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Roasting Turkey


Rosie
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Before anyone deep fries a turkey I want to insert some safety tips. Deep frying turkey is a hazardous venture. I will start a thread on that alone so that it gets the proper attention.

Gravy?... Ain't happenin'.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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question for those who have or who have thought about deep frying a turkey:  how do you make the gravy without pan drippings?  just a thought that i've been wondering about.

i just want to bump this back up and ask this question again, as i'm planning on doing a test run of a deep fried turkey soon.

what's the best way to make gravy without the benefit of pan drippings?

any help would be appreciated.

Real gravy? I agree with fifi -- nope. But a great sauce? Sure.

I'm going to pick up some turkey wings, if available, plus see if any of my friends don't have plans for their turkey's giblets (excluding the liver). I'll make a couple of cups of concentrated turkey stock, then use it as a base for a gravy-like sauce (roux + stock + mushroom soaking liquid + shrooms + flavorings etc.).

BTW, fifi's thread is must-reading for us d-f turkey newbies.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

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Here what I do for gravy if deep-frying a turkey:

A couple of days ahead of the big day:

Buy a package of wings and a couple of necks (turkey)

Roast them in the oven with onion and celery till browned and delicious- looking

Deglaze roasting pan with white wine and put all contents of pan into a stock pot. Cover with water and simmer for several hours.

Strain, taste, and reduce further if needed.

Refrigerate.

On the big day, reheat your gravy base, and thicken as desired with a slurry or a roux.

Stop Family Violence

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What is really more improtant than how you cook your turkey, is what kind of turkey you cook. If it is frozen or in any way adulterated(even fresh turkeys marked 'ALL Natural' contain additives), then you are behind the 8 ball in terms of taste and flavor. If you can obtain a fresh unadulterated bird then a simple stuffed bird in a 375F oven until 185F at the joints will suffice. Butter it, lard it, baste it, whatever , it will be OK.

Wild turkey does not have to marinaded but it is better to cook the breasts seperate from the leg/thigh.

A 'Deep Fried' turkey is too be avoided at all costs unless you have been to the NFPA Fire Provention School Training. If you have been to the NFPA School, you will not cook a 'Deep Fried Turkey' anyway! -Dick

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Thanks to Klink, I'm prepared. I have 1 1/2 quarts of Smoked Turkey Stock in my freezer just waiting for my fried and smoked turkeys this Thanksgiving. :smile:

"These pretzels are making me thirsty." --Kramer

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I'm going to pick up some turkey wings, if available, plus see if any of my friends don't have plans for their turkey's giblets (excluding the liver). I'll make a couple of cups of concentrated turkey stock, then use it as a base for a gravy-like sauce (roux + stock + mushroom soaking liquid + shrooms + flavorings etc.).

We have done deep fried turkeys 3 or 4 times and have lived to tell the tale. We got the "kit" for 60 bucks from Home Depot and it works great.

For gravy, I do exactly as Alex does, with the addition of some carrots, onions, and celery the the roasting pan.

Another thing to consider: You could do a practice run. We did this the first time we fried a turkey. Then you have a whole turkey carcass with which to make your stock, plus extra leftovers for the freezer! (You want to pick small turkeys for the deep frying, so this is not as crazy as it sounds.)

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Maybe I'm missing it somewhere else, but I was surprised to see nay a thread about turkey techniques. I'll start by posing a question:

A few years ago, a chef friend of mine cooked the best turkey I ever had. The thing that stood out most for about it was the juicyness - especially of the white meat. Many times in my family, the white meat ends up getting dried out and everyone goes for the dark. I remember asking my friend what he did to keep the turkey so juicy. Alas, it was a few years ago, and the only thing I remember is that he said he cooks the turkey upside down - I guess meaning the white meat is on the bottom - so all the jucies collect down there.

Is this a common technique? I'd like to find out more about this - and also hear everyone elses other turkey techniques as well. We are having 25+ people over for dinner this year and I want to blow their minds (or their palletes)!! Thanks everyone!

~WB

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We grilled ours on the Weber during Thanksgiving ast year and it was AMAZING. I dont think we did much to it other than shove some bacon under the skin and baste it in a little liquid.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Jason asked me to post on this.

The turkey was a kosher bird (otherwise brine it), cooked upside down on the Webber, with the three rows of burners set Low-Off-Low (their version of indirect cooking). The bacon was lain across the back of the turkey (top side) and the bird was set into a disposable roasting pan. Some wine in the pan in the beginning, a stock made with the neck & giblets, plus some of the drippings occasionally removed formed the base of the gravy. Cook for about 15 minutes per pound, unstuffed, until 160F. Allow to rest for AT LEAST 20 MINUTES before carving. That last sentence makes a huge difference in the juiciness of your meat.

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Good point, Jason. Keeping the turkey out of the oven is a huge help. You can do that by smoking it, frying it, or doing it on the grill as you and Rachel have described.

What is it about Thanksgiving that everything seems to need an oven? We have been known to bake pies in the DeLonghi convection toaster oven. (Works quite well, BTW.) If I were planning a kitchen around the annual Thanksgiving event there would be at least three. :blink: But, THAT is absurd. when planning with other friends and family members that are bringing stuff, I always speak to the oven limitations.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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What is it about Thanksgiving that everything seems to need an oven?

