or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Catering › Turkey Question for luncheon
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Turkey Question for luncheon

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I'm doing a Bd of Director's Luncheon this week and have hit a couple of snags. Thought someone here might be able to help.

First off, although not what I'm asking about, is that the price I gave them, $24.95, was almost twice what they were planning to pay. It's a non-profit, so I knew there wasn't much money. We tweaked the menu and got it down to $18pp. I'm fine with that- it will be quick and easy; no set up, just the buffet. No clean up, just the buffet. In and out within an hour or two. It's 30 people and I'm taking one other staff to help out. I could set up and serve 30, but wanted this to be nice in hopes of getting more business out of it. Besides, I hate packing, setting up, breaking down, and unloading without enough help.

Anyway, the menu was to be roast turkey sliced and served over a stuffing with sides. I won't bother listing them since they've been trimmed. My question is this: I normally roast then de-bone the turkey to slice and serve over the stuffing, then cover and reheat. The stuffing provides enough moisture to keep the turkey from drying out. Since we've cut the stuffing from the menu in favor of a Provencal potato salad, how will I keep the turkey hot without drying out? I prefer to cook it the day before so I don't have to start work at 2 am for a small luncheon. Will reheating be a problem? What if I cover it with damp towels and film wrap?

This, I might add, is my own fault. I wanted their luncheon to be nicer than it was with the old caterer who served dried chicken breasts, salad and baked potato. I thought fresh roast turkey with some upscale sides would be an improvement. Now it looks as if I might be serving dried out turkey unless someone here has a good idea.
Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 22
Sauce it.....even if it's a light chicken/turkey redux....

Brine it if possible.

Reheat in the sauce.
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
post #3 of 22
Yep saucing would be an absolute must on it. I like shrooms idea of a chicken/turkey redux too maybe use a dry sauterne (you can use taylor dry sauterne ... super cheap and no one would ever guess). Brining would also help big time.

Another option would be to brine and do smoked turkey. Then don't reheat. Serve it room temp or slightly chilled. It would be really lovely with the provencal potato salad. Especially if you did an atypical smoke on it like apple wood and rosemary stems. You could even do it where you lay herbs under the skin prior to smoking. Then serve it with some wonderful sauce(s) such as a something with cranberry (maybe an apple rosemary chutney even). And also serve with little sourcream and chive biscuits or angel biscuits (make these two bites maximum in size...really small).

To me upscale is in the details. The thoughtfulness of the dish not necessarily in the master ingredient. For instance I wouldn't think of turkey as upscale on it's own but as shroom or I described above it becomes upscale. Much more so even than turkey and dressing.
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Alcohol is out. They specifically requested that I not use any at all.

I like the idea of smoked turkey, but don't have any way to do it... No wait! My friend's restaurant has a smoker. I'm going to call him right now.

If he can't smoke the turkey for me, what do you think about herbs under the skin and roasting it? Would that have the same effect?

I love both your ideas. Small sour cream biscuits would be wonderful. We make our own bread and they'd be a nice addition.

Just called him and he's willing to smoke them for me. Here's what I'm going to do. Halve the turkeys and brine with salt, sugar, and dried rosemary. Does that sound right? Rosemary and herbs under skin and smoke with applewood. Any idea how long it would take to do 4 10lb turkey halves?

TIA!
post #5 of 22
Use foil or a salt dome to protect the breasts and it should take at least 2 hours(maybe 3)in a 325 oven. (I always do em whole, not sure about time on halves) If slicing way before service let meat cool completely before slicing, the colder the better. Any juice or fat will drain away from the meat when sliced while warm. Brining, like previously stated will improve results dramatically. Good Luck!!
Keep those fires burnin'
 
Reply
Keep those fires burnin'
 
Reply
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Gladys, I've never done a salt dome. Can you explain how and why it's done? Does it make the meat salty or does the skin protect it? Interesting.
post #7 of 22

Turkey Question

Lentil,
I thought you were going to use the smoker... I haven't smoked for my catering, but my hubby smokes for parties here all the time. I will ask him for guidance on time... also, ask you friend who has the smoker.

