Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

BadRabbit

Cooking a Heritage Turkey -2017

Recommended Posts

I bought a small bronze (13.5 pounds) from a local farmer and I have dry brined it and air dried it. I am planning on spatchcocking the bird and roasting but I am having a hard time deciding on the best roasting method. 

 

Kenji says to cook a spatchcocked bird pretty hot at 450. This seems to be talking about a typical commercial bird.

 

I've seen several other places suggest a heritage bird should get a quick flash at 450-500 to start the rendering the fat from the skin and then dropping to 325-350 to cook more slowly. The thinking here is that the heritage birds have more connective tissue and it needs to cook for longer to break it down.

 

Any suggestions on which seems the better course? I'm leaning towards the quick flash\slow roast.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From what I remember, heritage birds have less breast meat than modern birds (which have been bred for lots of breast meat), so you'll want to be careful about not overcooking them, even with the spatchcocking.

 

Info from Thermoworks

Info from Serious Eats

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They have significantly smaller breasts and massive thighs\legs (i.e. the opposite of a commercial bird). I have good thermometry equipment so I won't overcook (I'll cut the legs off and throw back in if necessary). I would prefer to do the faster way (Kenji's 450) but I am concerned that might result in a tough bird. That's why I've been leaning towards the other.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, BadRabbit said:

They have significantly smaller breasts and massive thighs\legs (i.e. the opposite of a commercial bird). I have good thermometry equipment so I won't overcook (I'll cut the legs off and throw back in if necessary). I would prefer to do the faster way (Kenji's 450) but I am concerned that might result in a tough bird. That's why I've been leaning towards the other.  

 

Yes, that's Alton Brown's approach, too, which I'll be following on Thursday (changed my mind from long and slow). I'll also ice down the breast meat beforehand, and use a roasting rack on a half sheet pan on a baking stone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would suggest roasting it whole, and low, after a pan sear on the back and thighs, a la Tom Keller's roast chicken prep.  The breasts are chisel-y, and you don't want them dry.

 

I hate to say this, but both times I've tried roasting "heritage", free-range, fresh turkeys, I've been very disappointed with the results.  The last time (literally the last time),  the bird ran just north of $100, and was no better that the plain 'ol frozen birds that are discounted for Thanksgiving.   Oh, and there are not really any leftovers for the week after.  Sorry to be a buzzkill...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, boilsover said:

I would suggest roasting it whole, and low, after a pan sear on the back and thighs, a la Tom Keller's roast chicken prep.  The breasts are chisel-y, and you don't want them dry.

 

I hate to say this, but both times I've tried roasting "heritage", free-range, fresh turkeys, I've been very disappointed with the results.  The last time (literally the last time),  the bird ran just north of $100, and was no better that the plain 'ol frozen birds that are discounted for Thanksgiving.   Oh, and there are not really any leftovers for the week after.  Sorry to be a buzzkill...

I've had turkey from this farm before (I just didn't cook it) and it was fantastic.

 

I did buy a second Butterball breast to smoke tomorrow (I'll just reheat in SV bag on Thursday) so we have extra breast meat for leftovers. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, BadRabbit said:

I've had turkey from this farm before (I just didn't cook it) and it was fantastic.

 

Great.  I wish you consistent, fine results.

  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:PRAW??????!!!!!


Edited by lindag (log)
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if you don't want to separate the pieces before cooking (although spatchcocking somewhat alters the "presentation" aspect of keeping the bird whole anyway...) then I'd strongly consider an aluminium 'tent' over the breast in the last half to third or so of cooking time.

 

I've had fantastic heritage turkey.

Much nicer than supermarket for sure... although I did it sous vide.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure when practice of pulling turkey tendons stopped, but old timer butchers have told me that prior to Big Ag, when animals were still being slaughtered in Hell's Kitchen in NYC, every turkey had their tendon's pulled.  The idea of a turkey leg with the plastic-like tendons in the drumstick was unimaginable as they are as unpleasant to navigate as they are inedible.  

Consequently, unless I can get the bird with the feet still attached (from which I can yank the tendons with pliers) I refuse to cook a whole bird.  Invariably, I debone and stuff the legs.

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×