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Recipe File: Classic Roast Turkey
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doron
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 4:17 pm    Post subject: old timey reciepe Reply with quote

Whatever happened to the old timey way of cooking the bird slowly and for a long time? I know it is not recomended but the turkey I am going to have at Thanksgiving will normally be cooked for around 12 -15 hrs at 200 - 225 and will not only have an internal temp of at least 185 but will also be the moistest one you have ever eaten. Typically it goes in at around 9 in the evening and comes out at noon next day. No one has ever gotten sick. Plus as an engineer I appreciate the ease of preparation - put it in the oven and dont mess with it.
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shannon
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 10:07 pm    Post subject: oven bags.......good or bad idea????? Reply with quote

Hey everybody! Awesome tips here! I'd love to hear some thoughts on this strategy.......I've been having some health problems, so I'm trying to make Thanksgiving as easy as possible on myself this year. I'm thinking of trying a Reynolds oven bag. I'm thinking it will make cleanup much easier. And maybe I won't even need to brine. But, man, I'd hate to screw up the main meal of the year, just because of a chronic pain issue!!! I've heard that if you cut open the bag in the last half hour or so of cooking, the skin will crisp. Anybody have any thoughts or advice for me?

Thanks, and I hope you all have a great day!
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bellaluna
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 2:28 am    Post subject: Is a fresh turkey really fresh? Reply with quote

Ok, although I usually order a free range turkey at Whole Foods, I went to the evil empire of Costco today and bought a turkey at the last minute because the sign said they were fresh Foster Farms turkeys and had no additives or preservatives. However, over half the turkeys in the case felt hard and frozen (those near the bottom rungs of the open case cooler). Is this really fresh or is it frozen? Hard seems frozen to me....

Confused in California
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shannon
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bellaluna, it sounds to me like it's either frozen or "flash-frozen", which is what they usually do to "fresh" turkeys. Either way, store it in your refrigerator. Unless it's really huge, it should thaw out by Thursday!

And hey, don't knock Costco on their meat department. I live in Virginia. I don't think there's a decent butcher shop in the entire state that doesn't cost a fortune. The meat at the Costco here is better than in the grocery stores.

In one of her last books, Julia Child herself gave a shout out to Costco meat! I'm thrilled there's one minutes away from my home.

Good luck with that bird!
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1629
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 3:21 am    Post subject: Re: Is a fresh turkey really fresh? Reply with quote

bellaluna wrote:
However, over half the turkeys in the case felt hard and frozen (those near the bottom rungs of the open case cooler). Is this really fresh or is it frozen? Hard seems frozen to me....

As long as the turkey is stored at temperatures greater than 26°F (-3°C), it can be labeled fresh. For more info on buying turkeys, see Kitchen Notes: Buying Whole Turkeys
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 7:19 am    Post subject: Avoiding the bumpy look when using the flipping method Reply with quote

Both this year and last I used Cook's Illustrated's suggestion for avoiding the bumpy look that can apparently result from starting the bird breast side down on a V-rack. Before you put the bird on the V-rack, line it with heavy duty foil and poke 20-30 holes in it with a skewer or paring knife. It seems to work well for me, although I haven't been using birds that are more than 15 lbs.
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sansmouton



Joined: 14 Nov 2006
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 10:33 am    Post subject: brining a "pre-basted" turkey Reply with quote

hey michael,

love the site.

i was planning to follow a variation of your recipe, and noticed a special caveat you had about brining with special "pre-treated" birds. i looked, and it turns out i bought a 20lb norbest turkey that had been pre-basted with turkey broth or something along those lines. i think this includes sodium.

can i still brine the bird? you wrote to decrease the level of salt in the brine solution but how much is too much?

i'm afraid of making an overly salty bird. would it just be safer to skip brining in this case? or can one "brine" with just aromatics and peppercorns and star anise and such with no salt? seems to defeat the purpose.
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Craig Fry



Joined: 13 Nov 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
On Nov 20, 2006 at 11:17 AM, doron (guest) said...
Subject: old timey reciepe
Whatever happened to the old timey way of cooking the bird slowly and for a long time? I know it is not recomended but the turkey I am going to have at Thanksgiving will normally be cooked for around 12 -15 hrs at 200 - 225 and will not only have an internal temp of at least 185 but will also be the moistest one you have ever eaten. Typically it goes in at around 9 in the evening and comes out at noon next day. No one has ever gotten sick. Plus as an engineer I appreciate the ease of preparation - put it in the oven and dont mess with it.


Then you've been damn lucky. I'll take the health of my family over ease of preparation anyday.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1629
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 7:04 pm    Post subject: Re: brining a "pre-basted" turkey Reply with quote

sansmouton wrote:
i looked, and it turns out i bought a 20lb norbest turkey that had been pre-basted with turkey broth or something along those lines. i think this includes sodium.

can i still brine the bird? you wrote to decrease the level of salt in the brine solution but how much is too much?

