Let’s start off with a really bad joke shall we?
what’s 5Q + 5Q?
10Q…you’re welcome…get it? 10q=thank you…thanksgiving? no? oh man, it’s gonna be a long day
Anyway, although thanksgiving is no longer with us, I wanted to re-live what will go down in the annals of history as the best thanksgiving meal ever.
So there I was
there ↑ you see?
and I had this turkey, and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I was humming and hawing (who says that?) – should I roast the bird whole, or chop it up into pieces and roast it. And even if I decide to chop it up and roast it in pieces, should I just roast each piece, or go all out, and do this fancy-shmancy thing I saw on seroiuseats.com.
All right – so here’s the meat and bones of the question – turkey has two parts – the legs and wings which we all know as dark meat, and the breast which we all know as
dry white meat. 658 out of 726 poultry eaters don’t like white meat, because it’s always too dried out, and do you wanna know why that is? Because when cooking a bird, the breast is done at 145 degrees, and the legs are done at 165, so if you cook them together you’ll either have raw legs or dried out white meat.
So the way we can avoid that, is by separating them before hand, and taking the breast out when the thermometer says so, and leaving the legs in a little longer.
Now I know all of you out there in internet land, are thinking to yourselves – wait, I’ve been to thanksgiving meals, and had perfectly good turkey, how is that possible oh mr know it all?!
So in answer to your very rude question – yes it’s possible to make a turkey that’s good, but it requires you to somehow prevent the white meat from cooking at the same rate as the legs. Whether you roast the bird upside down (so the juices will flow down, and constantly baste the breast while it cooks), or you put foil on top of it (to shield the breast from radiant heat), or you truss the bird (which also tries to block the white meat from cooking by covering it with the legs), but all in all these are all methods which don’t 100% work, and honestly there’s no reason to have to jump through hoops to have the best tasting turkey.
It seems the only reason why you would still want to cook it whole is because it’s the traditional thing to do. Well, one – I’d rather it taste better then adhere to tradition, and two – changing the words of tradition isn’t as bad as minhag (v’hamivin yavin).
Ok so it’s been decided to roast it in pieces, but wait- there’s more. The normal-person approach to roasting it in pieces, would to just separate the legs and wings, and place them in a roasting pan, along side the rest of the carcass.
I, however decided to go one step further.
As I said, I saw this on seriouseats.com, and it’s a really interesting approach to roasting the turkey, but it does require a little bit of butchery skills, which I wasn’t sure I had, but in the end, it worked out perfectly.
I took the leftover carcass, and removed the skin from on top of the breasts.
Then, I removed both breasts from each side, and were left with what looked like over-sized skin-less, bone-less chicken breasts
I took those, and laid them on top of each other “head to foot” (ie they were facing different ways then each other…this is to allow it to be roughly the same thickness throughout)
I then took the skin and wrapped it around both breasts, and tied it up, and put it in the roasting pan with the rest of the pieces.
I did this the day before to let the skin dry up a little, so it can crisp up real nice.
To cook it – I decided to go low and slow, and with only vegetable oil, salt and pepper.
It cooked at 275 until the thermometer in the rolled up breast said 150 (it was about 2:30 hours) and took it out
And let the legs finish to 170 (another 30-ish minutes). I then let it rest until about 30 minutes prior to serving, where I turned the oven up to 500, and popped all the pieces in there until it browned.
The other great thing about this approach, is carving is a cinch, just snip off the twine, and carve away…no bones to get in your way.
Of course by the time it was ready to serve, it was absolute craziness, and I wasn’t able to take any pictures, but the turkey was pretty darn good, and dare I say, the white meat was even better than the dark meat.
But don’t just take my word for it
“I’ve never tasted turkey so good in my life” – A. Munk
“wow, that’s all I have to say, wow” – T. Plawes
“It was so good I even licked the string that was tying it all together” – N. Langer
“Leave me alone, I’m eating” – S. Ryback
I rest my case