The Two-Hour Turkey

Sometimes, I just don’t think!

Last night, I prepared a lovely turkey in just 2 hours and…








(I was thinking about getting my turkey done, that’s what!)

On bended knee I beg your forgiveness!

And I will remain on bended knee while I write out the recipe (using OTHER PEOPLE’S photos, ugh!)….

Leilani’s 2-hour Butterflied Turkey

* 1 12-lb. turkey, butterflied (instructions below) and thawed if frozen (plan ahead, thawing takes a couple days!!)

*1 gallon turkey brine (recipe follows)

*1 cup Prickly Pear Glaze (recipe follows) or your own glaze

*Olive oil



Butterflying A Turkey

One of the best time-saving tips for cooking fowl is to butterfly it or cut out the backbone!

Make sure the bird is dried off–you don’t want to slip and loose a finger!!

Step 1: Remove neck and organs from the turkey and set aside.  Pat dry.

Step 2: Using sharp kitchen scissors and a sharp boning knife, cut down along one side of the backbone.  Cutting will get tricky once you reach the tail.  Use caution!

Step 3: Cut down along the other side of the backbone.  Save backbone, tail and neck-they are perfect for making stock which will come in handy when making the gravy!!! 

How do you make stock from the yucky parts?

Boil neck, tail and back in a 2 quarts of water with an onion, 2 carrots, a bay leaf, a teaspoon of peppercorns and a tablespoon of salt.  After mixture comes to a boil, simmer on low heat for an hour.

Et voila!  Turkey stock!

Now that your turkey is prepped, check for any loose bone shards along the back before placing into the brine.

Turkey Brine

*1 gallon water

*2 bay leaves

*1 Tablespoon peppercorns

*1/4 cup kosher salt

*1/4 cup sugar

*Fresh lemon or orange peel

*Spring of fresh thyme

Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.  Turn off heat and allow brine to come to room temperature.

Place turkey in a turkey roasting bag or a large bowl and cover with the brine.  Allow to brine overnight.

Cook’s Comment: When people ask me if brining really makes a difference, I tell them “Heck YES!”  I learned about brining in college and tried it first on chicken drumsticks.  I was amazed at how much juicier and flavorful the meat turned out.  So try brining at least one bird in your life.  It is worth it!

Baking the Bird

Step 1:  When you are ready to cook the turkey, drain off all the brine and pat the bird dry.  Allow bird to come to room temperature (2 hours).

Step 2:  Preheat oven to 480 degrees.

Step 3:  Place turkey on a rack inside a large roasting pan.

Step 4:  Rub entire bird with olive oil and lightly season with paprika and pepper.  (If you salt the bird, only add a teensy bit.  After all, your bird has sat in salt water all night.)

Step 5:   Place bird in oven and cook for one hour.  DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DURING THIS TIME!!!

Step 6:  Turn oven down to 400.  Baste bird with juices from pan.  If juices in pan are scare, baste with the broth you made earlier!  Cook another 30 minutes.

Step 7: Baste bird one last time.

Step 8: When turkey is on its last 15 minutes, brush every inch of the bird with the glaze.

Step 9:  Remove turkey from oven and allow to sit for 30 minutes before carving.

The crispy, brown skin and juicy meat will be a hit.  Don’t plan on any leftovers!!

Step 10: Carve the turkey!!  Don’t know how to carve?  Check out Alton Brown’s method!

Prickly Pear Glaze

I created this glaze off the top of my head.  I dare you to create you own, it’s fun!  Just follow these basic steps:

Step 1:  Heat 2 tablespoons olive in a saute pan over medium-high heat.

Step 2: Add 1 Tablespoon minced shallot (or onion) and saute until glossy (5-7 minutes).

Step 3: Add 1 teaspoon minced garlic to onion.  Stir so garlic does not burn and cook 1 minute.

Step 4: Add 1/4 cup dry sherry wine (white wine, brandy or bourbon also nicely) and reduce for 5 minutes.

Step 5: Remove pan from heat and stir in 3-4 tablespoons of coarse-grained mustard (or dijon).

Step 6: Stir in 3-4 tablespoons of prickly pear jelly (or peach or plum or apple…).

Step 7: Give the mixture a taste.  If it is too mustardy add more jelly and vice-versa.  Sprinkle in some freshly-cracked pepper and thyme.

Step 8: Brush over bird during last 15 minutes of cooking!


My bird was done in just the nick of time.

If all you have is a nick of time, give this method a try!


2 thoughts on “The Two-Hour Turkey

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