I no longer get an iconic, picture perfect Thanksgiving turkey, but there no real guess work, carving is fast and super easy, and people rave about how flavorful and juicy the white meat is and how tender and delicious the dark meat is.
By what magic do I accomplish this? If you haven’t guessed, I partially de-bone my turkey before cooking and I put the (bone-in) dark meat in the oven two hours before I add the boneless white meat.
- 1 Lemon (optional)
- 1 Head of Garlic (optional)
- Dried Herbs (optional)
- With your favorite sharp knife, cut off the turkey’s hind quarters (leg/thigh combos).
- Do the same with the wings.
- Carefully line your knife up with the bony ridge nestled between the turkey breasts and slice along the rib cage until you have a whole, boneless breast.
- Do the same with the other side.
- Put the wings and rib cage aside.
- Slice your lemon and/or peel and slice your garlic.
- Use your finger to make several pockets under the skin on the breasts and the hind quarters of your turkey and fill them with lemon and garlic slices (optional).
- Salt both sides of all pieces of turkey.
- Lay the dark meat (hind quarters) skin side up on a lined baking sheet and put into the oven at 350ºF (optionally sprinkling dried herbs over the skin first).
- After two hours, add the breasts to the baking sheet and put back in the oven.
- After another hour and a quarter (or when the internal temperature of the breast is at 145ºF), set the oven to broil until the skin is crispy and golden brown (roughly 10 – 15 minutes).
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest 20 minutes.
- Manually remove the bones and sinewy bits from the dark meat and slice up the white meat and serve.
• I tend to use frozen turkeys and prefer to do the initial cutting up of the bird before it has completely thawed as it is easier to work with when it is partially frozen.
• I like to save the wings and rib cage to make soup stock (which I will often reduce and use to make a gluten free gravy from and/or a gluten free dressing/stuffing)
• If the skin starts drying out, you can tent some aluminum foil over your turkey (or you can do this preemptively).
• The internal temperature of 145ºF is less than the recommended minimum temperature of 160ºF, but the internal temperature will continue to rise both during broiling and resting. I find the white meat dry and flaky if I let the internal temperature get that high.