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pektel
11-23-2014, 09:30 AM
This is the third year I'm having the in laws over for thanksgiving. The past 2 years I've made a good bird. Some Alton Brown recipe I got from the interweb.

I make a great dressing (I never stuff the bird, so I can't call it stuffing) and sage gravy, so I usually just rely on those to carry the turkey.

Just wondering if anyone else around here is responsible for thanksgiving dinner, and have any turkey recipes or pointers they'd like to share. I know there are some excellent cooks among us, and would love some input. I am no stranger to taking my favorite parts of different recipes and making it work. So even if it's one thing you always do, or something to Never do, it's all helpful!

pektel
11-23-2014, 09:36 AM
I should add: the inlaws are not fans of smoked/BBQ anything. So no smoked turkey. And no fryer. Only cooking method will be my electric oven.

Stevez
11-23-2014, 09:42 AM
I was just getting ready to recommend smoked turkey until I read your second post, so I wont! I will recommend that you brine the bird for 24 hours. I did a smoked turkey for an early Thanksgiving this year and even with 6 hours on the smoker it was incredibly moist, tender and flavorful. I did the Apple Brine recipe on the Virtual Weber Bullet website. Great brine. Also, just make sure you don't over cook and cook to 165/breast and 175 or so in the thigh. Good luck!

Porch Dweller
11-23-2014, 10:23 AM
I love smok...nevermind. :)

shilala
11-23-2014, 10:26 AM
Tons of butter and mushrooms in the stuffing, and you got a winner.
Eat the skin, use the drippings for gravy, and throw the turkey in the back yard for the Bumphus hounds. :tu

pektel
11-23-2014, 10:57 AM
I make a sage dressing in a separate crock in the oven. I start with the pepperidge farm sage and onion stuffing per package directions. Then add whatever I feel like (a couple fresh, torn sage leaves for example). I simmer the giblets and baste the dressing with that. Then chop up the simmered heart and gizzard and add them to the dressing. I don't really like the liver so I leave that out, and I'll pick at the neck meat while cooking. One of those "cooks treats" that never make it past the kitchen.

I Also add an egg to make it more sticky than dry.

pektel
11-23-2014, 11:05 AM
Tons of butter and mushrooms in the stuffing, and you got a winner.
Eat the skin, use the drippings for gravy, and throw the turkey in the back yard for the Bumphus hounds. :tu

For some odd reason, I've never added mushrooms to the dressing. That will definitely change this year. I just have to chop them up small so they can't see them.

Great suggestion, Scott. :tu

Porch Dweller
11-23-2014, 11:40 AM
Tons of butter and mushrooms in the stuffing, and you got a winner.
Eat the skin, use the drippings for gravy, and throw the turkey in the back yard for the Bumphus hounds. :tu

Our dressing is sliced mushrooms and celery, minced onion, and bread cubes, with lots of butter used to cook the veggies and a little chicken stock to make it even moister. A little poultry seasoning and pepper and it's ready to get baked.

pnoon
11-23-2014, 12:11 PM
An unusual but wonderful addition to the stuffing is water chestnuts.
:2

CigarNut
11-23-2014, 01:09 PM
An unusual but wonderful addition to the stuffing is water chestnuts.
:2

Love it!

pektel
11-23-2014, 01:14 PM
I have some picky eaters around the table, peter. It's an excellent suggestion. I've tried the water chestnut addition before. I loved it. They did not.

I guess the bright side was I got all the stuffing I could eat. And then some.

Chainsaw13
11-23-2014, 01:18 PM
Turkey roulade. Boned breast, stuffed, rolled, tied, roasted.

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2008/11/cook-the-book-roasted-turkey-roulade.html

Use your own stuffing if you'd think the picky eaters won't like the one in the recipe.

AdamJoshua
11-23-2014, 01:30 PM
Well since I read this thread this morning, I went out and got the ingredients to make stuff, yes with tons of butter and mushrooms, Scott.

I used to do the turkey fairly traditional (I suppose if it was literally traditional it would be a fish not a turkey), except I would season button under the skin covering the breasts and the sides.

