Turkey

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by isa, Dec 21, 2000.

  1. isa

    isa

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    I'm getting turkey anxiety. Been so long since I cooked a whole turkey, my vivid imagination is running wild. Every time I think about it I see my turkey either over cook or undercook. The bird will weight 15 pounds. It will be stuffed. I gather it will take between 3-3/4 to 4-1/2 to cook. It leaves a lot of room for error. Can there be some certainty in roasting turkey?
     
  2. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    Sisi, there is a great article for cooking turkey in that last issue of Cook's magazine. They give some great tips on cooking a turkey to perfection. I myself tend not to stuff the turkey, and prefer cooking it separately. One technique that I am going to try this year is soaking the turkey in a brining solution for about a day. Then letting it dry for a day. During the roasting time I am going to start it breast side down and rotate it during the cooking process. These are all techniques mentioned by Cook's Illustrated. I am most interested in the brining as I have heard several people talk about the improvement on the tenderness of the bird.

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  3. nutcakes

    nutcakes

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    Sisi, the best way to be certain about your turkey is to use a thermometer. The thickest part of the thigh should be 180F according to the USDA, but 175 according to Julia Child. The breast and stuffing 160-165F. This is tricky to do and the breast will almost always overcook. CI recommends cooking the bird on the side and turning half way, putting it upright at the end to brown. They say this shields the breast somewhat. I have not tried this, I usually put cheesecloth over the breast and baste, then take it off the last 30 min to brown.
     
  4. isa

    isa

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    Wow thank you for all the information and help.

    I wonder would I be better to cook it unstuffed? What are the advantages in doing it that way?

    I was planning to brine the turkey. Since I read the poultry chapter in From Simple To Spectacular and seeing the posts on that topic here I've been doing it to the chicken and figure why not try it with the turkey, if I can find a pan big enough.

    I'll try to turn it on all side while it cooks. I doubt I would have thought of that. That should prevent the over cooking of the breast. I'll check the temperature all through the cooking, making sure the breat don't get cooke too fast.


    So many things to remember. I think I'll print this page and put it on the fridge, so I don't forget anything.


    Thanks again everyone!
     
  5. live_to_cook

    live_to_cook

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    That brining thing works. Together with leaving the bird overnight (after brining) in your fridge without covering... when you get ready to roast it's flavorful and the skin comes up crispy because it's dried out. Recommend this technique.
     
  6. mudbug

    mudbug

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  7. isa

    isa

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    Wow thnaks again. I'll let you all know how it went.

    Cchiu thanks for the links, very helpful!
     
  8. isa

    isa

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    Cchiu,


    I just visit Cook's Illustrated
    website on turkey. What a well of information. Where do you get all the info you always provide?

    If anyone wants information on brining, stuffing, trussing etc. this is the place to go.


    Thanks again!
     
  9. live_to_cook

    live_to_cook

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    Also, now that I think of it Sisi, cooking the stuffing in its own dish is better because it gives you better control over the bird.

    Just make a quick turkey stock with the innards to moisten the stuffing dish. I also put trimmed turkey fat on top of the stuffing as it bakes to give it all the flavor.
     
  10. isa

    isa

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    The turkey is in its brine, in a bucket in the fridge. Thank God for that bucket, it wouldn't fit in anything else.

    I do have a problem, there is no giblets, just a piece of the neck. Can't say I was happy to discover that. Guess gravy will be done with the cooking juices.

    Live_to_cook, can you please tell me how it takes per pound to roast a unstuffed turkey?
    Oh and while we're at it how long should I cook the stuffing for?


    Thanks!
     
  11. live_to_cook

    live_to_cook

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    Congrats, Sisi, brining makes another convert... How long did you bake the suffing? I usually go about an hour, things get nice and bubbly and the broth flavor concentrates in the fixings...
     
  12. isa

    isa

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    Jesse,

    The only thing with air drying the turkey is that the wings gets a bit dry but who cares, no one wanted to eat them anyway. I'm keeping them to make broth.


    Live to cook,

    I think I cooked the stuffing for about 60 to 75 minutes. I know I added some white wine at some point, it turned out well, nice mix of spices.
     
  13. isa

    isa

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    The turkey was great, very juicy and tender. I soaked it in brine for 24 hours and let it air dry for a day in the fridge. I didn't stuff it but put onion and celery with some spices inside it for flavour. Everyone said it was the best turkey they ever ate. They all wanted to know my secret. I think I've converted a few to brining.


    Thank you all for your help.