The Quickest, Juiciest Turkey Recipe
Is this the perfect turkey recipe? The truth is, there is no one best way to cook a turkey, but this method comes close. Juicy thigh and breast meat, a subtle note of garlic butter and loads of crispy skin make this recipe a festive season heavy hitter.
As the holidays approach, the anticipation of a succulent, perfectly cooked turkey takes centre stage. There are countless ways to tackle the task, but if you’re after a no-nonsense, quick-and-easy route to juicy meat and ultra-crisp skin, spatchcocking is the secret ingredient. This turkey recipe will walk you through the process, ensuring that your turkey steals the show with even cooking, faster roasting, and flavour-packed results.
The Spatchcocking Revolution: The Sectret to the Best Turkey Recipe
Let’s address the elephant in the room: What on earth is spatchcocking? Well, as far as turkey recipes go, it’s a game-changer.
Essentially, spatchcocking involves removing the backbone of the turkey, transforming it into a flattened wonder that cooks more evenly, more quickly, and tastes better. If wielding a knife isn’t your thing, fret not; your friendly butcher can take care of spatchcocking for you.
The benefits of spatchcocking include:
- Even cooking: The flattened turkey ensures that both the light and dark meat reach their optimal cooked temperatures simultaneously.
- Juicier meat: With the bird spread out, the juices circulate more evenly, keeping every bite moist and flavourful.
- Crisper skin: The skin, now all on top, in one even layer, crisps up beautifully during roasting, delivering a symphony of crunch with every mouthful.
- Faster cooking: A spatchcocked turkey takes less time in the oven, making it the ideal choice for those who want their feast pronto.
Prepping the Turkey: A Symphony of Flavour
One to two days before cooking: Before this turkey recipe’s magic begins, set aside any squeamish feelings and prepare your turkey. Follow our steps for spatchcocking or order it already spatchcocked. Save the bone trimmings for our flavour-packed gravy or freeze them for future culinary adventures.
Dry bringing: No, it’s not a fancy dance move. Dry brining involves rubbing the turkey with a mixture of salt and spices. Pop it onto a tray, leave it uncovered in the fridge for one to two days, and let the skin dry out for a roasting masterpiece.
Garlic butter under the skin: Getting the herbed garlic butter under the turkey skin ensures maximum flavour infusion and a lusciously moist bird. So knuckle down and get it into every joint.
Room temperature rest: On the big day, let your turkey sit out for one to two hours to reach room temperature. Placing it spatchcocked onto a rack over a pan of seasonal veggies ensures an even cook.
Pan drippings magic: Elevate your turkey game by adding chopped vegetables and a splash of water beneath the roasting turkey. This not only prevents burning but also adds aroma and flavour to the pan drippings, perfect for enhancing your gravy. Looking for a great gravy recipe- find ours here!
The Maillard Reaction: A Flavourful Alchemy
The Maillard reaction is the culinary magic that happens when proteins and sugars in meat and vegetables react during cooking.
It is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that gives browned foods their characteristic flavour and colour. It occurs when these compounds are subjected to heat, resulting in a complex series of reactions that create the rich, savory flavours and brown hues in foods like roasted vegetables, toasted bread, and roast meat.
This process creates the golden-brown crust on your turkey and imparts a depth of flavour to your vegetables, elevating your entire roast.
Serving, Sides, and Leftovers
Carving a spatchcocked turkey is a breeze. Follow the flattened shape, and separate the breast and thigh meat for an impressive presentation.
For sensational seasonal sides to accompany this turkey recipe, I recommend:
- Honey-Glazed Carrots with Dates and Pecans
- Smoked Cheese Potato Bake Perfection
- Grilled Asparagus with Tomato Salad & Tahini Sauce
Don’t let those leftovers go to waste! From turkey sandwiches to hearty soups, the options are endless. And transform the turkey carcass and bone trimmings into a rich homemade stock for future soups or stews. Waste not, want not!
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this gluten-free
This incredible turkey recipe is naturally gluten free!
Can this turkey recipe be made ahead of time?
It can, but by spatchcocking the turkey it cooks much faster than traditional methods.
If opting to make this ahead of time, I would advise cooking it in the morning on the day of serving, as storing the meat in the fridge will alter the texture and succulence. Cook and carve the turkey as directed, then place in a roasting tin, cover in pan juices to keep the turkey moist, and cover in foil. Heat in a low ovencovered in the juices until warmed through. Note the skin will lose its crisp.
What is brining?
Brining is a culinary technique that involves soaking meat in a solution of water, salt, sugar, and sometimes additional flavourings before cooking. This process is designed to enhance the flavour, tenderness, and moisture content of the meat, resulting in a juicier and more flavourful end product. In our recipe we use dry brining. This is my preferred method, as it yields great results, without too much fuss. Personally I find the skin is crispier with this method.
What is Wet Brining?
Wet brining involves submerging the turkey (or other meats) in a solution of water, salt, sugar, and various flavorings for an extended period, typically 12 to 24 hours. The solution works its way into the meat through osmosis, enhancing moisture retention and flavour.
- Moisture tetention: The salt in the brine helps the turkey retain more moisture during the cooking process, resulting in juicier meat.
- Flavour infusion: The extended soaking in the brine allows the turkey to absorb the flavours of the added ingredients, such as herbs, spices, and aromatics, enhancing its taste.
- Texture improvement: Wet brining can improve the texture of the meat, making it more tender and less prone to dryness.
Dry brining, also known as salt curing or pre-salting, involves rubbing the turkey with a mixture of salt and sometimes other seasonings. The turkey is then left uncovered in the refrigerator for an extended period, allowing the salt to penetrate the meat.
- Convenience: Dry brining is often considered more convenient than wet brining. There’s no need for a large container or excess liquid, making it easier to manage.
- Crispier skin: The dry environment in the refrigerator helps to dry out the turkey’s skin, promoting crispiness during roasting. This is particularly beneficial for those who enjoy a golden-brown, crunchy skin.
- Improved flavour: Similar to wet brining, dry brining enhances the turkey’s flavor by allowing the salt and other seasonings to permeate the meat. The concentration of flavours can be more pronounced in dry brining.
- Reduced drip loss: Dry brining can lead to less drip loss during cooking compared to wet brining, as the turkey hasn’t absorbed excess water.
Why is it necessary to let the turkey rest before carving?
Allowing the turkey to rest is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it allows the juices within the meat to redistribute, ensuring a moist and flavorful bird. Additionally, resting helps the internal temperature of the turkey to stabilize, resulting in more even cooking.
How long should I let the turkey rest?
It’s generally recommended to let the turkey rest for about 20 minutes. This short resting period allows the juices to settle without the turkey losing too much heat.
Can I skip the resting step and carve the turkey immediately?
While it’s tempting, carving the turkey immediately can lead to juices escaping, leaving the meat drier. Patience during the resting process is rewarded with a more succulent and enjoyable turkey.
What can I do to keep the turkey warm while it’s resting?
To keep the turkey warm during the resting phase, you can tent it loosely with aluminium foil or place it in a warming drawer. This helps to maintain the optimal serving temperature without overcooking the meat.