There! She finally did it! Miss Ginger has been dying to say SPATCHCOCK on her blog since she learned the word… and still wanted to do it even after she learned what it meant!!
Not nearly as dirty as it sounds, "spatchcock" is actually a verb: to "spatchcock" means "to prepare a bird for roasting by removing it's backbone and flattening the carcass." I know, "carcass" doesn't sound very appetizing, unless you are a vulture, but I promise you the results are delish! Oh, and by the way… if you are squeamish about raw meat, you will find the following pics repulsive. But for those of you who are still with me, let's sally forth, shall we?
Miss Ginger spatchcocked the turkey she cooked for Christmas dinner, and actually remembered to photograph most of the process! So, here is Henrietta, cowering before her surgery….
Using poultry shears, Miss Ginger cut along both sides of the backbone to remove it completely. It's not a total waste, however; it goes into the pot with the neck and the giblets to make stock for the gravy and other dishes!
Here's our spineless girl lying supine, with her voluptuous breasts to world. She's not completely spatchcocked yet, though! To finish the surgery, Miss G used the heel of her hand to thrust downward (really hard!) to break the breastbone and flatten the bird completely.
Finally, we tuck the bird's wing tips behind the thighs.
It's just a jump to the left…
and then a step to the right….
with your wings on your thighs….
you pull your knees in tight!
But it's the pelvic thrust
that really drives you in-say-ay-ay-ay-ay-ayne!
Let's do the SPATCHCOCK again!!! Sorry, got carried away there!
This might be a good time to answer the question: why spatchcock at all, aside from the fun of saying it? Miss Ginger can come up with 3 good reasons:
1: Spatchcocking allows you to brine a turkey in a much smaller vessel than would be required for an intact turkey. Not sure about you, but there is not enough room in Miss G's fridge for a 5 gallon bucket.
2: Spatchcocked birds cook much faster than intact birds. You can roast a large turkey in less than 2 hours, freeing up your oven for other dishes,
3: Spatchcocking sort of spreads the skin more evenly, providing a larger expanse of that crispy, golden-brown turkey skin that everyone like to pick at!
If you choose to brine your bird, use a large, rectangular polycarbonate refrigerator container, available from Sam's Club or your local restaurant supply store. Don't use a random plastic container not designated as food-safe, because, well, it's not safe for food. Duh. And don't use metal, because it will react with the brine. Sorry to be so stringent here, but I don't wanna get sued, so follow the rules! Start with a layer of sliced onions in the bottom of the container….
…and then place your bird in her spatchock pose.
Add more sliced onion on top, and a handful or two of peppercorn melange.
Here's Miss Ginger's special Cajun twist… instead of salt, she made her brining liquid with Zatarain's Complete Crab Boil.
2 cups Complete Crab Boil
1 bottle cheap sweet white wine
1 cup cider vinegar
enough water to cover… about 6 cups
Let the bird brine in the fridge for at least 24 hours… no more than about 72 hours. Then take her out, dry her off, and lay her on a baking sheet for the best suntan of her life! Add a sprinkle of poultry seasoning and pop her into the oven until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F. Don't count on the pop-up timer that comes with the bird- they are not reliable and generally cause overcooking.
Miss Ginger actually roasted her Christmas turkey on the grill, since the oven was full, and used a dual-temp thermometer to monitor the oven heat as well as the meat temp to deliver a moist, juicy bird to her FABULOUS holidays guests! Unfortunately, they gobbled it up so quickly she didn't get a photo of the finished product, but she promises, it was delish! So, when are YOU going to spatchcock?!