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Richie 11-13-2007 07:48 PM

Thanksgiving Turkey
 
I have seen posts in the past about cooking a turkey in the oven. I thought it would be a good time for all those experts to refresh us on how to cook the perfect bird for the family. I may try to test one this weekend so I don't ruin the family feast a week from Thursday. Any tips?

Size of bird?
What type of pan/dish to put it in?
Breast up or down?
Temperature?

Any tips would be helpful.

asudavew 11-14-2007 02:51 PM

Re: Thanksgiving Turkey
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Richie (Post 19284)
I have seen posts in the past about cooking a turkey in the oven. I thought it would be a good time for all those experts to refresh us on how to cook the perfect bird for the family. I may try to test one this weekend so I don't ruin the family feast a week from Thursday. Any tips?

Size of bird?
What type of pan/dish to put it in?
Breast up or down?
Temperature?

Any tips would be helpful.

I'm with you Richie.... I'm gonna try it out too. But maybe just a chicken this weekend.

Frances 11-15-2007 02:15 AM

Re: Thanksgiving Turkey
 
We do our turkey for Christmas, so I'll be watching this thread carefully after thanksgiving, to profit from your experiences...

So, is anyone going to post any tips in advance?

Alfredo 11-15-2007 11:46 AM

Re: Thanksgiving Turkey
 
This is not specifically WFO related, but there's plenty to inspire you here: Thanksgiving Day - News - Times Topics - The New York Times

Canadian Thanksgiving was just over a month ago: ordinarily we'd be happy to share, but I'm afraid even the leftovers are gone now :rolleyes:

dmun 11-15-2007 12:22 PM

Re: Thanksgiving Turkey
 
Just a reminder - today's a week from the big day. The safest way to defrost a turkey is for a week in the fridge, so today's the day to buy, or pick up your freebie, turkey.

Have you noticed how each year the amount you have to buy at the supermarket to qualify for the "free" turkey has gone up?

dmun 11-15-2007 12:39 PM

Re: Thanksgiving Turkey
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Alfredo (Post 19391)
...there's plenty to inspire you here:

Here's something from the times article:

Quote:

To start, I took a page from Barbara Kafka, who in her 1995 book "Roasting: A Simple Art" advocated a two-hour turkey in a 500-degree oven.
The author doesn't do this because having something that greasy, in that hot of a home oven, for two hours will make a smokey mess, but we outdoor oven folks don't care about that. It's nice to see some validation for at least starting the turkey hot.

I also like the idea of roasting the turkey upside down on a bed of veggies, to keep the breast cool in relation to the dark meat. This has the side benefit of perhaps keeping the bottom of the pan from burning as when you roast on a rack. You could make a case that gravy (and stuffing) is the only reason to mess with this nasty bird in the first place.

CanuckJim 11-16-2007 06:20 AM

Re: Thanksgiving Turkey
 
Guys,

I haven't cooked a frozen bird in years. My recommendation would be a fresh turkey. Even in a kitchen oven, it will be done at about 20 minutes per pound. I'd start it high, as Dmun suggests, about 500, then tent with foil for the remaining bake. For years, I've been doing the bird breast side up, covered with cheesecloth that's drizzled with melted butter. Once the cooking starts, you'll have lots of basting juice. Best thing is, you can bake a large hearth bread a day or so early for the stuffing.

Jim

asudavew 11-16-2007 07:08 AM

Re: Thanksgiving Turkey
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CanuckJim (Post 19438)
Guys,

Best thing is, you can bake a large hearth bread a day or so early for the stuffing.

Jim

Now I have a good excuse to fire up the WFO!

Thanks Jim!

pizzaziggy 11-16-2007 09:44 AM

Re: Thanksgiving Turkey
 
I've never understood or practiced basting.
the turkey skin is waterproof so if the goal is to get a nice crispy skin all the liquid does is roll off and stop the browning
I rub mine with olive oil, and as per alton brown fashion an aluminum foil tent for the breast portion
the turkey goes in for 20 minutes at high heat ,without the tent to get it brown, the tent goes on untill almost the end of cooking
I'm a briner and definitely a fresh turkey advocate
my special touch is a side of red thai curry sauce, which goes just pefectly with the turkey .
it gets used up and the brown gravy gets left over
no wood oven yet..just high convection heat , no stuffing inside and 10 minutes/ pound

sarah h 11-16-2007 06:43 PM

Re: Thanksgiving Turkey
 
Yes, brine the turkey! Here's how we've done our last few birds - they've been delicious and even the white meat is wonderfully moist. If you can't get maple syrup :( , I'm sure more brown sugar or perhaps honey would be fine.

Maple Brined Turkey
Serves 10 to 12 with leftovers

1 12-to-14 pound turkey
7 quarts water
2 cups kosher salt
1 cup maple sugar or dark brown sugar
2 cups maple syrup
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch sage
2 quarts ice cubes
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
4-6 gel ice packs
3 tablespoons olive oil

Rinse turkey inside and out. Set aside while you prepare the brine.
Pour water into a large 12-quart soup pot or mixing bowl and stir in the salt and sugar until it is completely dissolved. Stir in the maple syrup. Add ice to cool brine to about 40F. Place turkey breast side down in cooler just large enough to hold the turkey and pour brine over. Throw in 1/2 bunch of the thyme and 3/4 bunch of the sage, saving the rest for later. Add 4 to 6 large gel ice packs, each sealed in a zip-lock bag. Place cooler in a cool place like a garage or basement. Marinate in the brine for at least 18 hours or up to 24 hours. Brine temperature should not exceed 40F. If it does, remove the thawed gel ice packs and replace with more frozen ones.
Preheat oven to 350F. Remove turkey from the brine and drain well over a sink. Pat dry and discard brine. Tie legs loosely, and tuck wings under the turkey. Place turkey on a rack set into a large roasting pan. Chop the reserved thyme leaves and sage leaves and combine with the black pepper. Rub turkey all over with the olive oil and then the herb and pepper mixture. Insert bird into the oven and roast for 3 hours.
Begin checking internal temperature with an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. Remove when it registers 170F. Cover loosely with foil if browning too quickly.
Transfer turkey to a large platter or carving board. Tent loosely with foil. Let stand at least 30 minutes or up to 45 minutes.

Sarah


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