Thanksgiving Files: Turkey and All the Sides

Spatchcock Turkey finish

It’s that time of year again, here are the links to all the Thanksgiving recipes and my still favorite way to roast a turkey. I prepped one last night, the hour-plus cooking time takes much of the stress out of turkey roasting. My Thanksgiving is going to be a bit different this year, so I wanted to make sure I had leftover turkey.

I’m also thinking this may be this year’s Christmas Eve party menu. We’ll see. And starting in December, I’ll be posting food gift recipes, just in time for your cookie platters and tins.

From 2015:

This is the only way I’ve been preparing turkey since my first attempt. The only thing I changed up from that first time I prepared it, I skip the metal rack and instead place the bird on a bed of carrots, celery and onion. With the shorter cooking time, the flavor needs the boost the roasting veggies add. The brown sugar not only helps brown the skin, it also adds a yummy, unexpected flavor. Continue reading

The Big Day Is Here

Spatchcock Turkey finish

I get an extra day for prep, for which I am very Thankful. It’s been so busy I’d never have made it if I had to serve dinner today. We’ll be eating our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. So today, I have a full, relaxed day to cook, walk the dogs and put the finishing touches on the house.

I decided to use the spatchcock recipe this year. I’ll be cooking it on a bed of carrots, onions and celery.

BTW, my recommendation is to always get two smaller birds instead of one massive bird – you’ll have a much better outcome with shorter cooking times. Not to mention not having to worry about fitting a huge bird in the oven. You can do an oven bird, then grill, smoke or fry another.

For this recipe, a good set of poultry shears makes quick work of removing the backbone. I’ll prep the bird today, wrapped it up and refrigerated it.

Spatchcock Turkey Prep

Roasted Spatchcock Turkey

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 whole turkey (10-12 pounds)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Rimmed baking sheet, rack

In a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, crush together pepper, salt, sage and rosemary and add to brown sugar. Set aside.

With a sharp knife or scissors, remove the back bone of the turkey, flip over and press down on the breast bone to break and flatten. I wasn’t quite strong enough, so I turned the bird over, scored the bone, flipped it back and tried again, this time it broke easily. I then trimmed off the wing tips. See my notes below on what to do with the back and wing tips.

Place the bird flat, breast side up, on the rack in the baking sheet. Rub with spice mix and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Before cooking drizzle olive oil over turkey and roast for 1 hour or until the temperature of the thickest part of the breast reaches 160 degrees. Remove from the oven, tent with foil and let rest for 30 minutes (during this time the bird temperature will reach 165 degrees and thighs should be 175 degrees).

Carve and serve.

NOTES: I took the back, wing tips, neck and giblets, covered them with water and simmered them for about an hour. I then used the broth for both the stuffing and gravy. I also cooked the stuffing in the oven, in a baking dish, uncovered, with the turkey. They finished up about the same time.

This year, I’ll skip the metal rack and instead will use a roasting pan and place the bird on a bed of carrots, celery and onion. With the shorter cooking time, the flavor could use the boost. I do feel this is a great technique for wood grilling or smoking.

Today I’ll also prep Cranberry/Apple Sauce (recipe to follow in a later post), make the Pumpkin Cream Pie (recipe here), prep the stuffing and put together two loaves of Slow-Rise Bread  (recipe here) to bake for sandwiches over the weekend. I’m also making Cucumber Salsa (recipe here) and Garden Salsa (recipe here) so I can use up the last of my tomato harvest and serve with chips as an appetizer. I’m also going to make the gravy ahead of time. So that leaves just roasting the turkey, making the potatoes, and green bean casserole for tomorrow. Makes for a very low stress holiday meal.

More Recipes: We have a bunch, a peck, a bushel, of Thanksgiving recipes, including my favorite Upside-Down Cranberry Cake (here), No Boil Mashed Potatoes (here), and Non-Traditional Sides (here), click on this link for all the other recipes or search by name or ingredient in the search box at the bottom of the blog.

I’ll update you on the cooking progress as I go today.

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!  – TaMara

Spatchcock Turkey finish