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2¼ hours plus refrigeration and resting
The trickiest part of Thanksgiving dinner often is the pileup at the oven. Casseroles, dinner rolls and dressing all vie for oven space that’s dominated by the turkey, putting a squeeze on the cook to get the complete meal on the table on time. But by spatchcocking the turkey (that is, cutting out the backbone and flattening the bird so all of the meat is on the same plane), allowing it to stand at room temperature for an hour before roasting, and roasting in a moderately hot oven, the centerpiece of the meal can be in and out of the oven in two hours or less. We also salt the bird in advance and refrigerate it uncovered for at least two hours or up to a full day. This process, called dry-brining, results in plump, juicy, well-seasoned meat and crisp, golden brown skin. But don’t dry-brine for longer than 24 hours; the meat can cook up stringy and dry. And don’t rinse off the salt, as this adds moisture that interferes with browning and crisping. We roast the bird on a bed of aromatics moistened with a little water to prevent scorching; you’ll have adequate drippings for making gravy.
12 to 14 pound turkey, neck and giblets discarded
Kosher salt and ground black pepper