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Recipe File: Classic Roast Turkey
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 8:07 pm    Post subject: Par cooking for a busy holiday Reply with quote

Four years ago I worked for a caterer, and was complaining to her about how much time I have to spend in the kitchen on the holiday. She asked me to break down everything I have to make, and bet me lunch that she could cut my time in the kitchen on the day of the holiday in half. I ended up buying her a wonderful lunch.

If the holiday falls on Thursday, she had me brine the thawed turkey on Monday of the same week, in the refrigerator in a 5 gal bucket, (purchased solely for this use). As suggested, I brined the bird for 12 hours, rinsed and patted the bird dry, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated until Tuesday.

On Wednesday, I roasted the bird, as recommended, making a wonderful looking bird, bringing the breast temperature up to 130 degrees internal temperature. Vastly undercooked, but on purpose. I let it rest to a tolerable temperature, and carved the bird off the bone into primal sections, not slices, (e.g., leg/thigh, each breast, etc.) Those primal sections were stored refrigerated in a covered, non-reactive pan, with turkey or chicken stock covering the lower half of the sections. At this point, as I vigorously cleaned up all of the juices and trimmings on my counter and board, I was certain I was about to kill everyone on my guest list. Please read on.

I held the bird, quasi-carved, in the refrigerator in a foil-covered stainless steel pan until Thursday. Two hours before service, I put the entire pan straight from the refrigerator into the oven, and brought the turkey up to the appropriate internal temperature. I have even crisped the skin on baking sheets during the last 30 minutes of cook time. If the white meat is done before the dark meat, you can separate them in this process. The turkey can be held like this, covered pan with lots of stock, to keep it moist and delicious. Remove from the pan and let rest as usual, then carve slices as usual. This first one was not only the best tasting and looking bird I have ever served, but I was able to enjoy my guests. I have done it that way ever since, and no one has ever been sick from the food, (I have had a few with hangovers from the pomegranate martinis though!)

I strongly recommend this process, but keep in mind that the un- or under-cooked parts must be kept properly refrigerated, and that the served product must be brought up to the appropriate internal temperature, just like always. I use Clorox wipes to clean up, but you can use a diluted bleach or other anti-bacterial agent to clean up the dangerous undercooked drippings.

I also use the undercooked carcass for stock by roasting it after the meat has been flayed from the bones. Wonderful!
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jkarle1106



Joined: 10 Jul 2007
Posts: 16
Location: DeBary, Florida, USA

PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a few comments. The paint bucket works good for brining. Almost all paint buckets are fluorinated on the inside, either during of after forming. This is done specifically to prevent anything from migrating into or out of the plastic. Even down to the parts per billion range. As far as using garbage bags, the only difference in a "food grade" garbage bag and a non graded bag is .......exactly none, chemically. Food grade is UV sterilized. The government checks. You know, the same folks who deliver the mail, administer social security, protect our boarders,....................

As to the post from "On November 18, 2005 at 02:14 AM, an anonymous reader said...", the CIA guy; A formal cooking school is very good at teaching the mechanics of following a recipe, and thus turning out competent cooks, some of us "geeks" like to know the why, not just the how.
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Sandra
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 1:27 am    Post subject: Confussion about brining Reply with quote

Your recipe calls for brining the turkey for four hours. Most recipes I have read says to brine over night up to 12 hours. Now I'm confused. four hours or eight hours.... Pros & Cons???
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1618
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 8:23 am    Post subject: Re: Confussion about brining Reply with quote

Sandra wrote:
Your recipe calls for brining the turkey for four hours. Most recipes I have read says to brine over night up to 12 hours. Now I'm confused. four hours or eight hours.... Pros & Cons???

With a 1 cup table salt per 1 gallon water brining solution, I advocate 4 hours of brine time. Going 8 hours is a bit too salty for my taste and less doesn't seem to firm up the flesh and provide adequate moisture in the meat to not dry out during the roasting.
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ReggieC
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 3:04 pm    Post subject: Roasting a Turkey Reply with quote

Have you tried a "roasting bag"?
I've used nothing else and my bird always comes out browned, very moist, and mouth-wartering.

I baste it outside and in the cavity with a mixture of thyme, ground sage, garlic and onion powder in melted butter (NOT MARGERINE!) I then stuff it with a traditional bread stuffing and place it in the bag with 3-4 small slits in it and insert a roasting thermometer in the meaty part of the breast.
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Holly
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 11:13 pm    Post subject: Roast Turkey with Bacon Reply with quote

