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How do you prepare a turkey?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

When preparing your turkey do you prefer to roast, deep-fry, or grill?  I personally prefer deep-frying because of the flavor, tenderness, and how you can save time with this method.  Any thoughts? chef.gif

post #2 of 22
I enjoy a good old roast however after its roasted I like to throw pieces on the grill for that yummy char flavor. Deep frying is delicious too but I can't say I've tried it myself. Yet
post #3 of 22

I'm not the biggest turkey fan. Maybe I've just had too much dry turkey :(

I found one way though that's easy, tasty and almost fool proof. I put the turkey on the kettle bbq on indirect fire with the lid on. Lemon and onion in the cavity. I add charcoal one extra time and the turkey is ready in about 3-4 hours with no extra work!

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post #4 of 22

Everyone has their own individual way. As long as it comes out good who cares how?

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #5 of 22

It's a bit early for a turkey thread ain't it?  I don't like my turkey whole.  I am not usually responsible for Thanksgiving dinner, we always go to someone else's house for that.  At home turkey breast is a weeknight dinner for us, bone in skin on.  I like to season it with cumin, coriander and cayenne.  Sear it skin side down in a hot pan with olive oil.  Turn it over and continue cooking in the oven until cooked through.  Make some pan jus as it rests.  Nice!

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #6 of 22

I usually brine and then toss in an oven bag .

Tender, juicy and flavorful.

post #7 of 22

Well, let me preface by saying that turkeys here im sweden are not a popular item and all you can get a scrawny birds, 10 pounds or less and not really well farm raised ie. tastless and dry. So, here I've had to really be creative to get a good bird. First I make a compound butter with sage, tyme,honey, salt and a bit of white pepper. Then I divide the butter in to small " bullets" about the size of a 3030 shell and freeze them. I pat the turkey dry and salt it inside and out. Stuff the cavities with chopped onion,celery, carrot and garlic, discarde before serving. Then with a boning knife it cut slits into the breast, thighs, and leg and stuff the bullets in and also put a few between the skin and meat itself. I pat the outside dry again and the give it a nice rub with cold pressed raps oil and a bit more salt and some white pepper. No bag, into the  convection over at 200c [ 425ish  F ] for 20 mins and the reduce the oven to 120c [250ishF ]  and roast till its done, 75c [ 165ish F ].  I do about a dozen at thanksgiving for catering and a few for xmass for some yanks in the area , they come out lovley. Oh, and turkey is 5 bucks a pound here, always frozen, I live a hundred miles from the nearest turkey farm.

 

In the states I would always smoke the turkey from the fall season that I shot and get a nice free walking turkey from a local Amish farmer that I would put on  a spit and do on the gas grill with a nice tangy bbq sause to baste. We would have about 30 for tgiving dinner so two big turkeys and a some roased elk or buffelo was requiered for the masses.  The spring wild turkey[ we only got 2 turkey tags a year in Pennsylvania] went on the charcoal grill for Easter.  Sometimes I miss Pennsylvania.

post #8 of 22

Summer I prefer on the weber kettle with charcoal, Thanksgiving classic roasted with sage butter stuffed under the skin over the breast meat. And yes I stuff the bird with a bread stuffing, way I make it the stuffing is already hot before it goes in the cavity.

post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 

Very good points by all of you.  If I were you I would really consider trying turkey frying sometime.  It is ALOT quicker than roasting and for those of you that said they are sick of turkey being dry. Deep fried turkey is the juiciest and most tender ways to prepare your turkey.  Many people also believe that deep-fried turkey is unhealthy, but the calories in deep-fried turkey are also barely higher than that of roasted turkey...but more delicious.  It's a win-win situation smile.gif

 

Also @ Koukouvagia, I deep fry all year round!  It is perfect for parties, tail-gates, holidays or any sort of get together with friends and family!

post #10 of 22

Fried is certainly tasty, but (you knew there would be a but, eh?) all that oil is sooo expensive.

Around here it is a guy thing (think beer and cigars in the backyard) and usually a superbowl Sunday thing.

Fry the bird then a sh**load of french fries.

@lagom a nice brine is a sure fire way to moisturize, but then again, you probably enjoy your yearly "ritual" .

Who really eats the bird anyway?

It is a nice vehicle for some cranberry chutney and that's it for me.

