Go Ahead and Sprinkle MSG on Your Turkey

The turkey is my least favorite bird (to eat), but I can never devote myself to Thanksgiving without turkey and I can’t let someone else cook it. I just can’t refuse this polite, stupid bird. My ambivalence about the meat itself makes me cook a delicious bird, but my irreverence prompts me to have a little sex with it. Applying MSG to my skin allows me to defy the expectations of a normal Indian and also improve its taste.

I know this is not a new approach, but turkey meat doesn’t taste all that good. This is something very mild, an oxymoron, but I can’t think of any other way to describe it. You can argue with me, but if turkey is so delicious, why do most people devote whole days to brining? Turkey meat doesn’t have enough meaty flavor, but MSG is literally meaty flavor in crystallized form. (These are facts, and I heard they don’t care about your feelings.)

You can add a little (about a quarter teaspoon per pound) to your dry pickle, as I did in my turkey video , but this will change the flavor profile in such a way that stalwarts of the turkey tradition may find it alarming. This is ok because I think MSG works best on turkey skin . The turkey skin should be cracker-like, and crackers work best when they are too spicy. The intensely aromatic, insanely crunchy skins are the perfect accent to the fried poultry and the drips from the pan, oh my god, this is the platonic ideal of fried meat juice and lovely toasted chunks, and makes a very good gravy.

Best of all, adding MSG to turkey is easy. Just sprinkle it right before putting it in the oven. A half teaspoon per pound of bird is what you want, and you want to dust it all over the whole thing. (Don’t neglect the bottom.) No matter what pickle you have, no matter your cooking method, a little MSG on the skin of the turkey will give it a savory flavor that should taste like the meaty, aromatic meat centerpiece you and your family deserves it.


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