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[Looking for a way to avoid the specter of a dry bird this Thanksgiving? Don’t miss this Mercury classic from 2013 about breaking your turkey down before cooking for maximum moistness and deliciousness!—eds]
OH, the glorious roasted turkey. It’s about as Fuckin’-A American as eagles and blowing your fingers up. Everyone loves to see that giant, golden bird wrested from the oven and displayed proudly on the center of the table for a room of oohing and ahhing guests. Hella Rockwellian.
The thing is, it takes forever. Your fridge isn’t big enough to hold the whole bird for brining, and it monopolizes precious oven real estate needed for important things like green bean casseroles and marshmallow pies. And if you do manage to make everything fit, Science is against you: by the time the dark meat is finished, the white meat is drier than Joan Rivers’ nethers. Sure, you could baste the thing every thirty minutes. Have fun with that, Sylvia Plath. Or you could just do the smart thing and disassemble the bird into manageable parts.
Breaking down a turkey takes a little practice, but with a sharp knife and a modicum of skill, you should be able to figure this out. (There are handy videos online—just search for “how to disassemble a turkey for roasting.” Practice on a chicken first, if you need to.) The benefits vastly outweigh the 10 minutes of hassle.