My mom's (now mine, bless her soul) southern style cornbread dressing made with sweet cornbread and lots of poultry seasoning (not sweet like candy, just a nice background) onions,(yellow and green), a bit of celery sauteed in LOTS of butter.

Homemade stock.

 

** Would someone plz tell my sister that dressing without sage is like going to work with no pants on....

 

mimi

post #11 of 22

I roast or smoke or grill them. Never been impressed with the fried turkeys I've had.

post #12 of 22

Turkey off the weber grill is super moist plus the crunchy skin can't be beat.

post #13 of 22

Why do you suppose turkey that's grilled on the grill or deep fried is juicier inside and crispier outside???

 

THE HIGH HEAT!!!!!!!!!

 

I always have juicy turkey.  I chop some mild herbs (chive, thyme or marjoram) and garlic, crush black and pink peppercorns and take some chunks of butter, roll them in that, and stuff these under the skin.  (I don't make slits like Lagom - by the way, welcome! nice to see other europeans here) , because the skin holds the juices in, so why break it?)

 

I stuff the turkey just because it adds a little flavor from the inside and the turkey makes the stuffing taste better and not be dry, and anyway, it's called stuffing, right? 

 

Then i smear a little butter over it, salt and pepper, and put it at the bottom of a VERY HOT OVEN, like 450 degrees, and let it roast.  I use a low-sided pan, so steam doesn't form because i can't think of anything less appealing than steamed turkey (well, steamed turkey SKIN!  yuck).  I stick potato wedges all around it about 45 minutes before it's cooked (i have a very big oven tray and a very big oven) because the turkey gives them such a lovely taste.  And they get nice and brown at the high heat in the turkey fat. 

 

I watch it like a hawk and test for doneness when the joints are a little loose, and stick a thin knife in at the thick parts and feel them on my upper lip - if the knife is not hot, it's not cooked.  I can only estimate the time because none of the cookbooks i have tell you the timing for a constant high heat cooking. 

If the skin is getting too brown (is there such a thing?) i tent it with foil. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #14 of 22

I do mine in the oven.  I tent it with plain brown paper saturated with butter and bacon drippings.  Makes it self basting and makes a nice crispy brown skin.  I do my sour dough and corn bread stuffing on the side I never stuff my birds.

post #15 of 22

I prepare the turkey by showing it a Power Point presentation on just about any subject. Afterwards, it goes quietly and without fuss.

 

Like the Most Interesting Man In the World, I don't always cook turkey but if I do I prefer to smoke it over a mix of oak and fruit wood.  I brine.   Before putting the bird in the smoker (or oven), I stuff seasoned butter (and sometimes truffles) between skin and meat; and use an herbaceous and slightly spicy -- but not sweet -- rub of one sort or another; stuff with citrus, herbs and onions; truss the legs and wings to keep a compact shape and control relative cooking rates; and sometimes finish the turkey with a maple or citrus glaze.  I cook turkey to a breast temp of just below 160F and a thigh temp of just above 165F -- those temps are below the usual recommendations but I use only high-quality birds from local suppliers.    

 

BDL

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post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 

So whichever way you like to prepare then haha since everyone seems to have a different preference...

 

Do you brine, inject, use a rub, or any sort of combination of these methods?

 

Personally I like to brine...

post #17 of 22

I've taken to home koshering over brining if I want that salted effect. Quicker for poultry though not as versatile.

 

Where I'm on a sodium restriction (which is also why I don't bother with brines or koshering a lot), I use rubs quite heavily for many dishes that aren't traditionally rubbed.

 

I've injected smaller cuts like a pork loin or chicken. I've injected turkey too, but have been getting birds that are good even without injecting.

 

Brines, injections and such can often go too far and change the flavor and texture of the meat. I'm of the opinion that buying a good quality bird or cut of meat offers better results of letting the food be what it is than the masquerade that comes from brining and injecting of low quality production meat. With good ingredients, you don't need or want that extra stuff in the way.

post #18 of 22

Have never had a fried turkey before, but would definitely be interested in trying it.