Porch Dweller
11-23-2014, 01:44 PM
I have some picky eaters around the table, peter. It's an excellent suggestion. I've tried the water chestnut addition before. I loved it. They did not.

I guess the bright side was I got all the stuffing I could eat. And then some.

I get annoyed at picky eaters. Maybe it's just because I really enjoy cooking and eating.

smokin5
11-23-2014, 01:55 PM
When I host Thanksgiving, it's usually for 15-20 people, so I make lots.

I'm a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving turkey.
Rub outside with olive oil/melted butter & salt; sprinkle with black
(or white) pepper, sage, thyme & rosemary; rub cavity with same;
cut apple or orange & put in cavity with rosemary sprigs. Add about
1/2" of liquid in pan (broth or water or white wine, or a mix of them),
cook at 325 degrees until done (165 degree thigh). First 2/3 cooking
time covered, last 1/3 uncovered. Baste occasionally.

I also do a separate turkey breast the day before, similar prep but
covered with bacon strips, cooked at 350 degrees uncovered.
I slice that when cooled, refrigerate it, & heat it in the oven with
extra broth on Thursday.

I make 2 kinds of stuffing casserole-style (I don't stuff the bird).
One is the more traditional white bread/celery/carrot/onion/sage,
the other is cornbread/mild sausage/apple/onion.
A time-saving tip is to mix the stuffing the day before & refrigerate
in well-sealed casserole dish. Then you just pop in oven when the
turkey comes out on Thursday.

And always, ALWAYS make the gravy from scratch, not a jar or packet.
Roue (flour/butter sauteed until golden brown) is a must, as are the
browned bits & grease/juice from the cooked turkey. Add broth &
it's done in the 30 minutes the cooked turkey rests before carving.

Lastly, keep a glass of wine/liquor handy at all times - a cook's best helper!

MarkinCA
11-23-2014, 02:53 PM
Lastly, keep a glass of wine/liquor handy at all times - a cook's best helper!

:confused:Was that a glass or a bottle Eric?;)

pektel
11-23-2014, 02:59 PM
Bottle. If you have to ask me if it's too early to drink, you're an amateur and we can't be friends. :D

pektel
11-23-2014, 03:06 PM
When I host Thanksgiving, it's usually for 15-20 people, so I make lots.

I'm a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving turkey.
Rub outside with olive oil/melted butter & salt; sprinkle with black
(or white) pepper, sage, thyme & rosemary; rub cavity with same;
cut apple or orange & put in cavity with rosemary sprigs. Add about
1/2" of liquid in pan (broth or water or white wine, or a mix of them),
cook at 325 degrees until done (165 degree thigh). First 2/3 cooking
time covered, last 1/3 uncovered. Baste occasionally.

I also do a separate turkey breast the day before, similar prep but
covered with bacon strips, cooked at 350 degrees uncovered.
I slice that when cooled, refrigerate it, & heat it in the oven with
extra broth on Thursday.

I make 2 kinds of stuffing casserole-style (I don't stuff the bird).
One is the more traditional white bread/celery/carrot/onion/sage,
the other is cornbread/mild sausage/apple/onion.
A time-saving tip is to mix the stuffing the day before & refrigerate
in well-sealed casserole dish. Then you just pop in oven when the
turkey comes out on Thursday.

And always, ALWAYS make the gravy from scratch, not a jar or packet.
Roue (flour/butter sauteed until golden brown) is a must, as are the
browned bits & grease/juice from the cooked turkey. Add broth &
it's done in the 30 minutes the cooked turkey rests before carving.

Lastly, keep a glass of wine/liquor handy at all times - a cook's best helper!

Great ideas, Eric. I like the idea of making the dressing the night before. I'll just have to baste the turkey with pan broth on Thursday. I've ALWAYS basted with the giblet stock. My late grandma taught me that when I was a kid. I asked her what she had in the pot on the stove all day, that she kept using to baste the turkey and stuffing. I've done it that way since my first turkey.

Since I also do dressing instead of stuffing, I find it a good way to incorporate the flavor into the casserole dish.

pektel
11-23-2014, 03:20 PM
I get annoyed at picky eaters. Maybe it's just because I really enjoy cooking and eating.

