This is the first part of doing a deconstructed turkey. The great thing about deconstructing the bird is that it makes it much easier to roast, much quicker to cook & far easier to carve. My method is based upon a technique I originally saw in a book by Julia Child & Jacques Pepin. I'm indebted to them .
Here's the bird & the knives I use for the deconstruction.
You start by putting the bird breast side down on a chopping board. Make sure the neck & wishbone are removed. Make cuts on either side of the backbone. Then using the cleaver and the heavy chef's knife start cutting through the carcass down both sides of the backbone.
Continue cutting and chopping (when necessary)
until you have completely removed the backbone.
When the backbone is completely removed wash the cavity and trim any loose pieces.
You can now chop the backbone into several lengths have some nice pieces for your stock.
At this point it is a good idea to cut off the wing tips. (last joint on the wing).
Now remove the leg & thigh as one piece by carefully cutting around them at the carcass. Normally, the joint attaching the thigh to the carcass is easy to find and the attaching meat & tendons simple to cut.
One the leg/thigh pieces are removed chop off the end of the leg (if present. Some birds already have this bit at the end with the unfeathered skin removed)
We are now ready to start de-boning the leg/ thigh pieces.
First make sure that your boning knife is very sharp.
Lay the leg/thigh cut side up on your cutting block and start by making a cut along the line of the thigh bone from the 'knee' to the carcass end. Now gently cut along both sides of the thigh bone then slide your knife under the bone and cut towards the carcass end to free the meat.
Continue cutting and trimming right up to the knee joint.
Now move to the leg end and follow the same technique of cutting along the bone. (now towards the knee joint) then one either side and finally sliding under the leg bone.
Now the slightly tricky part. Carefully cut around the knee joint. This takes a bit of patience as you feel for the meat and try to avoid cutting through the skin.
Make sure that you cut out the "knee cap" (I'm not sure that's what it really is, but its the right shape & is in the right place)
Finally, the bones will come free and you have more scraps for your stock.
The pictures above are of the boned leg/thigh on the left & the same leg/thigh rolled over and put back together.
In case I get too busy tomorrow here's what comes next.
- Grease a large baking tin.
- Place your stuffing on it in a mound then place the turkey carcass over it, breast side up. Use your fingers to push in any stray bits.
- Place some more stuffing in the leg/thighs & close them with skewers or sew them up. Place the leg/thighs in the roasting tin, cut side up.
- Salt & pepper the lot & place in a pre-heated oven at 375 F.
- Baste frequently after the first half hour. Turn the leg/thighs over so that the skin side is up after 45 minutes.
- After 1 1/2 hours the leg/thighs should be done. (170 F in the thick part) Take them out to rest.
- Check the breast meat every 10 minutes and take it out when its temperature reaches 150 - 160 F. Let rest for AT LEAST 20 minutes, 30 is better.
- Put the leg/thighs back so it looks like a whole turkey again & show it off the the assembled hoards.
- Now take it all out & carve. For the leg/thighs you should be able to pull out the leg tendons & just carve nice pieces.
- For the breast it is easiest to carve off a whole breast by cutting down the side of the carcass. You can then carve the breast ACROSS THE GRAIN into nice slices.