Easy as Surgery

There are words that roll off the tongue like a cloud or a smokey jellybean; words like “slither”, “effervescent” or “pelt” and there are words that get stuck in your gums like “worchestire” or “amaranth”. But then there are words that feel good to say.  Almost like cussing but without the offense.  Words like: “Spatchcock!”  I can’t even write it without an exclamation point.

Here’s the wiki definition for Spatchcock! – A spatchcock, otherwise known as “spattlecock”, is poultry or game that has been prepared for roasting or grilling by removing the backbone  of the bird and flattening it out before cooking.[1] The preparation of a bird in such a manner for cooking may also be known as butterflying the bird.

Well, guess what we did with our turkey?  You’ll never guess.  Oh, you think you know?  Ok, well tell me, but don’t forget to shout.

Yes, we spatchcocked our turkey this year, as we’ve done in the past, but this time we grilled it.  I will most likley only be eating turkey this way from now on.  Here’s the low-down:

You will need a completely thawed or fresh turkey.  (Ours was an almost 8lb heritage.) You will also need a pair of serious kitchen “pruners” or “poultry shears”.  These suckers have torque, which will come in handy.

1. Put aside the gizzards and neck for stock but don’t start the stock yet.  You’ll want to use the backbone!  Cut up either side of the backbone and completely remove it. If you’re husband is anything like mine, he will gladly do this since “the feel of cutting through bone makes me feel strong…and sort of like a surgeon.” (You may have to cut the backbone in half to fit it in your stock pot.)

2. Then you flip your bird over, break its sternum and position it like you’re robbing a toll booth and your turkey is the ticket-taker.  Martha explains it all right here. Don’t forget the olive-oil rubdown.  You know its your favorite part. Have it all set up on an upside-down baking sheet.

3. Now for the grilling: Please use charcoal.  That’s all I’m going to say about that, cuz if you use gas you’re not going to listen anyway.

Gently and quickly slide your turkey on to your prepared grill.  Prepared how?  Why, with indirect heat! Yes! What does it mean?  How indirect? Cousin Vinny wants to tell you a secret  in the cellar-indirect?  or  That 25lbs you’ve gained makes you look sooooo much younger-indirect? Turns out this is a pretty forgiving concept.  Just keep the coals from being directly under the turkey as much as possible.  Vent and close the lid while trying to maintain a temp of 300 – 325.   My bird took 50 minutes. (plus 15 to rest) A 15lb bird will take 75 minutes (plus 20 to rest).  We had to add more coals after 35 minutes, which required less grace thought it would. Some “grill-mitts” and a chimney starter full of hot coals at the ready was all we needed.  Luckily, the yard didn’t catch fire. (that’s so not even funny)

I did not need a knife to carve the thing.  I gently lifted a leg have a look at where I should cut, and it fell off.  LIKE ROTISSERIE CHICKEN. Needless to say it was delicious, as was the gravy made from the stock, made from the neck, backbone and gizzards. (and some sherry, and some butter, which frankly makes everything better.)

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Now, please don’t wait another year to cook a turkey again.  There’s no law saying you can’t make on this weekend. That’s our plan.  This time we’re gonna smoke it!  I’ll update you.

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