Mark’s Thanksgiving Turkey

Every other year Im responsible for the turkey for my family. This year I decided to try spatchcocking the turkey.

“Spatchcocking” refers to the cooking method of removing the backbone and laying the turkey out flat. The idea is that the meat gets cooked at a much more even rate, as opposed to cooking the turkey whole where the breasts and legs are each in very different temperature zones. Its a cooking method that intrigued me, so why not try a new experiment for some small gathering like Thanksgiving, with a 17lb bird?

This year I went with a fresh turkey from Ho-Ka Farms in Waterman, IL. Our 17.56lb friend arrived fully cleaned and packaged, on Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

Tuesday night I started up the brine.

▪ 2 Gallons of Water

▪ 1 1/2 Cups of Kosher Salt

▪ 1 Cup of Brown Sugar

▪ 1 Cup of Dark Molasses

▪ 1 Cup of Honey

▪ 1/2 Cup BBQ Dry Rub

▪ 2 TBS Whole Black Pepper Corns

▪2 TBS Rosemary

Once I finished making the brine, i set it outside in the freezing cold with a lid on it to accelerate the cooling. Then i poured it over the cleaned turkey along with an additional 1.5 gallons of purified drinking water. Bagged and dropped into the Pelican cooler with ice. I set it outside in the 30*F weather for 24 hours.

The next evening, about 22 hours later, I removed the turkey from the brine and rinsed it thoroughly.

Next began the spatchcocking, and removal of the backbone. I used a pair of strong kitchen shears to do the work. Cutting through the bones is a bit of a task.

After removal of the backbone, i patted the entire bird down thoroughly with paper towels, and placed it into the refrigerator to dry overnight.

The next morning, I woke up and rubbed down the turkey with our competition rub – half cumin + poultry seasoning.

Refrigerated for a few hours, then pulled it about 30 minutes before throwing it onto the smoker, and injected it with 2 sticks of garlic butter.

Sprayed with Pam Olive Oil spray and onto the smoker, at about 300-325*F.

After about 2 hours.

It reached target temperature (>165*F) on the entire turkey after about 3 hours and 45 minutes. The dark meat cooked a little faster due to the higher fat content, but none of the dark meat was hotter than about 178*F.

I let it rest for about 20 minutes, then carved.

The meat was absolutely delicious, and the entire family was raving. Very moist and tender. The one thing is that I wish the skin was crispier. Looks like next time I do the turkey I may need to crank up the heat to about 375 for the last hour or so.

Accompanying the turkey was a cranberry bbq sauce, cornbread stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and mac n cheese. I also tossed a ham onto the smoker for about 45 minutes. That was delicious, as well as extremely simple.

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