As I’ve previously written, I’m not a big fan of turkey. It’s just not a type of meat I’m crazy about. – I find it too dry.
So people often say things like brine the turkey. Or cook it breast down. Or inject it with liquified butter. Or dry brine it. Or deep fry the turkey.
You get it. Lots of advice about how to cook a turkey. And I’ve tried all those techniques – other than deep frying the bird. That’s something that actually does intrigue me.
Bottom line, I’m not a fan of turkey. But my kids are fans of the big bird so I keep on cooking turkey for them. That’s what dads do.
This year figured I’d try something completely new – I would cook the turkey on my Traeger! And I would do a spatchcock turkey! And dry brine it!
And I did. And, you know, it turned out pretty good.
Because I did the spatchcock turkey in the smoke on the Traeger, that also made it very easy to “disassemble” the bird after it was cooked. I suppose the correct term is “carve the turkey.”
What’s that? What does spatchcock turkey mean? Well, all it means is that you take massive scissors (better known as poultry shears) and cut along each side of the turkey’s backbone to remove it.
Then you flip the turkey over so the breasts are up and press down until you hear a horrific cracking and crunching at which point you then know that you’ve broken the turkey’s breastbone.
You know, writing it like that sounds pretty gruesome. I guess that’s part of eating turkey.
Once the turkey was spatchcocked I applied a dry brine to the meat of the bird. Yeah, to the meat – not just to skin. This is another kind of creepy procedure so hang on.
What I did was I put my hand on the meat of the bird, under the skin – and worked my hand around until the skin was still attached at some points but mostly separated. That way I could apply the dry brine – rub directly to the meat and not just to the skin.
And that’s what I did. I took the pork rub, added a few tablespoons of smoked paprika (that gives it a beautiful red colour after smoking), and then generously applied the rub to the meat. And to the skin after getting it directly on the meat.
After the rub was applied I left the entire bird on a baking sheet in the fridge for about 24 hours.
Then on Christmas Day, after all the gifts had been distributed I grabbed a beer and headed to the backyard to fire up the Traeger.
Pre-heated the grill to 250° – about 15 minutes, let the initial “dirty smoke” out, and then positioned the bird on the grill with wings and legs tucked in for aerodynamic effect. And to keep them from burning.
On the grill for about 4 hours and an internal temperature of … and then we let the bird rest for about 45 minutes before carving it into pieces.
Drumsticks off. Wings off. Breasts off. And then serve it up for dinner. And you know, this is probably the first year that I went for second helpings of turkey. I just might do this method again next time the kids want a turkey.