People always RAVE about the smoked turkey & I think the rosemary under the skin is a great way to go. Very elegant, will be moist, doesn't need to be hot; all around sounds perfect for what you describe.
pgr
post #8 of 22
Here is what my guy read me from the book he uses: [I]Smoke & Spice - every thing he has smoked using this book has gotten absolutely rave reviews. He has smoked ahead and served room temp the next day. If you want sauce ideas (not absolutely necessary) he will look for you.


1.25 - 1.5 hour/lb in smoker. Wrapped in cheese cloth, wet every 1/2 hour. Remove cheese cloth after 6 hours. Baste regularly. Our smoker is not commercial and so each 10 lb piece would need to be done individually. If yours is in a restaurant, maybe it will accomodate more at once.

Let us know!
pgr
post #9 of 22
It's going to depend on how hot the smoker is so your friend will have to elaborate for you. Italian parsley adds the prettiest shape under poultry skin in my opinion. You could use it in the chutney so it makes sense. I would only do a little rosemary under the skin so it isn't overwhelming. Then when you smoke, use the rosemary stems and the apple wood.

Splitting the turkeys down the center will alter the cooking time. Cooking only breasts will increase costs and decrease cooking time as well. Sorry can't be more specific but smoking at 250 degrees will be much different than smoking at 350 or 375...you see?

Also with the brining, you may want to use apple cider, or apple juice or apple cider vinegar etc...to add to the complexity of the apple flavor. I'd probably go with apple cider or the juice. Then I might make some kind of glaze for the end with apple cider vinegar redux and maybe even something really funky like apple butter.

The last thing I would say to you is to experiment prior to making this for your party. That's easy to do with a turkey breast or turkey tenders, etc...just to check out spices and flavor combinations.
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
pgr, I am going to smoke it, but was curious about the salt mound. Thanks for your help. I really appreciate it.
post #11 of 22
Not very upscale, but very good. You could always deep fry in peanut oil. Only 3.5 min per lb.
"Can't stand the heat call JJ"S Kitchen"

JJ's (Almost Famous BBQ)
Reply
"Can't stand the heat call JJ"S Kitchen"

JJ's (Almost Famous BBQ)
Reply
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 

Almost famous, JJ....

I love deep fried turkeys! The first time my BIL did it for us, I turned my nose up at it (not outwardly:lol:), but I thought it was rather, ummm.... tacky. I could have eaten half of it !!!! I may try it for another job another time.
post #13 of 22
frying turkeys.
Messy.....expensive with the oil and MESSY.....ok, after you are done frying what do you do with the oil?, the pot/equipment.....

I fried on Christmas a couple of years ago and finally took the equipment through the car wash. Last year, 6 fish fries during lent....just really greasy, grimy.
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reminder. That's why I don't have a fryer. The turkey sure is good though/
post #15 of 22
OK, you can filter the oil and save it for another time. Wash the pot and use it anytime. Save the other equipment have an on site seafood boil. It was just a suggestion. I know you know a lot about catering, it is not polite to talk down to people. I am not your sous and I am not some new guy to catering. Sorry lentil I was wrong I think it is a great idea to have someone else smoke your turkey (real upscale), and put you reputation in someone else's hands. I would love to see the difference in the presentation of the smoked and fried turkey. Please enlighten me almighty shroomgod.
"Can't stand the heat call JJ"S Kitchen"

JJ's (Almost Famous BBQ)
Reply
"Can't stand the heat call JJ"S Kitchen"

JJ's (Almost Famous BBQ)
Reply
post #16 of 22
JJBBQGUY, shroomgoddess if you will.
I did not mean to talk down to you....nor come off as the know it all....for that I apologize.

Mass quantity frying is a mess from my experience, if you do it all the time that's another matter. You can save the oil in a walkin....not sure how long poultry oil would be safe. Just the difference in hot oil and fire vs a BBQ or smoker in safety terms means a whole lot to me. I've seen people seriously burned from hot fried fish oil as they were cleaning the containers.

As to perception of upscale, it all depends on what part of the country your from....
Smoked or roasted is generally considered more upscale than fried....pretty much across the board around here.
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
JJ,

I'm sorry if I've offended you re the "tacky" comment. BIL made the turkey years ago and I 'd never heard of fried turkey before. As I said, I'm a convert. I'm not a fan of messes though, but that's just me.

