I have been dying to host a friendsgiving basically since I graduated from college. Every year, it’s been difficult to find a space that accommodated everyone and a date that worked with everyone’s schedules. This year that all changed. Luckily Bill and I have a fairly sizeable back patio and with a little bit of elbow grease, I was able to add a couple easy and drought tolerant plants to our awkward one foot strip of dirt to add a homier garden vibe to the space. Plus, who doesn’t love café lights – literally the easiest way to dress up any outdoor space. Now that I’ve set the scene, let’s discuss the sheer panic that ensued after I decided to host our “frandsgiving” and realized holy cow, I’ve never cooked a turkey before. Don’t worry, I did what any millennial would do and googled the shit out of every turkey recipe known to the internet. After hours of research, I decided spatchcocking was the way to go, perfectly cooked turkey in 90 minutes, sign me up. Not only was it easy, the results were fantastic – juicy flavorful meat with crispy skin – hello new go to turkey recipe!
Also, because I did so much friendsgiving research, here are the unofficial rules of friendsgiving as well as an awesome step by step guide to spatchcocking.
6 tablespoons Morton’s kosher salt
2 tablespoons of baking powder
3 large onions, roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 quarts)
3 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped (about 1 quart)
4 stalks celery, roughly chopped (about 1 quart
12 thyme sprigs
1 whole turkey (12 to 14 pounds total), butterflied according to instructions, backbone, neck, and giblets reserved
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 quarts low sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
Start off with a Dry Brine – DO THIS 24 HOURS BEFORE:
Combine 6 tablespoons Morton’s kosher salt with two tablespoons of baking powder in a bowl. Carefully pat your turkey dry with paper towels. Generously sprinkle salt mixture on all surfaces of the turkey. The turkey should be well-coated with salt, though not completely encrusted. (Heads up: You probably will not need all of the salt, in some cases less than half will be okay depending on the size of your bird and your salt preference).
Transfer the turkey to a rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate uncovered for 12 to 24 hours.
Now it’s turkey time:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan with aluminum foil. Scatter 2/3rds of onions, carrots, celery and thyme sprigs across bottom of pan. Place wire rack directly on top of vegetables.
Butterfly your turkey following the directions here.
Pat turkey dry with paper towels and rub on all surfaces with 1 tablespoon oil. Season liberally on all surfaces with black pepper. Tuck wing tips behind back. Place turkey on top of rack, arranging so that it does not overlap the edges, pressing down on the breast bone to flatten the breasts slightly.
Transfer turkey to oven and roast, rotating occasionally, until an instant read thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the breast registers 150°F, and the thighs register at least 165°F, about 80 minutes.
While turkey roasts, make the gravy. Roughly chop the neck, backbone, and giblets. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a 3 quart saucepan over high heat until shimmering. Add chopped turkey parts and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add remaining onions, carrots, and celery and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables start to soften and brown in spots, another 5 minutes. Add chicken stock, remaining thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and reduce to a bare simmer. Allow to cook 45 minutes, then strain through a fine mesh strainer into a 2 quart liquid measuring cup and discard solids. Skim off any fat from the surface of the broth.
Melt butter over medium-high heat in a 2 quart saucepan. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly until flour is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Whisking constantly, add broth in a thin, steady stream until it it all incorporated. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until reduced to about 1 quart, about 20 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper, cover, and keep gravy warm.
When turkey is cooked, remove from oven and transfer rack to a new baking sheet. Allow to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes before carving. Carefully pour any collected juices from out of the roasting pan through a fine-mesh strainer into a liquid measuring cup. Skim off excess fat and discard. Whisk juices into gravy.
Carve turkey and serve with gravy.
Recipe from Serious Eats.