Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving Turkey

Since we have only one oven (a source of irritation for Bev), Thanksgiving meals generally challenge us in oven usage as we always have homemade rolls that require it just prior to mealtime.  To solve this, I have adopted Chris’ (Nibble Me This) spatchcock cooking method and last year I cooked the bird in the smoker over low temps and I did the same this year but used the grill at a higher temp to get a crispy skin.  Bev bought a 14¾ pound Food Club fresh turkey from Food City which contained no artificial ingredients which means it was not injected with a flavoring solution.

I used a combo of recipes and practices from Chris beginning with his brine which I made per his recipe but with regular oranges and less the bourbon.  I spatchcocked (butterflied) the turkey using Chris' method (link below) but prior to brining to make it easier to find a brining container, it fit more easily in the fridge, and it provided the brine more access to the breast meat

After a nineteen hour soak, I removed it from the brine about 9 am on Turkey day, rinsed, patted dry, and put into the fridge uncovered for about three hours to dry some more and it looked like this is after removal. 

I took it out an hour prior to cook time, and put compound butter under the skin and on the outside using the following recipe.

Turkey Herb Butter
1½  stick butter, room temperature,
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried marjoram
3 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1 tsp dried sage
¾ tsp dried lemon peel

Mix butter and all minced herbs in small bowl; season herb butter with pepper.
Starting at neck end, slide hand between skin and breast meat to loosen skin. Rub 4 tablespoons herb butter over breast meat under skin.  Repeat for thighs and legs.  Leave enough to rub a light coat on the outside of the bird.

I used Chris’ raised cooking method but I used a pan as Dave (erecipecards) did when he made a turkey for our visit to his home in October, 2013 - I didn’t want to risk flare ups on my non-infrared grill.  This link has a great tutorial from Chris on his entire process, but using injection rather than brining.  Here it is on the grill and you can just see the supporting cans at the bottom of the shot – I meant to stand farther back.  After they got well browned, I covered the leg ends with foil to prevent burning.

Spatchcocking the bird not only worked really well for brining, it allowed it to fit in the grill, it cooked more evenly, and it fit into our warming drawer.  I got busy and forgot the finished shots, but it looked pretty much like this shot lifted from Chris' blog.

Even though the bird got up to a breast temp of 170* and had to rest (tented) in the warming drawer for an hour, it was still very moist, which I attribute to the brining process, and it was very tasty.  This combo of brine and compound butter worked very well together and will be the go-to from now on.  I just need to refine my cooking process so as not to get it done too early – I believe my grill hood thermometer is in need of checking.  While I got no shots of the finished food, here is the table before the guests arrived.

Our total menu was:

A fancy tossed salad provided by friend Ashley
Slow Cooker Dressing - Link
Make ahead gravy, Ala of Debbie at A Feast For The Eyes - Link
Mashed potatoes provided by friend Pat
Brussel sprout & sweet potato hash - Link 
Cranberry salad
Chocolate torte
Pumpkin pies provided by SIL Pat using my mom's recipe
And fresh whipped cream provided by friend Pat

It was a very good meal made even better by being able to share it with good friends.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


11/27/14 event date


  1. Awesome looking turkey and am sure the whole meal was excellent too.

  2. Perfect bird with a nice crispy skin. Sounds like a great meal with family and friends.

  3. Gorgeous looking bird. I didn't have to worry about the small RV oven or fridge this year since we got invited out. Sure is nice when somebody else does the cooking. Glad you had such a great day.

  4. Larry, Interesting method of cooking your turkey... We've never "brined" or "spatchcocked" a turkey. Laurie is so happy that our oven died this it allowed her to replace our single oven with a double! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  5. It looks like one delicious turkey! I've spatchcocked chicken but never turkey... can't wait to try it!

  6. Turkey looks perfect. And what a lovely set table.


  7. A great alternative to a roasted bird! I love the seasoned butter you used and need to give that a try.

  8. Looks like you had a great day! Bev is right - 2 ovens rock.

  9. I've always wanted to try cooking a bird like this. I also have one oven and am often wishing for another! Glad you had a lovely feast. Happy Holidays to you and Bev

  10. What a nice sounding meal shared with family and friends. Many a year when I lived in Texas, a smoked turkey was on the menu either for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I can imagine how good your turkey was.

  11. What an awesome looking turkey! Your menu sounds delicious and your table was beautiful too.

  12. ok, so don't hate me, our new house came with double ovens. I'm loving every moment of having two. Your meal sounds wonderful. I have bragging rights over my cornbread, jalapeno, chorizo dressing this year. Man was it good and new to our Holiday table.

  13. Great spread - the bird AND the table :) I think my bird has been early for the past several years, just because 1) spatchcocking is faster and 2) it always seems like it should take longer from memories of mom putting it in the oven early in the morning. Nice job guys!

  14. I was going to spatchcock our turkey, as well. At the last minute, I went with the classic way of roasting it. Next year, for sure. I'm pinning this one for next year!


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