As far as the smoked turkey goes, I appreciate your comment about my reputation being in someone else's hands and agree. That's why I roasted a 22 lb turkey and a large breast today in my own shop. I'll pick up the smoked one in the morning and I may or may not use it for the luncheon. Probably will, as the friend's restaurant has a great reputation and we help each other out as needed. Well, truth be told, he helps me out way more than I help him, but I do buy him a bottle of good scotch once in awhile...:o

Although I can't speak for anyone else but myself, I don't think anyone meant to offend you.
post #18 of 22

Not too salty, just about perfect

Make a seasoned KOSHER salt mixture(NEVER TABLE SALT!) and wet it with enough liquid(i say liquid because we use oj on the ducks)to make it like wet sand. Then spread this in an even layer about 1/2 inch thick all around the skin. Start in a hot oven and reduce heat after salt dries and gets hard, about 30 minutes. I have some pictures of our ducks in the gallery with the dome off and on so you could see the difference
Keep those fires burnin'
 
Reply
Keep those fires burnin'
 
Reply
post #19 of 22
My hubby really wants to do a deep fried turkey-hey if he will cook,yea!!!!! ;) As for regular deep frying(which I hate) we have a deep fryer that drains the oil into a bottom reservoir that can be drained and most of the interior can be put in dishwasher.:cool:

canadiangirl:cool:
post #20 of 22
I had a Smoke Shak smoker in my restaurant and smoked a turkey for an employee one Christmas. It was the first turkey I ever smoked and it turned out really well. I think it took between eight and ten hours for a 14 lb. turkey, but you can always smoke it for a awhile and finish in the oven. The actual smoking process only lasts the first coulple of hours until the wood runs out. (With that smoker, anyway.) I didn't brine it; I used a rub and went under the skin with it. That smoker tended to dry things out, so I don't think I would want to split the turkeys. Your friend will know what's best. I'm also curious as to why you cancelled the dressing in favor of potato salad. Dressing is usually considered a very inexpensive side, even it you have to buy croutons instead of using dried left over bread. Plus I would think potato salad would be much more labor intensive. Just wondering.
post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Gladyce France. I'd like to try that sometime.

Eagle, he did split the turkeys, and yes, I thought the breasts were great, but the joints of the leg/thigh meat didn't get cooked enough. I'm glad I did a traditional roast and as an afterthought, I had cooked another breast- which I didn't need. Every last crumb of the smoked went!

I chose the Provencal Potato salad over the stuffing because #1 it was a luncheon with fewer sides than a dinner would have required, #2 because I had been hired over their usual caterer because her food and presentation was plain and boring (in the words of the person who hired me) and the board was tired of her always serving the same thing year after year. and most importantly because my potato salad is a whole lot prettier than my stuffing.... It has blanched haricort vert, halved grape tomatoes, fresh herbs, and a dijon vinaigrette. I like the look.

I really put some thought into the presentation (the menu too!). I didn't use chafers on the table, used risers, added gourds, acorn place card holders, and silk autumn leaves,and a rust colored cloth drape. It was a very quick service- they arrived at 12:30, ate lunch (buffet), bussed their own plates and closed the door for their meeting. We were out of there by 1:30 and received many compliments on the meal.

Anyway, thanks for all your good ideas! This job is so much easier having you folks to go to for help!
post #22 of 22
We have fried many turkeys (**** we're in Texas, haha). They taste divine if the injector marinade is the "right stuff". But they don't hold well and I really don't care too much for leftovers from it. It turns back into plain ole turkey at midnight I think.

I still say that smoked turkey is the turkey of choice for a buffet cuz of the room temp thing looking "intentional". When I was catering professionally things always had to look "intentional"...even "mistakes". If you served a fried turkey at room temp...or a roast turkey reheated or even room temp it just looks like you missed your serving window.

Another illustration of this principal is...you wouldn't serve prime rib at room temp but you would serve beef tenderloin at room temp. Intentional...know your product. No snobbery involved.

Also the mess with fried turkeys is legitimate and in a party environment...undesirable. I can't even imagine pre-frying elsewhere and serving offsite because part of the greatness of fried turkey is the "drama" or production of the fry. The oil... Ugggh! What a mess. We filtered our oils and reused but oh god, the grease...
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Catering
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Catering › Turkey Question for luncheon