Hi Gwen, remarkable how close your recipe is to mine. This came from my Grandmother, a real western gal. The bacon adds a real smokey flavor to the gravy, etc.
Large turkey 18 to 22 pounds
lb butter, melted
pound bacon
1 stuffing
Salt
Method
1. Remove giblets, neck and excess fat from turkey cavities. Save for gravy stock. Wipe turkey inside and out with paper towels and salt. Preheat oven to 325
2. Stuff upper and lower cavities. Pin or sew neck flap to back, sealing stuffing. Tie legs together with unwaxed kitchen string. Tuck wings under turkey. Brush turkey with half the butter. Lay bacon over breast.
3. Place turkey on a roasting rack in a roasting pan larger than the turkey, with three to four inch high sides. Baste bacon with melted butter to help prevent the foil from sticking to the bacon. Cover completely with baking paper and with foil (tuck foil over edges of pan to seal). Place pan on lowest shelf in oven and roast for 1 hour. Remove turkey from oven and baste with a little remaining butter. Re-cover securely and roast for 1 1/2 hours, basting every 30 minutes or so.
4. Remove bacon and discard. Baste turkey with pan juices. When turkey reaches 165 degrees, remove foil and roast, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until turkey is golden and just cooked through (juices should run clear when thickest part of thigh is pierced with a skewer). It is best to use meat thermometer.
5. Transfer turkey to a warm plate. Cover loosely with foil and set aside to rest in a warm place for 20 minutes. Reserve remaining pan juices to make gravy. It is best to carve turkey at the table. Carve meat and serve warm hot.
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Connie
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Holly thats the same way my Mom taught me how to do it. The turkey was always good. However just to see if it's juicier I am going to try cooking the bugger breast side down for an hour or so this year. I have brined in the past and it didn't make a huge difference. It did make the stuffing salty.........I just had to stuff that bird!! Also the meat looked weird becuase it has a pinkish tone near the bones no matter how cooked it is. Happy Thanksgiving all!
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Harry B
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 4:51 am    Post subject: Brining and Health Issues Reply with quote

If you are worried about your salt intake (or are cooking for people with high blood pressure or heart disease), stay away from brining, Kosher birds, and marinated or enhanced fresh pork products (which are sneaking their way into our supermarket meat departments). It turns a naturally low-sodium product into an artificially high sodium product. If that don't bother you, then brine away. After all, one of the first rules of cooking is SALT+ FAT = FLAVOR!
That being said, not brining your bird makes the other aspects of bird cooking (prep., seasoning other than salt, cooking technique, end temperature) that much more critical in order to make a moist, tasty bird. But, with vigilance, it can be done.
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Guest






PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

I don't understand the need to "dry" the bird after brining. Why not just use paper towels? Please explain. Thanks.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1618
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:
I don't understand the need to "dry" the bird after brining. Why not just use paper towels? Please explain. Thanks.

You can definitely use paper towels, but after that I still recommend letting the bird air (in a controlled environment) for at least an hour. If if surface water has been blotted off, we want to give some time for the water just under the surface to evaporate. If this doesn't happen, then the skin wouldn't crisp up a bit and you'll possibly get rubbery or chewy skin.
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Amy
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 7:50 pm    Post subject: brining & oven bag Reply with quote

I have a 24 lb turkey. Would I still brine it for 4 hrs, or since it is bigger, do I leave it in for longer?

Also, on 11/23/06, Michael, you state that a turkey bag is a convenient way to prepare a turkey, but you won't be able to use the recipe as written above. I was planning on using a reynolds oven bag, so I was wondering what parts of the recipe above would be different? Are you referring to not rotating the turkey on the V-rack, (would you even need a V-Rack if using the bag?) Or not needing to brine?

This is the 1st thanksgiving I've ever done, so I really don't want to mess up the turkey, since it's only the second one i've ever made! Thanks for your help!
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1618
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 7:37 am    Post subject: Re: brining & oven bag Reply with quote

Amy wrote:
I have a 24 lb turkey. Would I still brine it for 4 hrs, or since it is bigger, do I leave it in for longer?

I'd probably still brine it for 4 hours. It probably wouldn't hurt to add an extra hour on, but no more than that. You don't want the turkey too salty.

Amy wrote:
Also, on 11/23/06, Michael, you state that a turkey bag is a convenient way to prepare a turkey, but you won't be able to use the recipe as written above. I was planning on using a reynolds oven bag, so I was wondering what parts of the recipe above would be different? Are you referring to not rotating the turkey on the V-rack, (would you even need a V-Rack if using the bag?) Or not needing to brine?

I think I was simply acknowledging that an oven bag is convenient. When using an oven bag, rotating will be awkward and probably won't have the same affect on the turkey. I'd still brine the bird though.
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Sandra
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:17 am    Post subject: Waiting after brining Reply with quote

In an effort to not be up in the wee hours to start the 4 hr brining process can I brine the evening before, remove from brine, return to refrigerator and than cook in the morning? Or will that change the effects of the Brine?
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Notafraid
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 3:58 am    Post subject: Brining and stuffing Reply with quote

I have not noticed any difference between a turkey that has been brined and one that has not. I feel it is just a waste of time and effort.

And I really have to laugh at all of the "stuffing the turkey is verboten" crowd. My god are you also afraid to go outside because you might get cancer from the sun? Stuffing from the bird is vastly superior to stuffing baked in a dish. I know we all watch in horror as news reports after Thanksgiving detail the millions of people who havwe died from eating stuffing from the bird. lol People get a backbone and stuff the bird. It's the way it's supposed to be done.
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jkarle1106



Joined: 10 Jul 2007
Posts: 16
Location: DeBary, Florida, USA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 1:14 pm    Post subject: Turkeys Reply with quote

I disagree about the brining. If properly done it makes a huge difference. I do think it's a good thing to stuff the bird, though. You can't beat the taste! If you just use some common sense, I bet your chances of getting sick or killed from the stuffing are about the same as getting hit by a meteor.
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