Choose Flavor Over Appearance When Cooking Turkey

As someone who eats a gram sometimes, I understand the urge to have an aggressively photogenic headband for Thanksgiving. And while I’m a proponent of a pretty flute on pie crusts and perfectly laid out marshmallows on a sweet potato casserole, I must convince you to accept an ugly – or at least deconstructed – turkey.

Look, I’m not saying a delicious whole roast turkey is an impossible achievement, but it’s not easy , especially if you don’t spend a lot of time cooking large amounts of large poultry the rest of the year. I will say that – with the exception of the smoked turkey that my uncle cooked for one year – I only had two turkeys that made me say “damn this is delicious” and they were not cooked “traditionally.”

When it comes to poultry, turkey is a thermodynamic nightmare. This is a large, bulky ball of meat with two separate sections that must be cooked at very different temperatures. That’s why you should give up your Norman Rockwell-style bronze butter ball visions and slaughter your bird a little. In fact, there are really only two ways to cook a turkey for a big day: fried and grilled or smashed and sous-cooked.

Old Spatchcock

It would be unfair to call matchcooking (or “butterfly”) a trend, but it has definitely become fashionable. We have been talking about this as a method for five years now, but quite recently it seemed that it took root among the masses.

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats explains how and why you’d like to spawn a turkey in the above video, but it basically boils down to this. Dark meats – such as legs and thighs – need to be cooked to at least 165 for all connective tissue to break down, but the breast dries out if it gets much more than 150. Traditional roasting leaves the breast more open than the legs, which are covered by the sides of the pan, which is straight the opposite of what you want.

The fix is ​​simple – you just need to flatten the turkey. To do this, remove the back bone by cutting on both sides, starting at the tail (set aside the bone for broth and / or gravy). Flip the turkey over, move your legs to the sides and press down on the crest of the sternum until you hear several cracks and the bird flattens out. Place the wings under the breast, season to your liking, and bake on a wire rack inside a foil-lined baking sheet in a 450-degree oven until the dark meat is at least 165 ℉ and the breast is 150 ℉ in the thickest part. region.

Not only does your turkey cook a lot more evenly and quickly, but you will also have crispier skin from being exposed, and I absolutely love that for the crispy skin.

Newfangled sous vide

When you think about it, sous vide is the perfect way to cook turkey. Since we are dealing with a bird that is very prone to drying out, it makes sense to seal it in an airtight bag with its own sap. Also, since we know the exact temperature at which we want to cook the different parts of the turkey, it is very helpful to have precise temperature control.

This soothing ASMR-style video from ChefSteps can show you how to break a bird, or you can simply ask a friendly neighbor’s butcher to do it for you. After you have cut the poultry into chunks, separate the light and dark meats and season them with whatever you like. I like to rub the meat with 1 cup sugar, 1 cup salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Place the breasts in one bag and the legs and thighs in the other, and add four sage leaves, a sprig of rosemary, a sprig or marjoram, a sprig of thyme, and a couple tablespoons of duck fat to each.

Cover them and place the white meat in a 167-degree bath for five hours, and the breasts in a 150-degree bath for three. (Legs first, if you only have one circulator.) When you’re ready to serve, pat the turkey slices and crisp under a broiler or pan in a skillet. If you’ve pre-cooked your turkey and kept it in the refrigerator, preheat it in the 350-degree oven until it’s warm.

Oh, and if you’re wondering how to spread your wings, the correct answer is no. If you don’t have a friend or family member who enjoys nibbling on turkey wings, store them in storage. Wings are the best inventory .


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