Holiday cooking can take many forms, and without a doubt turkey is the superstar. It can be brined, roasted, fried, grilled, slow-cooked, smoked or spatchcocked.
Last week I shared my timeline to help holiday cooks organize for the Thanksgiving meal. Today I’m talking turkey and sharing how to cook a spatchcock or butterflied bird. Spatchcock turkeys are not difficult to cook—you remove the turkey backbone, flatten it so that it is “spread eagle,” season and roast* it in an open shallow pan. The ChowChow & Soul™ podcast shows you each step.
I’ve seasoned the turkey with a dry rub and fresh thyme. As with any turkey, use a meat thermometer to make sure it is not overcooked. Cook it to 165°-170°F in the turkey breast and 180°F in the turkey thigh. Let the turkey stand about 20 minutes before carving it and you’re ready to serve.
* A spatchcocked turkey can also be cooked on a grill.
Spatchcock Turkey with Herb Garlic Rub
1 8-12 pound turkey, thawed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1-1/2-2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Place turkey breast down on cutting board. Using kitchen or poultry shears, cut into turkey along both sides of turkey backbone. Remove backbone. Turn turkey over, breast up; cut away turkey tail and set aside. Place heel of hand over turkey breast and press down firmly until breast bone breaks. Place turkey breast up on flat rack in shallow roasting pan. Turn wings back tucking under turkey.
Combine vegetable oil, garlic, paprika and thyme leaves, mixing to blend. Brush lightly with vegetable oil. Rub paprika mixture generously over turkey. Bake at 325°F, until thermometer reads 165°-170°F in turkey breast and 180°F in turkey thigh. (Start checking the temperature after 1-1/2 hours.) Remove and let stand 20 minutes before slicing.
Editorial note: I am a former food editor of Southern Living and Ebony magazines, and editor of Special Fork. I‘m also a spokesperson for the toll-free Butterball Turkey Talk-Line®, 1-800-Butterball.