I'm with ya. I do ALL the cooking at my house. All the different tastes to try, and only my 7 year old and myself "get it."

He actually is a lot more adventurous than I am with new foods. My 4 year old would be happy with pancakes, grilled cheese, and hotdogs until the end of time.

My 7 year old had some sage advice for me when I was trying to get his brother to try sauerkraut. He stopped me from pitching the idea by saying "remember, dad: everyone has their own taste buds."

The kid is smart. :)

pektel
11-23-2014, 03:21 PM
Turkey roulade. Boned breast, stuffed, rolled, tied, roasted.

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2008/11/cook-the-book-roasted-turkey-roulade.html

Use your own stuffing if you'd think the picky eaters won't like the one in the recipe.

That sounds awesome! I think I'll test that out on a normal weekday first.

Chainsaw13
11-23-2014, 04:14 PM
I've been wanting to make one myself. Just never the time.

smokin5
11-23-2014, 09:07 PM
Bottle. If you have to ask me if it's too early to drink, you're an amateur and we can't be friends. :D

Or as WE like to say,
"You can't drink all day unless you start early in the morning" :ss

smokin5
11-23-2014, 09:11 PM
As far as basting, you can always pull the gizzards out of the main bird
on Wednesday & cook them for stock then. That way you can still baste
the extra breast if you choose, then refrigerate the remaining stock for
the 'main attraction' on Thursday. Same with the dressing - just drizzle
on the gizzard stock Thursday before you put it in the oven.

mosesbotbol
11-24-2014, 12:01 AM
My best tip is to pull out the spine and cut off the leg-thighs so it cooks faster or more even. I generally cook the stuffing separately. Stir in pan drippings when transferring to a serving bowl. You'll have three easy pieces of turkey to deal with and much easier to carve.

Ashcan Bill
11-24-2014, 12:43 PM
The one recommendation I'd make is a simple one. Cook the bird with the breast down. As the gobbler cooks, the breast will absorb the juices and you'll never again worry about having dry white meat. The first time I tried this, it looked a little funny cooking an upside down turkey. But after tasting the difference both in flavor and texture of the breast meat, I was a convert.

And as already stated, brining the bird the day before is mandatory for me.

Now that I'm thinking about it, I suppose it's about time for me to start the defrost process.

dave
11-24-2014, 12:54 PM
Last week or so....for the first time, I keep hearing about roasting the turkey upside down - at least for first couple hours. Never heard it or tried it, but it makes sense, I guess. Anyone do it that way?

AdamJoshua
11-24-2014, 01:34 PM
Last week or so....for the first time, I keep hearing about roasting the turkey upside down - at least for first couple hours. Never heard it or tried it, but it makes sense, I guess. Anyone do it that way?

I've done it that way the last 10 or so times I have made turkey, I start with it upside down in a V rack, cook for about an hour or so then flip it over and cook right side up. This not only helps to keep the breast juicy and tender, it helps the dark meat cook faster than normal so that your bird is done more 'even', usually the dark meat at the bottom takes longer to cook so by the time the dark meat is at temp the breast is a bit over-cooked and dryer.

Gooble gooble

galaga
11-24-2014, 02:49 PM
One word: Spatchcock :banger

http://qz.com/301003/the-story-of-spatchcock-turkey-and-how-mark-bittman-changed-thanksgiving-forever/

dave
11-25-2014, 09:45 AM
Just two of us this year, so my wife bought a turkey breast. Ok by me, but....can I buy just neck and giblets for stuffing and gravy? Probably need to get to a butcher....easier said than done around here.

pnoon
11-25-2014, 09:47 AM
Just two of us this year, so my wife bought a turkey breast. Ok by me, but....can I buy just neck and giblets for stuffing and gravy? Probably need to get to a butcher....easier said than done around here.

Just buy a whole chicken and use the neck and giblets from it.

mosesbotbol
11-26-2014, 03:17 AM
Just two of us this year, so my wife bought a turkey breast. Ok by me, but....can I buy just neck and giblets for stuffing and gravy? Probably need to get to a butcher....easier said than done around here.

