Every year I try something new in an attempt to make my Thanksgiving bird taste the best it can. I’ve brined. I’ve smoked. I’ve deep-fried. I’ve cooked hot and fast and I’ve cooked cool and slow. Stuffed or un-stuffed it made no difference, I always felt as if my turkey could be better.
Ultimately the biggest problem with a turkey is its size and thus its heavy bone structure and large, difficult to cook breast. Food scientist Harold McGee even recommends icing the breast for an hour in an attempt to have the animal cook more evenly. I figured there must be a better way than that.
This year I’m throwing all my previous attempts out the window. I’ve decided to completely remove most of the bones to help ensure even cooking. Removing the main rib cage and heavy thigh bones can speed up and even out the cooking process by cooking only the part you’re going to eat. The added bonus is easy and beautiful carving that yields lovely circular slices with juicy meat around the outside and moist flavorful stuffing in the middle. Also, the meat’s close proximity to the stuffing prevents it from drying out, even if you slightly overcook it.To properly debone your turkey, you will need the following:
1 small (3-5 inch) sharp boning or paring knife
1-3 quarts of stuffing 1 trussing needle and string
One brief word of advice: No matter what, do NOT pierce the skin of the turkey with the knife. All other boning errors can be hidden by the skin and stuffing.
Here’s how to debone:
Step 1: Find the wishbone at the front of the bird, trace around it with your knife freeing it from the meat. Wrench it out and down to remove it.
Step 2: Now turn the bird breast side down so you can make a slice down to the bone the entire length of the turkey’s back.