What If You Only Make the Parts of the Turkey That You Like?

Conventional culinary wisdom says that the best way to cook a poultry is to divide the turkey into different parts and cook them yourself at a given temperature. But for many of us, it doesn’t make sense to buy a whole bird this year. If you are lucky enough to live in a house with people who love the same parts of the turkey as you do, use this opportunity to focus on those parts of the beast and say to hell! with the rest.

Thigh confit in lard

I’m a dark meat enthusiast and one of my favorite ways to cook thighs or whole legs is to process their confit. Full instructions can be found here , but you’ll start with dry brine, then process the meat in a luxurious lard bath, then refrigerate overnight. When you are ready to serve the turkey, simply heat the thighs in the low-temperature (225 ℉) oven until the lard is runny. Remove the thighs and finish them in a non-stick skillet, heating them on all sides until they are warm and the skin is beautiful and golden brown.

Buttermilk brine breast

Unfortunately, most of the people I love don’t share my enthusiasm for turkey thighs and legs, and my desire for pleasure often overpowers my craving for dark meat. Luckily, this buttermilk-soaked breast is so good that I’m willing to take the L and let the white meat lovers take over – mainly because every time I prepare this recipe, I’m so impressed with myself.

Buttermilk can brown quickly, so I like to dilute sour dairy products with a little water to slow it down. I heat the water with a little sugar, salt and pepper, and a few crushed garlic cloves and bay leaves, then refrigerate, mix with the buttermilk and let the turkey hang in the mixture for a full 24 hours. … After that, you just need to bake this dish in the oven at 375 ℉ until the thickest part of the breast is 150. Let it brew for 15 minutes, then serve.

Make a pair of fair legs

If quarantine made you yearn for an easier time – a time when you could wander around the Renaissance Fair or Disneyland gnawing on a turkey leg without fear of illness, this is the turkey recipe for you.

It’s kind of a project (you can read more about it here ), but I think it’s worth it. The legs are first fried in dry brine, then fried in duck fat and then deep fried. You can replace the sous vide with the confit method mentioned above and get pretty much the same result, but the immersion circulator allows you to use less fat, which means you can use more expensive fat (in this case, duck fat).

Make giant turkey skin crispy

If your main problem with not cooking a whole poultry is that you end up with a tiny amount of poultry skins, consider asking the butcher to bring in any scraps of skin he may have. Then simply fry the (seasoned) skins between two parchment-lined sheets in a 375-degree oven for 30-45 minutes. When it’s deep, stuffy, and golden brown, remove it from the oven and let it dry on a wire rack, where it becomes even crisper. Serve with the rest of the turkey if you can stand that long.


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