When you butterfly your bird you're essentially flattening it so it cooks faster and more evenly. You can always ask your butcher to do this, but it's easy enough to do at home. For an eight-person Thanksgiving dinner, start with a 15-pound turkey -- it'll be enough to feed your guests and still have leftovers. You can buy a frozen turkey and let it thaw in the fridge for several days, but it's best to buy one fresh.
- Remove the turkey's neck and giblet bag from the cavity.
- Place the bird breast-side down on a large cutting board.
- Using sharp poultry shears, cut along both sides of the back bone from front to rear. Then carefully remove the turkey's back bone.
- Turn the bird over and press firmly on the breast with the heels of your hands until it cracks and flattens.
- Place the turkey, cavity side down, on a rack set in a large roasting pan. Cook the bird for 3 hours at 400?F, or until it register 165?F on a food thermometer.
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