Spatchcock (Butterflied) Roast Turkey
Roasting turkey this way will change your Thanksgiving life forever.  Sure, you many not have a traditional looking turkey, but he still looks grand (well, as any turkey can get).  You be the judge but I think this guy's gorgeous spatchcocked...  All he is is butterflied!  After initially cutting him up with kitchen shears, which I admit is the hardest part, the rest is cake.  Your cooking time is cut in HALF.  What does that mean?  A super moist turkey.  And, no more waking up at the crack of dawn to prepare Thanksgiving dinner.

Ingredients (serves 12)
14-19 pound turkey (pre-brined is best for maximum moistness, either done yourself or prebrined by company.  I only get my turkeys from Trader Joe's, hormone and antibiotic free)
3 tablespoons olive oil 
kosher salt
cracked black pepper

What you'll need
kitchen shears/scissors
butcher knife (optional, im at the point where I don't need one... sometimes.)
1-2 pairs food safe gloves (optional) 
half-sheet baking pan, for roasting
large pan, to rest 

1.  Spatchcock your turkey:
a.  Remove giblet bag/neck from turkey neck cavity.  Set aside to make stock for gravy.

b.  With food-safe gloves on, place turkey in a clean sink.

c.  Take shears and cut 2 parallel lines along the left and right side of the turkey's "imaginary" backbone, cutting only the skin.  This will be a guide when you begin to actually cut through the bones.  Trust me, I wouldn't skip this step.  The turkey is going to be slipping all over the place when you start cutting.  The lines will come in handy.

d.  Starting at the "neck" end, on one "imaginary" line, open your shears wide and start cutting through the bones, flesh and skin, going up and down the lines you created along the backbone.  You will first cut through the turkey rib bones, so it will cut kind of like a... dotted line.  It's going to take some effort!  And you'll get stuck somewhere in the middle of the backbone - there's a thick bone plate to cut through on both sides.  Enter: butcher knife if your shears cant hack it with some maneuvering (I like to stay with my shears as its less dangerous on my hands. I'm not the carefulest person in the world.  Freaks my husband out).  Before you start hacking away with your butcher knife, remove any backbone that's already been cut so it doesn't get in the way - see second photo below, looks almost like a... missing tooth.  Anyway, just keep going at it with the shears, butcher knife and your hands until the whole backbone is free.  You will have to do some powerful tugging and twisting if the shears or butcher knife can't do the job.  WARNING: BRACE YOURSELF AND THE SLIPPERY TURKEY AND YOUR FINGERS WHILE WORKING WITH SHARP UTENSILS.  Watch out for the freshly cut, sharp turkey bones - they will also try their best to hinder your goal.  Don't be scared, just be careful.  Trust me, after the first couple times, spatchcocking will be a breeze.

e.   Yay!  Now that the backbone is out (reserve for making gravy stock with giblets), the rest is quite easy.  You can remove the rib bones if you like.  Now, you'll need to "snap" the breast bone.  You can do this by using both palms to press down on the left and right side of the breasts on the turkey, skin-side up.  If your turkey is too slippery, it might not snap for you.  You can take the wings/breast on each side (in the second picture below, you'll see my hand on the left side of the wing/breast) and give those a good press downwards on both sides... if that doesnt work, pull outwards and press down.  If none of that works, just forget it.  This just allows the turkey to lay flatter and cook 'evenly' - but honestly, it's okay. 

2.  After butterflying your turkey, rinse your turkey thoroughly under sink and pat completely dry with paper towels.  Let it rest in a pan for 2 ½ hours at room temperature (not the same pan the turkey will roast in, because pink liquids will release into pan which needs to be discarded).  

3.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Take turkey out of pan and pat dry again.  Lay onto your half-sheet baking pan.  Drizzle with oilive oil on both sides.  Generously salt and pepper turkey also on both sides. Tuck turkey wings behind and under the body (see below).  

4.  When oven has reached 450 degrees F, place turkey in lower-center rack (turkey placement should be exactly in the middle of the oven when roasting, so if turkey is placed on middle rack, turkey will be sitting too high in the oven).  Roast at 450 degrees F for 30 minutes.

5.  Without opening oven door, turn heat down to 400 degrees F.  Bake for one more hour.  When done, thickest part of thigh should register at 160 degrees F and juices will run clear (not pink).  For double measure, make sure thickest part of breast also registers at 160 degrees F.  Do not remove turkey from oven if less than that.  He is underdone and raw somewhere in there. TRUST ME.

6.  Remove turkey from oven and let it rest in the pan, tented well with a large aluminum foil - it doesn't have to be enclosed "airtight".  Rest at least 2 hours for a super moist turkey.  It might seem like a long time to wait, but you won't regret it.  The turkey will run juiciness when you begin to carve.

7.  Carve.  Have someone who knows how to carve a turkey do it for you.  I'd butcher the poor thing and personally don't care to do it after preparing a huge Thanksgiving meal.  Dad carves all meats beeeautifully (he's a chef), so I had him do it... for his own birthday dinner :)  Heh...  Happy Birthday, Dad.  When I make it for my in-law's, my mother-in-law does it.  The last time, we were real hungry, so she decided to tear it apart... by hand.  She's this petite 5'2 luxurious little lady, all done up, and here she is ripping a turkey apart with her tiny hands.  Go MIL.  Anyway, the turkey came out in nice chunky shreds.  I was curious at first, and then realized, holy crap!!!! WHAT GREAT IDEA, MIL!!! It really was.  Despite the unsightly chunks (by the way, she used food-safe gloves), they were wonderful to cut into when on our plates.  No joke.  Give it a try... if no one cares.  We don't, we just love to eat.  :)


Happy Turkey Day!