soapy/Clorox water, I have a thing about poultry stuff. Well glad to say I've done it but I'll never do it again. It was good, didn't really care for what I stuffed it with but I'll stick w/ a large pan, covered tightly in foil, low and slow until it is falling apart. I'm actually one who doesn't care for moist breast meat, I want it on the dry side, makes for better turkey salad. 15lb at 275 for about 6 hrs. I start it out at 425 for the first 30 mins to get it all good and hot, then cut down the oven and go for 5-6 hrs more.
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Old 11-17-2017, 06:08 AM   #14
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Baricat- how well does a spatchcocked turkey reheat? Does it stay pretty juicy? I generally cook my meat (ham and turkey) the day before to make room in the oven for sides.
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Old 11-17-2017, 06:18 AM   #15
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Thanks for the tips, Cat! I also watched a YouTube video and that helped me visualize. I don't like to try something new ON thanksgiving day, so I'll do a trial run with a chicken this weekend. Now, if only my family will be ok with it - they tend to make fun of me for getting excited over something like this -- and for sure, I'll be calling it "butterfly" and not spatchcock!!! I've been eating clean/low carb for 18 years, so at least they have stopped giving me a hard time about a mostly low carb meal!
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Old 11-17-2017, 08:03 AM   #16
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Handbells, because the meat is so juicy, it reheats very well. When we do individual servings the next day in the micro, I soak down a paper towel, squeeze out all the water, and lay it over the top of the meat. This helps keep it super moist. If you are reheating in the oven, which I would imagine is the case with a large amount, I can't speak to that, because I've never done it. If I were to do so, however, I'd drizzle on some gravy and cover it with foil, and make sure I took it out just when it was warmed up sufficiently, not letting it rest in the oven any longer than necessary.

JJJ'sMom, you would have LOVED my mom's turkey! Good for you, doing the deboning. Deboning isn't at all difficult, just time consuming and messy, and often intimidating for the uninitiated. As for the stuffing for a deboned bird, bread based stuffing doesn't work. It compacts too much and gets mushy and gross. I have little doubt if you had used a rice stuffing, you'd feel differently. You could still cook the snots out of it, and the stuffing would hold up.

Casey, I did the same thing! We were all completely blown away by the results, and I'm sure you will be, as well. Good call on the YouTube video. Visualizing is the key. Knowing what to do before you go at it is the way not to be intimidated.
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Old 11-17-2017, 08:13 AM   #17
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Thanks for the tips, Cat! I also watched a YouTube video and that helped me visualize. I don't like to try something new ON thanksgiving day, so I'll do a trial run with a chicken this weekend. Now, if only my family will be ok with it - they tend to make fun of me for getting excited over something like this -- and for sure, I'll be calling it "butterfly" and not spatchcock!!! I've been eating clean/low carb for 18 years, so at least they have stopped giving me a hard time about a mostly low carb meal!
BTW, Casey, when you do your dry run, back off the initial sear (when you cook it at 425 degrees) to only 15 minutes for anything smaller than a turkey.

Here's a prediction for you. This will be one experiment they're all going to be applauding. Remember, you heard I think here first...

Aw, c'mon! Don't be a "chicken" (no pun intended!) Spatchcock is one of the coolest beans words EVER, right up there with "shenanigans," "kerfuffle," and "scruples." "Butterflied." That's wimp talk. Be loud and proud, girl!!
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Old 11-17-2017, 08:44 AM   #18
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I have injected with seasonings (flavor injector) and indoor deep fried. OMG AMAZING..

This year I actually want to try to pickle brine the turkey. I have regular brined and it works out amazing. When the turkey is almost done I am going to cover in bacon and let it finish.
My new oven came with one of those probes! I can set it to alert me when it reaches a certain temp, then It will even lower the cooking temp to just keep it warm if I want.. TECHNOLOGY IS INSANE!

Has anyone ever pickle brine poultry or even turkey? I see people do it with chicken and it gets rave reviews so I'm guessing it might work with turkey? lol
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Old 11-17-2017, 08:45 AM   #19
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I love the word spatchcock! I heard it on Worst Cooks and thought it was fabulous! lol!

Thanks for the tip, Cat! Definitely giving it a try!
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Old 11-17-2017, 09:15 AM   #20
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There are quite a few YouTube videos on how to spatchcock a turkey. It's easy to do, but sometimes watching somebody else do it first is helpful.

