Monday, January 24, 2011

Changing a Turkey into a Butterfly (also known as Turkeymorphosis)

We had turkey for dinner last night.

"Objection! It's not the holidays! You can't have turkey unless it's Thanksgiving, or Christmas-time. The official dates for eating turkey are from the fourth Thursday in November until the end of December. It is to be cooked until it is dry, stuffed full of bread, and served with canned cranberry sauce. "

Check out around :27 seconds

Your objection is overruled. Turkey is tasty anytime of year. If you go get a sandwich, do you wait until November to get a Turkey club? No. So why wait to cook a turkey? Plus, if you have left overs, you can make that turkey club sandwich the next day. And who doesn't love a turkey club sandwich. (I think I want a turkey club sandwich now).

"Objection! Turkey is expensive! The only time it's reasonable to buy is around Thanksgiving, otherwise it's too expensive! Then you have to buy the potatoes, the sweet potatoes, the stuffing, the green beans, the cranberry sauce, and everything else. Plus you have to make so much food that your stuck eating it for days! "

Overruled. Really overruled. Phyllis and I are gourmets (I hate the term "Foodies"), but we are also cheap. So we shop frugally. We set threshold prices for food, we use coupons, we chase sales on the internet, match prices, split cases, and keep a freezer.

Threshold pricing though is the big one that we use.


Chicken 0.69 1.29
Turkey 0.69 1.29
Beef 0.99 1.99
Pork 0.99 2.99
Diet Soda 0.69 1.29

A couple of weeks ago when we found Butterball turkeys at $0.48 a pound, we bought several of them. Quality wise, I have never felt the need to go out of my way for a specific brand of turkey before. But after having these Butterball turkeys, I am beginning to wonder. They were juicy and flavorful. I don't think they were injected with any sort of soy brine, they just tasted good. We may make the point to get this brand again. But if we can find them at $0.48 a pound, we WILL get them again.

"Objection! Turkey can only be cooked one way. Dull, bland, overcooked, dried out, blah, gray, tired, uninspired, juiceless, boring, dreary, plain..."

Ugh... Objection noted... and overruled."


Cooked one way? Last week we made a Pulled Turkey BBQ. We've also made Chipotle Turkey, Turkey in Buffalo Sauce, and Deep Fried Turkey. In fact last night we made Butterflied Whiskey Turkey.

"A ha! Objection! Turkey takes to long to cook!"

Overruled. Let me present my case.

If you butterfly your bird, also know as "Spatchcocking" you can cut your cook time in half. Look, this is a great method for any foul: chicken, duck, Cornish game hen, even goose. Because it takes less time to cook, you can cook it at a lower temperature and it won't dry out.

How to Butterfly or Spatchcock a Turkey


Take your defrosted turkey (You'd have to be a lot stronger than me to do this with a frozen bird!)

Flip it breast side down and remove the tail (aka The Pope's Nose)

Save all of the odd little bits and pieces.

I put them in a kettle and boil them. The broth produced can be used later on for making gravy.

Work down one side of the backbone with a pair of poultry shears, then the other. Does it matter which one you start with? YES! If you buy a left handed turkey you must start on the right hand side, and visa-versa. No exceptions.

Remove the backbone. Add it to the stock.

Flip the bird back over and press down on the breast bone. When you hear a loud crack, the bird should lie flat. (I know it looks like I'm giving the turkey CPR... trust me, he didn't make it)

Your bird is now prepped and ready to go. At this point you have lots of different options. If you have time, I recommend you brine your turkey. Last night, I didn't have time.

Butterflied Whiskey Turkey


  • 12-14 pound turkey
  • 1 tablespoon ground sage
  • 2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon adobo powder (available in most supermarket Mexican sections)
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Lift the skin from the bird and rub the flesh with the sage garlic and adobo. Be sure to get the breasts, legs, and thighs.
  • Pierce skin in several locations with a sharp knife.
  • Sprinkle liberally with sea salt, paprika, and any remaining garlic powder
  • Place turkey into oven

  • Cook approximately 20 minutes per pound or until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork.

  • Remember that since the bird has been butterflied it will take less time per pound.
  • Remove from oven and allow the turkey to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

We served it with freshly grated potato hash browns and peas and carrots.


Oh, don't start again.

Until next time my friends, I wish you Peace, Love, and Hollandaise Sauce!

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