3 Secrets to a Great Roast Turkey – Revisited

by Nancy on November 17, 2010

The cookbook with my favorite turkey roasting recipe.

If you’re like me you’ve probably been doing the turkey thing for more years than you care to remember with varying results. Over the past ten years I’ve discovered 3 secrets to making great turkey and I guarantee using even one of them will significantly improve your results.

1. Brine the turkey. Brining makes your turkey moist and improves the flavor. The easiest way is to use a cooler. Wash the cooler well, fill with 3 gallons of water and 1 1/2C. of table salt. Add your defrosted turkey, cover with ice bags, close lid, soak for 6-12 hours. New trick: I learned last week that Whole Foods will brine your turkey for no extra charge. I can not begin to tell you how happy this makes me!!!!

2. Use a meat thermometer. I have a Polder Original All-in-One Timer/Thermometer. You stick the probe into the meaty part of your turkey, set the temperature you’d like it to cook to and voila, the timer beeps at you when your bird is done. No more pulling the turkey in and out of the oven. I got my thermometer 3 years ago and can’t believe I went all these years without one.

New Thermometer: I melted my meat thermometer this summer (don’t ask) and bought a new Polder.  In shopping I learned several new meat thermometers have preprogrammed settings for meat based on the USDA recommendations. Don’t buy one of these if it doesn’t also allow you to set your own temperature, it doesn’t allow for the rise in temperature after you pull your bird from the oven. You could end up with overcooked meat.

3. Don’t roast the turkey whole. It’s virtually impossible to cook the white and dark meat perfectly on a whole bird. My go-to recipe is “Julia’s Deconstructed Turkey,” from Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home which I’ve been using since 1999. It takes a bit of prep on the front end, which includes removing the backbone, and separating the thigh/leg from the breast. (Extra hidden bonus secret #4: buy your turkey at Whole Foods and they will do it for you.)

(Note: Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home is being reprinted and should be available in January 2010. If you get the book be sure to try Jacques’ chocolate roulade recipe. 2010 Update: Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home is available again and worth consideration for your library shelf. If you don’t want to take my word for it read the many thoughtful reviews on Amazon.) 339WPQEPZMEW W KUFN2VKUMZ8

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori Hattendorf November 27, 2010 at 9:34 am

I have had the pleasure of enjoying many of Nancy’s fabulous roasted turkeys. She cooks up one tasty bird!

Nancy Nancy November 27, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Why thank you! You are so sweet to say so.

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: