Procrastinator’s Thanksgiving Dinner part 1

Decided very late to do a semi-traditional Thanksgiving dinner, i.e. Turkey and sides instead of Spaghetti Carbonara. Starting to plan and shop on a Tuesday night before Thanksgiving is not ideal, but what the heck (I bought some pancetta just in case).

We’ve been meaning to try the spatchcock (butterflied) method. Kenji at Serious Eats seems to have mixed advice on brining between the website and the book he consistently is opposed to wet brining, but after that, the choices are:

  • Don’t bother. There’s also a question of whether Butterball brand (which is what I found in an appropriate size late Tues night) is pre-brined. Since Butterball provides instructions on brining, I’m thinking that’s not really the case.
  • Dry brine under the skin. That’s described in the book.
  • Dry brine over the skin – the salt will penetrate. This is easier and similar to what I’ve done before when roasting chickens, and the famous Zuni cafe recipe doesn’t bother to go under the skin. The current website dry brine method recommends doping the salt with baking powder to raise the pH for improved browning of the skin.

The plan is to dry brine overnight before spatchcocking because the spread out bird would take up too much room in the fridge. I’m hoping my pans and racks are big enough come tomorrow. I thawed the bird still in the bag submerged in cold water using the Cambro container I bought for sous vide. Then I mixed a 1/2x recipe of the dry brine (since it’s a ~10 lb small bird). 3 T Kosher salt + 1 T baking powder. I’m surprised the recipe doesn’t give this by weight.

Sprinkle all over except the back where the backbone will be excised. Leave overnight uncovered in the fridge.

The baking powder makes it kind of weird to sprinkle on, and even 0.5 x is way too much. I’m also wondering if there is a typo and this is too much baking powder. We shall see…

Also, Debby found this for one of the sides!

to be continued.