Mon 24 Nov 2008
I was listening to the folks on NPR talk about Thanksgiving recipes this morning, and so I thought I would reprise my turkey tips. Here are my 5 steps to the perfect turkey:
- Brine it
- Dry rub it
- Don't stuff! Don't baste!
- Tent it
- Use a digital thermometer
For lots of detail on these steps, check out my earlier post: Thanksgiving Turkey That Will Make Your Fall Over. I've never failed to make a flavorful, juicy turkey with these steps.
The experts on KQED were commenting that they prefer not to cook the bird whole, under the assumption that the breast and the legs are just so different in their cooking times, their fat contents, that they need different treatment. This is certainly one way to go. But then again, people cook chickens whole and they turn out great. The problem is magnified in a bigger bird, sure, but the way to deal with this is #4 above: the tent. A dry turkey breast is the biggest worry you should have. But using a foil tent to slow the cooking of the breast while the legs and thighs get done will work out great.
One last thing. The most flavorful part of any fowl is also one of the least appreciated: the oyster. Follow the thigh around the back of the bird to where it meets the backbone and you'll find a little round indentation of firm, juicy, flavor-filled dark meat. Dig your finger in and it'll come out whole. It's bite-size and scrumptious. Don't let that go into the stew – you want to eat it now!