Cook a turkey in 2 hours. Perfectly. Every time.With no weird tricks! Whether it’s the breast that gets burnt to a pulp or the dark meat that just refuses to cook, cooking turkeys is hard. It’s harder for kids like me! I’m the baby of seven kids. So I never paid attention to how the Thanksgiving turkey got done. Because trust me, to the vast majority of youngest children, everything is someone else’s work. We’re just here to look cute! But then I grew up, and I realized that turkeys do. not. like. to. cook. But have hope! All you have to do is . . .
All butchering really means is that we do some of the carving BEFORE it goes in the oven. And it really isn’t hard! I promise! It just sounds scary! But it isn’t! My video above has a full explanation and demonstration. Here, we’ll talk about why this works. Turkeys normally cook poorly because of the heat differential between the breast meat on top, which is exposed to the very hot oven, and the dark meat on bottom, which is exposed to the less hot air circulating in the pan beneath the turkey. The dark meat is also problematic because of all the bone — bone insulates meat during cooking. Really big bones that are everywhere, like in the dark meat, make things challenging for everybody.
Every Piece Feels the Heat
Now though, with the turkey butchered, each piece cooks at essentially the same rate. Since there’s more of the turkey exposed to the heat, and since the pieces are smaller, it cooks MUCH faster, and everything gets a perfect skin on it. So go ahead and do it! You CAN cook a turkey in 2 hours! And enjoy that turkey! Because you can!
- 1 Turkey of any size
- A boning or chef's knife
- ¼ cup of oil (you may not use all of it)
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees
- Carefully cut each turkey limb away from the turkey, finding the joint and cutting from there (the video at the top of the post explains more fully and has a demonstration)
- Pat each piece of turkey dry and rub down with oil and salt
- If desired, put aromatics like herbs beneath the turkey's skin
- Cook at 300 for 2 hours (you can start checking at 1 hour and 30 minutes to see if it's done -- just use a thermometer). When the white meat has reached 161 and the dark meat 174, you know that you're good to go!