A simple technique for faster turkey (or chicken) roasting

Metro News Service
Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Waiting to dig into a beautifully golden and succulent turkey is one of the joys of Thanksgiving Day. Waiting is the operative word on Thanksgiving, as cooking a turkey to perfection in the oven can take several hours.

Those who do not have the patience to wait for their drumsticks or breast meat may look to faster cooking methods like deep frying, which takes considerably less time than roasting. However, for those not yet ready to delve into deep frying, spatchcocking is a classic technique that can cook turkeys a little more quickly.

While food scholars are not certain of the origins of spatchcocking, many agree that it dates back to 18th century Ireland. Spatchcocking is a simple deboning method that essentially butterflies a whole chicken or turkey. According to The Spruce: Eats, spatchcocking involves removing the backbone of the bird from tail to neck so that the poultry can be opened out flat. The increase in surface exposure to the heat while roasting results in a shorter cooking time and more even cooking. A 10-pound turkey may be done in under two hours when spatchcocked, compared to three or more hours when cooked traditionally.

Butterflying a turkey also makes it easier to manage on a grill or in a smoker.

How to spatchcock a turkey

A sharp, sturdy pair of kitchen shears is the best tool for the job. Once shears have been procured, cooks can follow these guidelines.

1. Remove the gizzards, if applicable, from the inner cavity of the turkey.

2. Flip the bird breastside down on a cutting board and find the backbone in the middle.

3. Cut along one side of the backbone, then repeat on the other. It may take a little strength to power through the rib bones. Save the backbone for making stock or gravy.

4. Flip the turkey breastside up and then use both hands to crack the breastbone and flatten the turkey further.

5. Cut off the wing tips, if desired, or tuck them under the breast. Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan. Turn the legs so that the drumsticks are facing inward on the pan, like the turkey is knocked-kneed.

6. Season and cook until internal temperature at the thigh (not touching the bone) reaches 165 F with a thermometer.

7. Let rest, then cut and enjoy.

Spatchcocking a turkey is a method of flattening the bird that results in a faster cooking time, perfect for busy Thanksgiving cooks.