Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Spatchcocking the Bird

I read a lot about turkey prep this year. A lot. Brining wet or dry, brining at all? What to do with so many choices and ideas and divergent views. One poster swore that the wet brine diluted the flavor of the bird and should be avoided. I had a whole bird about 10 pounds and a breast about 9 pounds. I wet brined the bird and dry brined the breast.

I also read about the way of cooking to ensure the thighs and breast were at the proper temperature on the same bird. The breast needs to be about 150 to 165 while the thighs need a higher temp to be done. The poster suggested spatchcocking the bird  to ensure an even cooking in much less time. He was right on the money. I let the breast come to 145-150 while the thighs reached 165. Removal form the oven and covered, the temps climbed and additional 10 degrees or more. So how to spatchcock a bird?
Spatchcocked bird. I later placed it on a rack before roasting at 400 for about 60 minutes. Use a thermometer. The timer never popped (a good thing)

Remove its backbone, arrange it's legs and press down the breast till a satisfying crack is heard. Done. Super easy with a set of shears, just snip out the backbone.

The wet brined bird was by far juicier and tasty. The dry brined bird was also tasty but not quite so juicy but not dry at all. I am sticking with the wet brine but I sacrifice the crispy skin I could have if I had not soaked the bird in water for hours. Oh well, the skin is fleeting but the meat endures.

The brine this year? Salt, sugar, rosemary and an orange I had squeezed for the cranberries. Pretty simply, 24 hours. Juicy meat, seasoned well with a hint of sweetness. 

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