Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


It is a fact that I am always extremely grateful when someone else cooks. However. The problem with going to someone else's Thanksgiving is that you get sucked into the abyss of other family's weird traditions... and you don't get leftovers. If you ask me the entire point of TDay is the turkey sandwich the next day. We came home from our "official" event empty handed and a little bemused. Something had to be done.

Dinner rolls. Not spatchcock. But they are awesome.

So we did our own thing - yesterday. I'm still a bit under the weather so an all day cooking marathon didn't really appeal to me. I needed something quick, easy, and Turkeylicious. I put an ear to the ground and heard the rumblings of something I really hadn't known anything about. But my pal, S, raved so wildly about it that I had to check it out. Then it took another friend by storm. They couldn't get enough either.

I marched boldly into the kitchen and prepared to spatchcock.

You heard me. Spatchcock, baby. Once you try it you won't go back.

Hands down this is the easiest and most effective turkey cooking method I've ever tried. And I have cooked a lot of turkey in my day. Moist, delicious, crispy skin, and moist meat. It is sublime. I can honestly say this was the best turkey dinner we've had in a long time. Nothing can compare to a bird lovingly cooked by my Grandma Minnie, God rest her soul, but this one was the best bird I've ever made.

Plus how fun is it to say? SPATCHCOCK!

So what is it?

It is a way of cutting the raw carcass in such a way that you can flatten it out for an amazingly quick cooking time. All you need to know can be found in this link. Seriously, the 7 minute video is worth the watch (it's funny and informative and is a great how to.).

Seriously. Just look at them! Light and fluffy, eggy and yeasty.... divine.

The only thing that I disagreed with was that this is not a "lazy" cooking method - I find it "effective." And in all my years I've never even seen anyone bring a whole bird to the table..... so "lack of dramatic presentation" is not a factor.

Basically you cut the backbone (and the wishbone) out of the carcass then "butterfly" it, that is, lay it out flat. Cook on a rack on a tray in a high heat oven... and we had our bird done in a little over an hour.

Because we had a store turkey (it was such a bargain!) I did not use his "done at 150*" recommendation. The official "done" temp should be 165* for all parts. If it was one of our birds, processed here, we would have used a slightly lower temperature. Why? Commercial raised turkeys can be raised in abysmal conditions. Even in the best circumstances turkeys can be filthy birds so you want to make sure you kill any bad bugs with thorough cooking. But even with the 165* this was the most moist and delicious bird ever. No regrets.

A few things I did differently was that I took off the wings and used those, back, the neck, and one of the legs to make stock. I knew that I'd want good gravy so I skimmed off the fat while the stock simmered and used that as the fat plus flour to make the roux. This turned out terrific. Ruhlman does a great gravy tutorial here.

My friend S said that she soaked her bird in buttermilk the night before - so I did also and added salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaves. This worked our really well but brining is not required at all.

We liked this method so much that I may never use any other way of cooking a turkey or any other whole bird. One of my pals says that he spatchcocks chickens while butchering then kind of rolls them up to put in the freezer. That way they can easily be defrosted and laid out for an excellent roast chicken.

The aftermath of when I dropped cookie dough on the floor. I was advised by a bunch of weisenheimers on 'the facebook' to apply bourbon. So I did. Note my shot glass is a little measuring cup.

So where are my pix? No one will take better pictures then on this link, seriously. Plus it was dark when we ate and my bad kitchen lighting is horrible. But picture if you will a stunningly roasted bird, fragrant gravy, and all the trimmings. And best of all? So many leftovers.

Happy Sunday everyone! Were you subjected to someone else's weird family traditions? Quick! Run out and get a turkey on sale then spatchcock that bad boy. I tell you the truth, you will not go back to traditional roasting again!

Update! Here is the link for the roll recipe.

Note: Sometimes folks want to know what tools I use - so here is a list. This is also what is shown in the video.

If you don't have them, you really need a good pair of Kitchen Shears. I use them all the time.
This is my favorite paring knife.I use it for everything from peeling potatoes to skinning pigz. It is always in my hand.
Due to badassery, I have this bad boy too. It's totally fun.
I have about half a dozen of these Commercial Baker's Half Sheet pans. I use them for butchering, meat processing, freezing stuff flat, and oh yeah - for baking stuff too. They are not non-stick so I use parchment paper.
These these wire cooling racks are invaluable.They fit with the half sheet pans. I use them for baking and also for keeping over interested cats out of my all-day-simmering stock.

Editors note: Yeah I know.. another post with some affiliate links. What does that mean? It means that I get a tiny portion of the sale when you click on one of the links, go to the Amazon page, and purchase something. It can be anything - books, movies, a cool hat, or something you need from Amazon anyway. Just give a click - you can use the black search box on the right side of this post to find what you are looking for.  If you like this blog, or if I've helped you at all in your farming efforts, just make a purchase from Amazon from one of the links, my store, or the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. I can't see who purchases what or any of the details. If you use these links THANKS for your support!


1 comment:

Unknown said...

We hosted a potluck here and only had a little turkey left. Since I knew that would happen I got a "free" turkey earlier. Roasting today :) I saw this, similar, but different-
and decided to try it. Same thing as yours but cut before you roast. Makes sense! Then later more dressing, taters and gravy!!!

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