 

IMO, you MUST have gravy...from the drippings, so fryiing isn't something I'd be likely to do.  On rare occasions when I cook a whole bird, I do what my grandmother always did.  Stuffing IN the bird.  She never really timed the bird, but kinda had that 20 minutes a lb in mind. When I was a kid, those pop-up thingies weren't around yet... kinda useless anyway.  She's roast Thanksgiving/Christmas turkey in one of those big black, speckled roasting pans.  When legs and wings wiggled freely (like ready to pull off) the bird was done.  Don't remember ever having a bird that ended up under cooked?!?

 

My Dad preferred white meat.  One holiday dinner, he made a mutant, deconstructed dinner.  Two whole breasts and some thighs/wings/drumsticks.  Total "mad scientist" experiment that worked out very well.  We made stuffing as if we were gonna put it in the bird.  Put it in 2 large foil packets with tops open and set whole breasts on top.  Ended up with lots of good GUNK in pan from arms and legs to make lots of gravy.

 

My Grandmother always put the neck and other "presents" from cavity in a sauce pan and had a simmering stock to add to pan if needed and add to gravy at the end.  She liked to pick at the neck... NOT for me... too tedious.

 

Would LOVE to try a boned out turkey... but don't think my knife skills are up to that.

 

Was on a ski vacation with several friend in New England... VT or NH.  We'd buy/cook BIG food (like a ham or make a big meatloaf), have one big meal and pick on left-overs over next few days.  I convinced friends that we COULD put whole turkey in relatively low oven in the morning and just leave it all day while we skied.  One of the guys took on the prep work and SHOOED everybody out of the kitchen while he did it.  I was first back at condo... and the aroma when I opened the door was WONDERFUL!!  I pulled it out to see how done and saw a BULGE in neck end... he had left the "presents" inside!!  Turkey was FINE.  I cut them out and had them in a zip bag in fridge... evidence and a treat for dogs when I returned home a few days later.  Needless to say, I was NOT easy on the "chef"!!  That's what friends are for!

post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by thatchairlady View Post

 

Would LOVE to try a boned out turkey... but don't think my knife skills are up to that.

 

It's not nearly as hard as it looks. Sharp knife, short cuts, follow the bones. Though you do leave the drum stick and wings bone-in or remove them for other uses. Do give it a try. You'll be surprised at how its not so daunting a task afterall.

 

I like this video for the deboning aspects as it also shows doing the drumsticks and on three different sized birds. He does just remove the wings though.

 

post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by flipflopgirl View Post

Fried is certainly tasty, but (you knew there would be a but, eh?) all that oil is sooo expensive.

Around here it is a guy thing (think beer and cigars in the backyard) and usually a superbowl Sunday thing.

Fry the bird then a sh**load of french fries.

@lagom a nice brine is a sure fire way to moisturize, but then again, you probably enjoy your yearly "ritual" .

Who really eats the bird anyway?

It is a nice vehicle for some cranberry chutney and that's it for me.

My mom's (now mine, bless her soul) southern style cornbread dressing made with sweet cornbread and lots of poultry seasoning (not sweet like candy, just a nice background) onions,(yellow and green), a bit of celery sauteed in LOTS of butter.

Homemade stock.

 

** Would someone plz tell my sister that dressing without sage is like going to work with no pants on....

 

mimi



The oil is expensive, but a great idea is to have few neighbors chip in for the oil (if at Thanksgiving or Christmas) and have a "neighborhood fry".  You can do a bunch of turkeys in a day, and it does make it much more economical.

post #21 of 22

That is a great idea DeepFry, but I am in Texas and the only thing our guys would "pool" $$ for would be the beer, lol.

So whoever is hosting takes the economic blast full on...

Us gals, not so.

You NEVER show up without your claim to fame mystery dish (the one you won't share the recipe for, passed down thru the g-ma, mom....)

Had a cookie swap dream last nite.

My year to host, must start preparing.

Straying OT, sorry.

I am all over BDL's bird (maybe he will share his brine recipe) with the truffles.

Oy.

post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 

Deep frying a turkey is worth the cost, at least I feel.  Also for you folks out there who haven't tried brining you definitely should!  I personally like the savory brines better myself, although sweet ones can be good as well. 

 

A typical brine recipe that I might use would be:

 

  • 2 quarts vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup salt (3/4 cup Kosher or coarse salt)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 quarts cold water

 

Let the turkey brine overnight and make sure to rinse it off and let it dry well (especially if deep frying to avoid a fireball).

 

Does anyone else have recipes that they would like to share?  I would like to hear some more good brine recipes especially?

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