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The Best Thanksgiving Turkey | Pickle Jar Studios | Design, Food, Photography

This Thanksgiving turkey will be the talk of the table! Aside from a few dirty jokes (depending on the type of family/guests you have) this turkey will be the talk because it’s seriously delicious, juicy and flavorful. Also – it’s FAST. About 90 minutes or less to turkey heaven!

When you need a juicy, tender, and no-fail way to cook a turkey, look no further than the flat roasted method (aka Spatchcock!) also a very funny way to talk about turkey and sure to make for many dirty jokes this holiday season. 

Don’t let this method intimidate you – all you need are some sharp poultry shears, and you got this! Here’s all the details on how to make this years turkey memorable: 

TIPS for the BEST Thanksgiving Turkey: 

  1. Select the best quality bird that you can and don’t buy a huge bird! (if you can, don’t buy a huge bird – the meat is not as tender. Aim for 10-15lbs for optimal juiciness!) The bird I have here is lucky #13 lbls! 
  2. Spatchcock the bird and then… 
  3. Do a dry brine. (aka Salted Bird) for 24-48 hours. Put the bird is in your fridge, butterflied and salted, for 2 whole days. This is going to make the meat super flavorful and juicy and it will help the skin get crispy!
  4. Cook on higher heat 450 degrees, for about 90 minutes, butterflied on a large rack and sheet pan. Until the thigh registered 165 on an instant read thermometer. Just remember, Stick in the thigh, cook to 165.  I used this giant sheet pan I bought online or you can go to a kitchen supply store. This pan is 15 x 21 vs. the typical 12×17. 
  5. Make stock and gravy ahead of time so all you have to do is reheat when it’s EAT time!

I have a couple tools that I love to use with this method: 

Poultry Shears: 

Trust me, these are worth getting! I have done this with a knife, but shears are way easier! These poultry shears by OXO are super great for turkey and processing chicken, too. 

Large Baking Sheet: 

I used this one by Nordic Ware. It’s bigger then the standard baking sheet so your turkey will have plenty of room! 

Large Metal Rack: 

I think I got mine at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, but here’s something similar. You don’t want a non-stick coating here. For cookies or recipes like this, you’ll find yourself reaching for this handy rack! 

 

Here are all the recipes step by step: 

The Best Thanksgiving Turkey (Spatchcocked Turkey)

This makes the most delicious turkey that you can prep ahead of time. AND it cooks faster than a traditional roasted turkey, with moist breast meat and crispy skin.
Prep Time2 days 20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Thanksgiving
Servings: 12
Author: darlene@picklejarstudios.com

Equipment

  • 1 Poultry Shears or Sharp Knife
  • 1 Large Cutting Board
  • 1 Large Sheet Pan
  • 1 Metal Rack Rack needs to fit be able to fit inside the sheet pan
  • 1 Meat Thermometer
  • 1 Oven

Ingredients

  • 1 10-15 lbs Turkey (thawed)
  • 4-6 TBSP Kosher Salt
  • 1 TBSP Oil, such as canola or safflower

Instructions

How to Spatchcock (Butterfly) the Turkey

  • 2 days before you are having your holiday feast, make sure your turkey is thawed. Let it rest at room temperature and set up your cutting board with your poultry shears nearby. Place your rack inside your baking sheet and set nearby.
  • Remove all packaging from the turkey and any plastic pop-up timers or leg holders. Remove and set aside the giblets, and neck.
  • Flip the turkey breast side down and starting at the tail end, use the poultry shears, cut along the backbone, opening up the bird. Then cut along the other side of the backbone to completely remove it. The best guide for watching this is https://www.seriouseats.com/butterfiled-roast-turkey-with-gravy-recipe from which this recipe is even more simplified. Set the backbone aside with the giblets and neck for use in the stock/gravy.
  • Now butterfly the turkey open and put on your cutting board breast side up. With the palm of your hand, or using both hands, firmly press down to break the breast bone and flatten the center of the turkey as much as you can.
  • Set the now spatchcocked turkey on the prepared rack and baking sheet and salt liberally with kosher salt, on the skin, as well as in between the skin and meat. You can gently get in between the skin and meat and rub salt direcly on meat - this will increase the whole dry brining process!
  • Cover with plastic wrap and clear off a shelf in your fridge - this bird gets refridgerated for 24-48 hours (48 hrs recommended!)

Roasting the Turkey

  • Remove the turkey from the fridge and remove plastic wrap.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°. Rub the turkey with the oil. Insert an instant read thermometer in the thigh and set it to 165° (if you don't have one, just take tempurature readings at 30 min. intervals.)
  • Roast the turkey, rotating your tray every 20-30 minutes, until the thigh registers 165° and the breast is at 150°

Notes

If your turkey is pre-brined or smoked, skip the salting step. You could still remove backbone and make gravy ahead, but this could happen at any point rather then a full 48 hours before. 

 

Make-Ahead Turkey Stock in the Pressure Cooker

I like using the next, giblets and removed backbone from my Spatchcocked Turkey for this recipe. I can make this two full days ahead and then use it in Make-Ahead Gravey or in my stuffing or other Thanksgiving recipes. Of course, it's amazing in turkey soup as well!
Cook Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Thanksgiving
Servings: 12
Author: darlene@picklejarstudios.com

Equipment

  • 1 Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker
  • 1 Pair of Kitchen Tongs
  • 1 Chef Knife
  • 1 Cutting Board

Ingredients

  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 4 ribs Celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves Garlic, smashed
  • 6 cups water
  • Assorted Turkey parts (neck, backbone, giblets or wings)
  • 1 bunch assorted poultry herbs (thyme, sage, parsley or rosemary)

Instructions

  • Set your pressure cooker to the saute function. Brown the turkey parts in the cooker until they are golden brown.
  • Add in the chopped vegetables and herbs (don't worry about tieing them together, we'll strain stock later). Stir in the water.
  • Put the lid on and set to high pressure for 60 minutes.
  • Let the pressure naturally release for 30 minutes, then manually release the rest of the pressure.
  • Strain the stock in to a large container and let cool, then refridgerate.
  • When you are ready to use, skim the fat of the top of the stock and then use in soup or gravy as desired.

 

Make ahead gravy

Use the Make Ahead Turkey stock for this recipe if you can!
Cook Time30 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Thanksgiving
Servings: 12
Author: darlene@picklejarstudios.com

Equipment

  • 1 Stock pan or saute pan
  • 1 whisk

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 TBSP Butter
  • 2 cups turkey stock
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 TSP apple cider vinegar (optional)
  • 1 TSP dried herbs of choice such as sage, parsley, rosemary or poultry seasoning blend
  • 1 TSP pepper (to taste)
  • 1 TSP salt (to taste)

Instructions

  • In the saucepan over medium low heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook until its light brown in color and looks like a paste.
  • Slowly add in the stock, I like to go 1/4 cup at a time at first, so the gravy stays nicely blended. You could also heat the stock separatley first to keep it from getting lumpy.
  • Add in the milk and the vinegar if using.
  • Heat over medium heat, whisking frequently, until it is to your desired thickness and reduced.
  • Add in the herbs and salt and pepper. If the gravy isn't thick enough at this point you can dissolve 1 teaspoon of cornstarch into 1 teaspoon of cold water, and slowly add it to the gravy while whisking. Cook a little longer to thicken and serve.

 


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