Wednesday, April 17, 2019

De-boning a turkey

Back around Thanksgiving when turkeys were selling cheap at the grocery I saw this recipe for a boneless turkey. Now I seriously enjoy Chef John's recipe videos and this one made me really want to try it. So I grabbed an extra turkey and threw it in the freezer for a more experiment friendly time (after all, who wants to try an entirely new cooking method when you have guests coming for dinner? If you do - more power to you. That's not my cup of gravy.).

Anyway, the video is more about the technique than it is an actual recipe, so I figured out how to adapt Mom's stuffing recipe, thawed out the turkey, and got to work.

Wrestling an 18 lb bird. 
Turkeys are big! I typically do a partial disassemble and debone of my regular Thanksgiving turkey so I at least had an idea of what to expect, but still. Whew!

You start from the backbone and, working one side at a time, trim the meat from the bones. When you get to a joint (shoulder and thigh) you pop the bones out of the sockets and keep going. Just be sure not to cut through the belly skin.
One side down, one to go.
When both sides are free and it's only attached at the breast bone, you lift the carcass and carefully slice through the cartilage.
Almost free
Now you've got to remove the thigh/leg bones as well as the wing bones. Be sure to use pliers to pull out the tendons from the drumsticks. Fun. And gross.
Seeing what I've got to work with
Save the carcass and bones for broth! I ended up using it for the gravy base since the actual turkey doesn't give off much in the way of juices (the stuffing soaks it up).
Grasping a thigh bone and yanking it free
Once it's all laid out nice and neat you season with salt and pepper. Then cover it with your stuffing mixture (not too much - you just want a layer of flavor, not a big wad of bread). Roll it up, tie it, and roast.
Seasoned and ready for stuffing.
Once the turkey was roasted and while it was resting, I baked a separate stuffing based on this recipe (excellent!), made the gravy, and cooked up some veggies. By the time those were done, the turkey was ready to cut.
Golden brown!
Unfortunately I didn't take any photos of the sliced bird! Argh!! We were far too busy enjoying the heck out this thing. And if you're afraid it'll get cold by the time it's done resting - don't be. When I went to put this away after we'd had a leisurely meal, it was still hot enough that it burned my fingers as I was slicing it. We enjoyed leftovers for days and I will definitely do this for the real Thanksgiving meal next year. Think about it - do all the prep work the night before, stuff and roll Thanksgiving day, roast, relax and enjoy your company. Perfect!

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