Monday, November 23, 2009

I've Died (part one)...

...and gone to turkey heaven.

Every year since my husband and I tied the knot we have been on a quest to cook the perfect holiday bird. We watch the Food Network and take copious notes. We scour magazine recipes looking for tips and hints. We search the internet for prized tricks. And every year we get closer and closer to perfecting our technique.

This year was no exception.

It started with some salt. About a cups worth.

And then some brown sugar.

And molasses, naturally.

Followed by the trifecta of holiday herbs: rosemary, sage, and thyme.

These ingredients create the brine. That's right: brine. It's basically a soak for the turkey. Like a bath, only for Thanksgiving poultry.

And here is the bird. This one is about 12 lbs and has been sitting in the fridge defrosting for several days.

My handy helper is now rinsing the turkey. He gets very excited about turkey.

Very excited.

Now comes the Big Dunk.

See it soaking so happily in that brown brine-y goodness? From here it goes into the fridge for 24 hours.

After the customary soak, we decided to try something new this year. Martha calls it "spatchcocking," but of course normal people simply call it butterflying.

I promised to use the latter phrase because my husband feels uncomfortable with the term "spatchcock."
For some unexplainable reason it makes him squirm.... Okay, maybe it is explainable.

It starts with some heavy duty poultry shears. These basically look like pruners, and they're needed to cut the backbone out of the turkey.

Once cut, you flip the bird and break the breastbone. For some reason this is a particularly satisfying chore for a man. I think it's the cracking sound.

Then you tuck the wings under the sides and prepare it to cook.

Butterflying the turkey cuts the cooking time in about half,
which sounded perfect for us since we decided to ditch the oven entirely this year and head out to the patio grill.

But more on that tomorrow...

What is your favorite turkey recipe? Share by posting your comments here!


  1. I actually ripped this out of said Martha Stewart mag!! Was going to try it but opted for a 19lb bird, we're suckers for leftovers! And since we have ham for christmas-we're going to save it for a non-holiday with a smaller turkey. The pictures Martha took looked so good. Do let us all know how yours turns out, photos and all... ~Stacie Lou

  2. Dang -- I'm so excited for Thanksgiving! How did the artichoke parmesan dressing turn out? Please don't make me wait!


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