Friday, November 20, 2015

Thanksgiving Turkey - make it easy

So you are a bit nervous about putting that whole bird in the oven. You might wonder:

  • When do you take it out?
  • What temperature do you cook it?
  • How do I know if it is overcooked or pink?
  • Do I stuff it?
  • Do I brine it?

All of those are great questions, and if you only cook turkey once a year, then lets make this year's turkey easy for you.

First - the best way, the most reliable way, to cook turkey is by the Sous Vide method. But, if you just don't want to do that here is what you do.

First - don't cook the whole bird. You don't cook a whole cow. It is too large an animal, and there won't be any reliable heat source putting that entire bird in an oven (sorry mom) .

"Dad, they cut up the Turkey."

See what JJ discovered -- someone already carved the turkey. You don't have to - and when it is cut up like this it is easier to cook, more reliable to cook, and shorter cooking times.

From our local Whole Foods, or any butcher, you can get the individual half breasts, thighs, and drum sticks. No one likes a particular cut of meat, you don't have to do it. 
So go to the store,  or the butcher, and get the pieces that you want.

Now you have smaller bits of turkey that you can easily handle. Speaking of which - suppose you already ordered your turkey. What do you do? Well, you can either butcher it - or you can Splatchcock it.

Removing the backbone out of the turkey is as simple as removing it from a chicken. Just use some good scissors up either side of the backbone. You can toss the backbone or you can use it to make soup.

This is the bird, any bird- with the back bone removed and flattened. Oh yes, I put some weight on this to flatten it.
After the backbone is out- take a clean town and use your weight and mighty arms to flatten the turkey or chicken as much as you can

Now individual pieces can go into an oven safe pan.

Take the individual pieces of turkey - put them into an oven safe pan - or even in the large roasting pan.

What about brine? Don't. You don't need to. I do recommend dry the skin with a paper towel. Salt the skin generously - and either cook then or let it sit in the refrigerator.

How to cook this turkey?

Middle rack of the oven
450 degrees F
45-60 minutes when the internal temperature is 150 degrees F.

This is how to cook a turkey and make it easy.

Of course if you have it in a roasting pan, or an oven safe pan you can make the most incredible gravy (see for that recipe).

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