There should be enough pan dripping for gravy or just use chicken broth to add in. A darker rue before adding the broth will give some color.

shilala
11-26-2014, 05:42 AM
Peter, don't forget you have two sides to that turkey.
Make the inside a way that everyone will like it, and stuff the breast with whatever you want to try yourself.
We always have a few kinds of stuffing, but the girls don't make the other ones in a bird. That way they can make more exotic stuffing without wrecking a whole bird if nobody likes it.

pektel
11-26-2014, 12:44 PM
Good point, Scott.

Right now it's coming down to traditional method or spatchcocking. I'm really intrigued by butterflying the bird and removing the leg quarters.

mosesbotbol
11-27-2014, 03:35 AM
I'm really intrigued by butterflying the bird and removing the leg quarters.

I'll never cook a turkey again any other way. Jacques Peppin does it that way and it makes so much sense. Might not give you the Norman Rockwell presentation, but cooks a hell lot quicker, juicier, less hand holding and skin renders fat better. Can season under skin easier.

pektel
11-27-2014, 05:38 AM
Moses, that's exactly why I'm so convinced to do it that way. I don't care about the presentation, because I never carve the bird at the table.

I'm simmering a vegetable stock right now. Thought about icing the stock and throwing the bird pieces in a lower-salt brine for 6-8 hours.

Is this method better with a brine? Or should I just forget about it?

pektel
11-27-2014, 12:06 PM
Well, I made the vegetable stock this morning for a quick brine session for the bird. added a can of chicken broth, and maybe a cup of kosher salt (didn't measure, just poured some in. Added ice, then water so it was totally covered. Only brined it for 6 hours. I had nothing else to do this morning.

I decided to do it this way:

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t228/pektel/Mobile%20Uploads/image-6.jpg (http://s161.photobucket.com/user/pektel/media/Mobile%20Uploads/image-6.jpg.html)

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t228/pektel/Mobile%20Uploads/image-9.jpg (http://s161.photobucket.com/user/pektel/media/Mobile%20Uploads/image-9.jpg.html)

My four year old thinks it's hilarious.

Now thinking about a dry rub or something to work its magic until it hits the oven in a few hours. Salt, pepper, marjoram, sage, rosemary mix maybe?

shilala
11-28-2014, 08:04 AM
How'd it turn out, Peter?

sigsauer
11-28-2014, 08:11 AM
http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/11/video-how-to-spatchcock-turkey-thanksgiving.html

did our turkey this year...
chopped the spine and neck bones into 3 inch chunks for the gravy...
bird was juicy under crisp skin...the best!

sigsauer
11-28-2014, 08:13 AM
forgot did I store bought brine for 14 hours.....(14lb bird)
rinsed off brine and patted dry..
salt/pepper/butter all over skin....baked @ 400 degrees for 90minutes
succulent!

pektel
11-28-2014, 09:14 AM
How'd it turn out, Peter?

I'm converted. It was AWESOME. Crispy, delicious, seasoned skin, super moist breast meat. The gravy was one of The best I've ever made. After cutting out the back (serrated knife is WAY easier than shears, btw), I also removed the rib bones. All that went into the giblet stock.

Glad I only brined the bird for 6 hours. The salt level of the gravy was perfect. I didn't need to add anything but pan drippings (allspice berries removed), a bunch of giblet/turkey stock, and corn starch slurry (made with potato water) to thicken it up.

I rubbed the "inside" with kosher salt and pepper. Skin side I did the same, but added some crushed rosemary, rubbed sage, and marjoram. Then threw a few sprigs of fresh sage and rosemary between the wing/breast for aromatics. Also tossed some allspice berries into the bottom of the roasting pan for an added flavor to the drippings. I don't know if it was the rub or the herbs, but the breast had awesome herbal flavor. Probably the rub from the skin. I cut the whole breast filet off the bird, then sliced across the grain so everyone gets skin with the meat.

Wish I would've taken an after picture, but I served dinner an hour behind schedule. I bought a guitar on a whim yesterday, and the guy who delivered it stayed for over an hour instead of the 10 minutes I expected. Didn't know the guy is a recording artist. So we ended up playing for a while. He wants me to put down some backing piano tracks on a record he's working on now. I'm pretty excited about going into the studio. But I digress...