I spatchcock, or butterfly small turkeys and chickens all the time. It's an awesome technique and really saves you time roasting.
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Old 11-17-2017, 09:20 PM   #21
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Roasting bag, breast side down. Once it is cooked split open the bag and flip the turkey over and brown it if you are so inclined. I usually don't bother with browning mine but have for those who prefer the skin to the meat.
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Old 11-19-2017, 06:49 AM   #22
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one of those cooking shows(don't remember which)

put aluminum foil on the breast to give the rest of the turkey a head start. then they removed the foil, and let the bird continue roasting. this year, I am doing turkey wings only. but eventually I will try a whole bird in my new Copperchef enhanced size pan, which is still in the box, btw. thanks for your feedback, and HAPPY TG to all, HEWMON or otherwise. Love & Profits: FLATFERENGHI
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Old 11-19-2017, 06:53 AM   #23
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Thanks for the tips, Cat! . I WILL be bold and display my spatchcock with pride.
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Old 11-19-2017, 08:18 AM   #24
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One other tip I read has to do with chilling just the breast portion of the turkey by filling a large container with ice cubes and burying the turkey, just breast side down for an hour or so.

Logic being that the colder white breast meat will cook slower than the dark meat, so by the time the dark meat is done, the less fatty white meat hasn't dried out.

I've never tried it, but I may give it a whirl with a chicken. Same principle, but on a less expensive scale!
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Old 11-19-2017, 10:04 AM   #25
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Thanks for the tips, Cat! . I WILL be bold and display my spatchcock with pride.
You go, Casey! ROCK that spatchcocked bird. Anyone who does it deserves to be very proud!! You're about to join an elite group who can justify the use of that über cool word within the context of firsthand experience. There aren't exactly scads of us.
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Old 11-22-2017, 09:57 PM   #26
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I did it!!! Well, I had a little bit of help (thank you, DS15!), but I spatchcocked my turkey! It was a little messy (my pan was just a bit too small for my bird), but totally worth it and anytime I have to make a turkey I am doing it this way! I don't even like turkey, but as I carved it, I kept snitching little pieces of it. It was sooo juicy and good!
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Old 11-23-2017, 07:49 AM   #27
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With just the two of us, it is a moot point. I buy the deep fried turkey breast from Sam's club.
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Old 11-23-2017, 04:36 PM   #28
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Great idea Sharon. It's just the two of us and Jay prefers a large roast stuffed chicken.
Always juicy with crispy skin.
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Old 11-23-2017, 05:51 PM   #29
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hi, Baricat, and all!. BEST turkey I've ever made - the vote was unanimous! Thank you for all the tips. And everyone raved over my pumpkin cheesecake mousse - no complaints that there wasn't pie! I also had roasted green beans with bacon and no sugar cranberry sauce. A great meal and no carb headache afterwards - a beautiful day here, so I went out for a walk after I cleaned up the kitchen. A good day!
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Old 11-23-2017, 07:55 PM   #30
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Casey, I am so thrilled to hear it! I'll just bet your family is no longer skeptical of your turkey experiments! Yes, a spatchcocked, dry brined turkey is one of life's little pleasures, and unexpected delights. It's so juicy and flavorful, it's like a new variety of poultry! I've had people ask where I bought my bird, if it was free range or some specially bred, expensive bird. They're always surprised when I tell them it was the cheapest store brand frozen turkey I could find.

Jenn, GOOD ON YA, girl!! You'll get no argument here. Spatchcocking IS a messy process. But it's so darned phenomenal that the results more than make up for the effort and mess. You were brave to take on the task, and I applaud you - take a bow!! I'm so happy to hear you're now a devotée of this technique. Once you spatchcock, you'll never go back!

Ours was superb, as well. Bon Appétit-worthy golden brown, crispy skin, perfectly seasoned (with the herbed dry brine) and so moist that the platter had juices galore. I always strew the cookie sheet with carrots, onions, celery, fresh herbs and parsnips that lend their flavor to the drippings. And I use the Instant Pot with the cut up backbone and wing tips and more of the same veggies to make a richly flavored broth to use as the gravy liquid. Between both those measures, you will make the most EPIC gravy anyone has ever tasted.

Don't you just love T Day??
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