Home Ec: Thanksgiving Basics--Spatchcocked Turkey with Herbs and Butter

photo source: Martha Stewart Living

Spatchcocked Turkey with Herbs and Butter

1 14-16 pound turkey
8 ounces (2 sticks) of butter, sliced lengthwise into 4 slices each
¼ cup sage leaves, picked
¼ cup parsley leaves, picked
8 sprigs thyme

Two days before you plan to cook, spatchcock and season the bird. 

First, remove the neck, giblets and liver from the bird.  Reserve the neck for stock, and if you like, the giblets and liver for gravy or another use. 

With heavy duty kitchen shears, snip down along both sides of the spine (the underside of the bird) to remove it.  You can start from the tail or neck end, whichever you prefer.

Once you’ve removed the spine, reserve it for stock as well. 

Lay the turkey flat on the cutting board and push down on the breastbone until you hear a pop. 

Place a few whole sage leaves, parsley leaves and thyme sprigs on each slice of butter. 

Season the bird on both sides generously with salt, and if you like, pepper. 

Flip the bird over so it’s right side up and from the bottom of the breast, gently wedge your fingers in under the skin to separate the skin from the membrane which holds it to the meat.  Work gently so as not to tear the skin. 

Carefully slide 3 or 4 slices of butter, herb-side-up under the skin over the breast.  Replace the skin. 

Place the turkey in a plastic bag and return to the fridge. 

On the day you plan to cook the bird, remove it from the fridge 4 hours in advance to come up to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Place the bird, breast side up, in a large roasting pan on the bottom rack.  After 30 minutes reduce the heat to 375°F for another 45 minutes, turning the pan 180°.  Once the bird is golden brown, reduce the heat to 350°F and continue cooking until the juices at the thigh joint run clear (or the temperature registers at 160°F on a meat thermometer), about another 30-45 minutes. 

Let rest, covered with foil, for 10 minutes before carving. 

Serves 14-16

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