Talking (Boneless) Turkey

Save prep time on Thanksgiving with a boneless turkey roast, and after your holiday feast is history, follow up with an encore of turkey soup.



Photo by Laura Petrilla

I’ve often thought that the turkey is the least interesting part of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

It’s no wonder that the Butterball hotline receives more than 100,000 questions every year from distraught cooks who are having trouble getting their birds to the table. And then, all of the side dishes get stone cold during the dismemberment and carving of the main course. Finally, after the labor and anxiety, people can remember certain things from the meal: candied yams, bacon-studded Brussels sprouts, stuffed mushrooms and pecan pie.

turkey soup
Turkey soup recipe.

It’s no wonder that we’re more than happy to relegate turkeys to a once-a-year visit on our dining-room tables. But what if you could prepare the turkey in such a way that you only needed to throw it into the oven on Thanksgiving two hours before dinner, then serve it piping hot along with all of your side dishes and a delicious bowl of gravy? Enter the boneless turkey roast.

Basically, you deconstruct your fresh turkey so that you end up with two boneless breasts onto which you lay the boned meat from the thigh sections. Using the turkey skin practically like a casing, you roll the roast so that the dark meat is in the center. Then, tie up the whole package for easy roasting.

The legs can be roasted separately, and the wings and carcass make all of the stock you’ll need for gravy.

Boneless Turkey Roast

1 turkey, approximately 15 pounds
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
4 tablespoons melted butter

Remove the leg and thigh pieces from the turkey. Reserve the legs for roasting, and cut the meat off of the thigh bones. Cut the wings off the turkey. Turn the turkey over, and cut along both sides of the backbone. Loosen the skin, and try to remove it in one piece. Use a sharp knife to cut under the breast meat along the rib cage and up to the breast bone. Do this on both sides to end up with two boneless breast pieces.

Remove the tendon from each tenderloin section. Lay out the turkey skin, and place the white-meat pieces to create a somewhat-even layer.

Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Mound the dark meat from the thighs close to one long edge and roll up, using the skin almost as a casing to hold it all together. With the seam side down, tie the roast at one-inch intervals, tucking in the ends to form a neat bundle.

Just before roasting, you can sprinkle it with a little more salt and pepper. Heat the oven to 325 degrees, and place the roast onto a rack in a roasting pan. Cook for two hours or until the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Then, raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Baste the roast with melted butter, and bake until it’s golden brown and the skin is crispy.

Remove and let rest for about 20 minutes before slicing.


Chris Fennimore is the director of programming at WQED and the producer/host for QED Cooks. Follow his blog on food and family at wqed.org/tv/cooks/chrischat/

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in December

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in December

This month's best bets in The 'Burgh.
50+ Things That Will Make You Enjoy Winter in Pittsburgh

50+ Things That Will Make You Enjoy Winter in Pittsburgh

Love it or hate it, winter is upon us. Because some of us may think there's a lot not to like, we bring you 50+ things to eat, drink and do –– and some helpful tips –– that'll keep the blues at bay.
Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2016 Honorees

Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2016 Honorees

Pittsburgh Magazine presents the honorees from its inaugural Excellence in Nursing awards. Meet our judges' choices and learn what makes them remarkable in their field.
Choreographed Style: Winter Fashion with The Pittsburgh Ballet

Choreographed Style: Winter Fashion with The Pittsburgh Ballet

A regal ruggedness characterizes the season's menswear looks.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

The Mosaic Stairway: You've Never Seen Steps Like These

The Mosaic Stairway: You've Never Seen Steps Like These

When viewed from the foot of the South Side Slopes of Pittsburgh, the stairs ascending Josephine Street form a massive image that consists of more than 7,500 individual mosaic tiles.
Joe Manganiello Plays the Good Guy for Children’s Hospital

Joe Manganiello Plays the Good Guy for Children’s Hospital

The actor, director and Mt. Lebanon native is joining the board of trustees of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation.
Pittsburgh Man Sets World Record By Lifting 1 Million Pounds