ALMOST all the picky eaters loved it. But my SO saw how much onions go into the stuffing, so she wouldn't touch it. Her loss, and more stuffing for me today :D

Chainsaw13
11-28-2014, 09:18 AM
Nicely don a Peter. I like the idea of the allspice.

pektel
11-28-2014, 09:47 AM
Thanks bob. It was a last- minute decision, and I did notice the added layer in the gravy. :tu

Scottw
11-28-2014, 10:53 AM
The one recommendation I'd make is a simple one. Cook the bird with the breast down. As the gobbler cooks, the breast will absorb the juices and you'll never again worry about having dry white meat. The first time I tried this, it looked a little funny cooking an upside down turkey. But after tasting the difference both in flavor and texture of the breast meat, I was a convert.

And as already stated, brining the bird the day before is mandatory for me.

Now that I'm thinking about it, I suppose it's about time for me to start the defrost process.
I did the upside down bird this year and it was unreal!

Ashcan Bill
11-28-2014, 01:24 PM
I did the upside down bird this year and it was unreal!

Odd how a little change makes such a difference, huh?

I used to pretty much hate white meat. It was always too dried out and bland for me. After starting to cook with the breast down, I now find the breast meat to be very moist and flavorful.

Now it's time for turkey casserole. And turkey goulash, turkey hash, turkey sandwiches, turkey and eggs, maybe a little turkey chile. :lr

shilala
11-28-2014, 02:37 PM
Ya know, I'm 100% sold on this spatchcocking thing. But only if I was doing the bird on the grill with some mesquite. Or something on that order.
A chicken on the grill, even.
The only reason I wouldn't do the bird this way for Thanksgiving is because I like stuffing SO much better than dressing. And the stuffing and gravy is my favorite, by a longshot.
I probably eat three tiny pieces of turkey at dinner, a giant pile of stuffing, and a quart of gravy. :D

I'm happy it worked out for you guys. That's awesome. I certainly look forward to trying it. :tu

pektel
11-28-2014, 03:17 PM
I have another bird thawing in the fridge as we speak. I've single-handedly eaten ALL the leftover turkey and dressing.

There is a little bit of potatoes and a tiny bit of gravy left (I slather EVERYTHING in gravy the next day, and mix the potatoes and stuffing together on my plate after reheating).

Maybe I'll try the upside down thing next to have a closer comparison than a year between turkey dinners.

Even though I've ate a whole 9x13 pan full of leftovers, I'm still hungry for more turkey.

Stevez
11-28-2014, 06:35 PM
That's great Peter and it sounds delicious. I have never spatchcocked a turkey, nor cooked one up-side down, but can't wait to try both methods. Just curious, you mentioned you were glad you only brined it for 6 hours as the salt level was perfect. I have never noticed longer brining with saltier taste. I know that seems logical, but I brined for 24 hours and it was great and not at all salty.

Scottw
11-28-2014, 07:37 PM
Odd how a little change makes such a difference, huh?

I used to pretty much hate white meat. It was always too dried out and bland for me. After starting to cook with the breast down, I now find the breast meat to be very moist and flavorful.

Now it's time for turkey casserole. And turkey goulash, turkey hash, turkey sandwiches, turkey and eggs, maybe a little turkey chile. :lr
It was really unbelievably good. Huge difference.

pektel
11-28-2014, 08:25 PM
I was just referring to the gravy. If I had brined it much longer, I'm thinking the drippings would've been too salty for gravy.

mosesbotbol
11-29-2014, 12:24 AM
Not into brining poultry or pork, it gives it too much a water logged taste and the texture of the meat is processed tasting. It does flavor the meat; I won't argue that. I prefer to dry curing.

pektel
11-29-2014, 06:24 AM
I didn't have the time required for a dry cure, Moses. Well, I did, but didn't ask about/research that option until after it was too late. I saw a new Alton Brown recipe in which he incorporates a dry rub/aging process in the fridge. Now that you've reminded me of that, maybe I'll try this next turkey that way.

This is the first year I tried a brine. I unpackaged the bird early Thursday morning, and it wasn't completely thawed. I put it in the sink to start running water over it, and thought a flavorful brine instead of plain water would be the better option.