Yeah besides the turkey itself, you got the various pies. Then you got stuffing which usually requires baking, and various other starches such as sweet potato casserole. And any number of other casserole accompaniments. About the only thing I know you would normally use the range for would be for boiling potatoes for mashing, sauteeing a vegetable or for cooking soup.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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The biggest cause of dried out breast meat is over cooking. Do not depend on the popup. Get a Polder or clone and monitor the temperature. Rachel said 160F. I cook to 165F, but something in that range will be a lot better than the 180F mentioned in a lot of recipes.

If the turkey has not been injected or koshered, brining will help.

Jim

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There are lots of methods to help keep it from drying out: brining, trussing, cooking upside down, not overcooking, basting, using an oven bag, putting some sort of fat under skin, such as bacon or butter.

CooksIllustrated (who I trust for consistently solid results) says:

The solution: Early on we became fans of brining turkey in a salt water bath before roasting. The meat was firm and juicy at the same time, and the turkey tasted fully seasoned. Brining proved essential to achieving perfect taste and texture. As for our roasting method, our most successful attempt at achieving equal temperatures in leg and breast meat came when we borrowed James Beard's technique of turning the turkey as it roasts. In this method, the bird begins breast side down on a V-rack, then spends equal time on each of its sides before being turned breast side up. Because it elevates the bird, a V-rack promotes even roasting and prevents overcooked breast meat. This technique produced a turkey with a breast temperature that ran only a few degrees behind the leg temperature.

For a 12 to 14 pound bird they brine using 2 pounds of salt rubbing it into the bird's skin and inside its cavities and then place it in a pot that easily holds it, then cover it with water for 4 to 6 hours.

For large birds, Cooks Illustrated suggests:

The roasting temperature for an eighteen- to twenty-pound bird is tricky. Because of the turkeys' large size, we found that roasting at the typical 350 and 400 degrees tended to overcook the exterior by the time the interior was done. We eventually found that roasting these large turkeys at 250 degrees breast side down, then breast side up produced the most evenly cooked turkeys. To brown the skin, we increased the oven temperature to 400 degrees for the final hour of roasting.

They also brine the bird in a mixture of 2 gallons water and 1 pound salt for 8 hours.

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For a juicy, flavorful and all around perfect turkey, I have 2 recommendations:

1- BRINE IT

2- Use a digital thermometer

this was last year's turkey, I used Alton Brown's recipe sans crystallized ginger. It was perfect. I am sure you can find the recipe on FoodTV's website.

turkey.jpg

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Edited this post. Somehow I managed to submit 2.

Edited by mikeycook (log)

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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I have started with the breast side down before. The only thing to make sure if that you grease the rack sufficiently to keep it from sticking. With a chicken or small turkey, I will sometimes start breast down, then do some time on each side, then finally breast side up. With a large stuffed turkey, this can be problematic, as a hot, greasy, heavy bird is not something you want to quickly spin around.

A friend of the family suggested cheesecloth. I have used this approach for the last 3 years. Melt a bunch of butter and completely soak the cheesecloth in the butter. Then, cover as much of the bird as you can. I then put a combination of melted butter and apple cider in the bottom of the roasting pan and use this as the basting liquid. You can do some vegetables in the pan as well to add flavor to your gravy base later in the cooking cycle (depending on the size of the bird) so they don't burn. I usually take the cheesecloth off for the last 45 minutes or so to let the bird skin crisp.

This year I am trying two. One with the above method stuffed with oyster stuffing and one fried (stuffing tbd).

Edited by mikeycook (log)

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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I have started with the breast side down before. The only thing to make sure if that you grease the rack sufficiently to keep it from sticking. With a chicken or small turkey, I will sometimes start breast down, then do some time on each side, then finally breast side up. With a large stuffed turkey, this can be problematic, as a hot, greasy, heavy bird is not something you want to quickly spin around.

A friend of the family suggested cheesecloth. I have used this approach for the last 3 years. Melt a bunch of butter and completely soak the cheesecloth in the butter. Then, cover as much of the bird as you can. I then put a combination of melted butter and apple cider in the bottom of the roasting pan and use this as the basting liquid. You can do some vegetables in the pan as well to add flavor to your gravy base later in the cooking cycle (depending on the size of the bird) so they don't burn. I usually take the cheesecloth off for the last 45 minutes or so to let the bird skin crisp.

This year I am trying two. One with the above method stuffed with oyster stuffing and one fried (stuffing tbd).

Oh, almost forgot something. Last year I melted the butter with Calvados before dipping the cheesecloth, so it went into the cheesecloth and the basting liquid. Made the gravy much better.

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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We grilled ours on the Weber during Thanksgiving ast year and it was AMAZING. I dont think we did much to it other than shove some bacon under the skin and baste it in a little liquid.

Tell me more about this Weber grill, bacon under skin thing. Please.

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Has anyone else used the turkey-sized Reynolds Oven Bags? The turkeys cook in much less time than a regular oven-roasted bird and when they are done they are practically fall-apart done. A couple years ago, my mom went to check on how done the turkey was (in the oven bag) by wiggling one of the legs and the bone came completely out of the turkey leg. DOH!

One complaint that my mom has is that she says the skin doesn't get as crisp as the regular oven-roasted birds. The oven bag-roasted birds do brown but they're not peking-ducklike-crisp.

 

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Tim Oliver

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I've used the Reynolds Oven bags in the past and they do reduce the cooking time. They keep the bird pretty moist. But that said I've had good results with cooking the bird breast side down and then flipping it. It gets a little tricky to handle the turkey once its cooking but it can be done, thing is you don't want to damage the skin. Nothing like a nicely browned bird. But one missing skin would be another thing...

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For a juicy, flavourful turkey I recommend chicken thighs instead.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

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Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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