This is a bit tricky since without previous experience with that brand of turkey, it's really difficult to determine just how salty the bird already is. However, generally, even birds that have already been injected with salt water/broth solution can benefit from a brining. To be safe, use half the salt to water (1/2 cup to 1 gallon ratio). This will reduce the salt and the rate at which the brine affects the turkey, but will still make a difference.
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sha



Joined: 23 Nov 2006
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2006 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Michael,
I just realised I bought a "butterball" turkey that is infused with 7% solution. Have you use this brand before and can I also use the above salt to water ratio too? And is it advisable to use a turkey oven bag? Thanks.
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Sarah
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2006 2:34 am    Post subject: tabletop Roaster Reply with quote

To get a crisp brown skin using a tabletop roaster I start at a high temp for 20 - 30 minutes, reduce heat and cover turkey with a cheesecloth soaked in butter. Remove cloth for last 30 minutes of cooking time. This has worked like a charm every year. Very brown, moist and tasty.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1629
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2006 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sha wrote:
I just realised I bought a "butterball" turkey that is infused with 7% solution. Have you use this brand before and can I also use the above salt to water ratio too? And is it advisable to use a turkey oven bag? Thanks.

Even though the Butterball comes infused with a 7% solution, it can still benefit from a brine. Use the reduced concentration brine: 1/2 cup table salt to 1 gallon ratio.

A turkey bag is a convenient way to prepare a turkey, but you won't be able to use the recipe as written above.
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Wayne Bengston
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 2:56 am    Post subject: Use injectable marinade, no brining required. Reply with quote

I've done turkeys in my convection oven the past 2 years. I used Tony Chaceres Cajun Butter last year and Jalapeno Butter this year.

Last year I cooked it at 375F and wound up having to use foil to get an even doneness, but the turkey came out very juicy with crisp skin. I dusted the turkey with Tony Chaceres and sprayed it with olive oil, no basting while cooking. Everyone agreed it was the best they had ever had.

This year I got a Diestel bird, which is fresh and has no antibiotics or other unatural products added. I used some leftover Jalapeno Butter Marinade, mixed with olive oil, and coated the turkey with that. I cooked it this year at 300F and did not have to use foil. The skin was not crispy, but was still very flavorful. Everyone raved about the juicyness and flavor of the meat. Everyone agreed it was even better than last year, and had no Jalapeno "heat" but just a hint of Jalapeno flavor, which was perfect.

This year I used a remote probe to measure the internal temp. Got it at Walmart for $10 and it has an alarm for when the setpoint temp is reached. This allows you to check the temp without opening the oven. A 22 pound turkey was fully cooked in 3 hours and 20 minutes at 300F in the convection oven.

I'm sold on, convection ovens, Diestel birds and Tony's marinades.

I got my Diestel bird at Whole Foods.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it wrong to simply cut a slit into the frozen turkey bag which came with the birdy, pour in salt and water? I've done that for years and never thought about the health risks.

What does NaCl do to the plastic which could endanger someone? Just curious.
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Craig Fry wrote:
Quote:
On Nov 20, 2006 at 11:17 AM, doron (guest) said...
Subject: old timey reciepe
Whatever happened to the old timey way of cooking the bird slowly and for a long time? I know it is not recomended but the turkey I am going to have at Thanksgiving will normally be cooked for around 12 -15 hrs at 200 - 225 and will not only have an internal temp of at least 185 but will also be the moistest one you have ever eaten. Typically it goes in at around 9 in the evening and comes out at noon next day. No one has ever gotten sick. Plus as an engineer I appreciate the ease of preparation - put it in the oven and dont mess with it.


Then you've been damn lucky. I'll take the health of my family over ease of preparation anyday.


The fact is, it doesn't matter how you cook the bird as long as you get a final temp of 170 in white and 180 in dark meat, it will be safe to eat. I have cooked turduckens (25 lb turkey, 9 lb duck and 6 lb chicken--weights before cleaning and deboning) at 200 degrees for 20 hours, and using a final internal temp of 180, and everything was moist, tender and de-bacterialized. You don't cook food to make it sterile, you cook it to kill reasonably expected bacteria from handling and what might be in an otherwise healthy animal, and muscle tissue (that's what you eat in animals for the most part) is sterile. I don't think you would want to eat meats cooked to a final temperature of more than 212 degrees which would insure everything other than bacterial spores would be killed. To really sterilize food, you would have to cook it in a pressure cooker (a home autoclave) achieving a temperature of 250 degrees for 15 minutes. YUCK!

You can deep fry, hot smoke, roast at 300 degrees, 350, 500, then down to 350 or so or god forbid boil or microwave the turkey, but as long as the prescribed internal temps are achieved, the bird is safely cooked. Flavor and tenderness is largely the result of preparation technique. As long as you don't overcook the bird, it won't dry out.
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