You are pretty happy with the way you roast turkey. For years you’ve worked on perfecting your recipe and technique to present a juicy, tasty bird that looks beautiful on your dinner table. Your guests sing your praises because it’s no easy task, it took hours to prepare, and you’ve wowed them with a flavorful meal. No one ever takes turns hosting Thanksgiving dinner because it’s a given they will be spending that day at your place. Why would you ever change a thing?
If you identify with the scenario above, then you can probably stop reading now. It’s okay, it won’t hurt my feelings.
But if you find yourself at the intersection of Tradition Ave. and Oven St. yet again, and you’re ready for a change, you’re not far from Spatchcock Rd.
“I’m sorry, what road?”
Spatchcock Rd. It does indeed intersect Oven St., but we highly recommend making a right turn on that road, and heading out to the vast fields and scenic views of BBQ Country where options abound.
There, you’ll find that a spatchcocked turkey on a BBQ pit, while not the most common cooking method, yields quite a delicious and very lovely bird that’s sure to please.
Here’s how we prepared our spatchcocked turkey.
First things first, we had to remove the guts – I mean, the innards, all that gizzards and neck business. I had a hard time writing that without gagging. I realize lots of people like that part. Me? No, thanks. That’s enough of that. End paragraph.
Okay, we cut all along the backbone on both sides until it was taken out completely. We also trimmed the tail, wing tips, and excess fat. The best way to accomplish this is with a sharp pair of poultry scissors. But if you’re not the kitchen gadget type, don’t go reaching for the scissors you’ve owned since elementary school. Just use a knife. And use that knife carefully. I don’t mean to sound like your mother, but this can be a tricky task the first time.
And then we flattened that turkey. Yes sir, that fattened turkey got flattened. Give it a firm, solid push like you mean it. Engage those muscles – they should be pretty strong by now since you’ve spent 11 months using that gym membership you got for your New Year’s resolution. What’s that? You mean, you don’t… it’s fine, in a few weeks you can renew your resolution (a.k.a. membership). In any event, use some strength to break those bones and get the bird really flat. Goodbye, wishbone. Make it look like a semi rolled over it. But not so much that it resembles road kill.
We seasoned both sides of the re-shaped carcass with one of our NEW seasonings. Oh, yes, I’m serious. Actually, there are TWO new Texas Flame and Smoke flavors coming your way very soon, friends. And we are pretty sure, like 98.5789% sure, you’re gonna like ’em.
Getting back to our flat bird, we used a dry brine process.
After 4 cold, lonely hours – for the turkey – we were enjoying the mild temps and sunshine in the company of friends – we removed it from cold storage. We did not rinse the brine, and we did not add salt to the rub we prepared for the next step. The rub consisted of a stick of softened butter (mmm, must have butter), a tbsp of ancho chili powder, and blackstrap molasses. You could opt for a hefty coat of brown sugar instead of molasses, it might be more of a crowd pleaser. We patted the mixture on this once gobbling gobbler, and rubbed top and bottom. Another 45 min were allowed to let all that goop stick “rillgud.”
When 45 minutes are up, run-don’t-walk to get your beautiful creation on the pit. You’ve already clocked several hours and have a few more to go so hurry, hurry, get that baby cooking. We waited an agonizing 3.5 hours while our bird cooked at 325 degrees. The cooking time for your bird may be different depending on the size. If you are feeding a large group, you may want to go for two small turkeys rather than an ostrich-sized beast.
Oh, and start with the breast down. We wanted a nice crust and a moist, delicious turkey, so we placed it in the pit, breast down, and later turned it over to finish cooking. If you don’t care to distinguish eating turkey meat from downing half a can of panko breadcrumbs, then dry might be your thing – cook it however you like.
In the end, you will have arrived in the quaint town of Flavor. Stay a while. The traffic at Tradition and Oven might be backed up with green bean and sweet potato casseroles anyway. And I’m willing to bet your guests will ooh-ahh your efforts as they behold this golden brown work of poultry art you’ve proudly, yet gratefully set on the dinner table for all.