Science Explains How to Cook the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

Science Explains How to Cook the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

Since Thanksgiving dinner is rapidly approaching, people are starting to search for the perfect Thanksgiving turkey that will reign on a table filled with seasonal goodies. While the bird has been bringing people together for centuries, there are still many who fail in cooking the traditional bird, mostly due to its robust anatomy. Luckily, science is here to the rescue.

Cooking a turkey is harder than it seems because the bird’s round shape does not allow the heat to penetrate it. Usually, the traditional bird ends up on the table in two ways: either its skin is crunchy, and the meat near the bones is undercooked, or the meat is properly cooked towards the inside of the turkey, leaving the outside layers dry, no matter the amount of gravy people pour onto it.

Over the past year, one cooking technique started to stand out among the hundreds of methods developed over the centuries. It seems like spatchcocking provides the best, most edible and aesthetically-pleasing result. Moreover, the scientific community approves the technique.

According to science, the slightly frozen plump birds are almost impossible to cook in their natural form. The laws of physics tell us that an external source of heat will affect the layers of a round object differently, especially since the item’s internal layers are significantly colder than the outside ones.

This translates into the fact that the turkey will never be evenly cooked if it is inserted into the oven in its original shape. However, the answer to the dilemma is straightforward.

All professional, or amateur cooks need to do is cut the spine of the bird, making it resemble a butterfly. When the spine is torn out, and the turkey is flattened out, the heat of the oven will allow it to cook evenly. Moreover, by exposing all the skin on the exterior side, and the bones on the inside, the extra fat layer from between the skin and the meat can melt into the cooking tray, allowing the skin to become crispy and delicious, while the flesh inside cooks, sparing the guests of a surprise salmonella infestation.

Furthermore, the butterfly position allows the meat to remain juicy due to the fat that drips through the flesh in its way to the bottom of the tray.

Traditionalists that cannot conceive a perfect Thanksgiving turkey without the iconic stuffing can throw it under the bird. The bird will then cook for approximately 80 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit, or 230 degrees Celsius.

The spatchcocking method allows people to cook crisper, juicier turkeys in less the time.

Image source: Flickr