Pittsburgh Man Sets World Record By Lifting 1 Million Pounds

Matt Scoletti accomplishes the feat in just under nine hours.
Why Thanksgiving Comes Every Day for 3 Pittsburgh-Area Men

Why Thanksgiving Comes Every Day for 3 Pittsburgh-Area Men

They owe their lives to one man who lives on in each of them.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in December

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in December

This month's best bets in The 'Burgh.
50+ Things That Will Make You Enjoy Winter in Pittsburgh

50+ Things That Will Make You Enjoy Winter in Pittsburgh

Love it or hate it, winter is upon us. Because some of us may think there's a lot not to like, we bring you 50+ things to eat, drink and do –– and some helpful tips –– that'll keep the blues at bay.
Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2016 Honorees

Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2016 Honorees

Pittsburgh Magazine presents the honorees from its inaugural Excellence in Nursing awards. Meet our judges' choices and learn what makes them remarkable in their field.
Choreographed Style: Winter Fashion with The Pittsburgh Ballet

Choreographed Style: Winter Fashion with The Pittsburgh Ballet

A regal ruggedness characterizes the season's menswear looks.
Restaurant Review: B52 in Lawrenceville is a Levantine Lifter

Restaurant Review: B52 in Lawrenceville is a Levantine Lifter

Omar Abuhejleh taps deep into his roots at his vegan cafe that's focused on Levantine cuisine.
Why You Can't Beat The Weather in Pittsburgh in The Winter

Why You Can't Beat The Weather in Pittsburgh in The Winter

I’ve traveled a lot of miles, and I still stare in bewilderment at people who tell me they’ve moved to a place because “You can’t beat the weather.”
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


The Mosaic Stairway: You've Never Seen Steps Like These

The Mosaic Stairway: You've Never Seen Steps Like These

When viewed from the foot of the South Side Slopes of Pittsburgh, the stairs ascending Josephine Street form a massive image that consists of more than 7,500 individual mosaic tiles.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
The Café Carnegie Now Open in Oakland

The Café Carnegie Now Open in Oakland

Chefs Sonja Finn and Becca Hegarty helm the refurbished restaurant at the Carnegie Museums.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best of the Burgh: Pumpkin Patches in the Pittsburgh Area

Best of the Burgh: Pumpkin Patches in the Pittsburgh Area

We’ve compiled the best pumpkin patches for fall family fun.

Comments


Why Wait For Summer? Head to Kennywood's Holiday Lights

Why Wait For Summer? Head to Kennywood's Holiday Lights

The park's winter celebration is great for families and a fine choice for anyone who loves Christmas (and/or funnel cake).

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Big Ten-Champion Nittany Lions More Worthy Than Buckeyes

Big Ten-Champion Nittany Lions More Worthy Than Buckeyes

For some reason Ohio State is ranked No. 2 in the latest playoff rankings and Penn State is No. 7. That has to change if Penn State beats Wisconsin on Saturday night.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Locket Full of Joy

Locket Full of Joy

The handcrafted piece opens to hidden treasures.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Ten Upcoming Flicks Every Oscar-Watcher Should See

Ten Upcoming Flicks Every Oscar-Watcher Should See

PM film critic Sean Collier picks ten forthcoming flicks likely to rake in nominations for the 89th Academy Awards.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Thinking Small: Pittsburgh Weddings That Are Intimate Affairs

Thinking Small: Pittsburgh Weddings That Are Intimate Affairs

Bigger isn’t always better, at least when it comes to these couples’ wedding ceremonies.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Seasonal Shopping: CMOA Store Holiday House, J.Crew Mercantile Opens Doors

Seasonal Shopping: CMOA Store Holiday House, J.Crew Mercantile Opens Doors

The Carnegie Museum of Art is full of Christmas cheer — and great deals. Plus, get the scoop on The Block Northway’s latest retail offering.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Classic Christmas Tale Gets a Twist at Slippery Rock University

Classic Christmas Tale Gets a Twist at Slippery Rock University

An adapted version of “A Christmas Carol” will be presented during a seven-show run.

Comments