Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tim's Turkey Tips

Alright, while some folks are out nearly burning their houses down trying to deep-fry a turkey, I am using more civilized methods to prepare the Thanksgiving bird. Years ago, while I was a cruise director, I used to have my meals in the Officer's Mess on board. They used to fix incredible turkeys that were seasoned with fresh garlic and olive oil.

I experimented at home with cooking turkeys and finally came down to a great recipe that, not only makes a tasty turkey but, makes a moist and tender turkey as well. You'll need the following items.

Turkey (thawed, giblets removed)
2 onions
2 apples
2 oranges
1 whole bulb of garllic
1 cup olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
1 stick butter
¼ cup soy sauce (optional)
several sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)

You might want to have a pair of disposable plastic server's gloves (like they use at Subway)

Make sure the turkey is thawed and the cavity is cleared out of the giblets and the neck. You can use the neck for stock, do not use the liver, etc. for stock. Rinse the turkey off, inside and out and pat dry.

Cut your onions, apples, and oranges in half and stuff them into the cavity of the turkey trying to position the cut side out against the inside of the cavity. You can peel a few cloves of garlic and add to the cavity, as well as lodge the stick of butter and fresh thyme up in there. Try to gather the skin around the turkey's backside, pull it together, and secure with a toothpick or skewer.

Now for the outside. If using soy sauce, give the turkey a rubdown all over with the soy sauce, (you can use low sodium). Smash and mince the remaining cloves of garlic, and mix them with the olive oil and rub this over the turkey's surface. You might want to tuck some garlic up under the wings and legs. Once you have covered and rubbed-in the garlic and olive oil, give the bird a light coat of salt and pepper. NEVER pierce the skin! This allows moisture to escape.

Place the turkey in the oven uncovered, and bake at 450º for the first hour. Then cover with foil, turn down the heat to 325º, and bake for approximately 15 - 20 minutes per pound. Use a meat thermometer and let it go to a 170º internal temperature. You can also check the turkey provider's chart for cooking time and add about an additional 10% in time.

Remove the foil for the last hour and baste every 15 mins. When the time is up, turn oven off and allow turkey to relax in the oven for about 15 mins. and outside the oven for 20 mins. before slicing. Although it is difficult lifting the foil and replacing it, it doesn't hurt to baste the turkey earlier in the baking process every half hour or so. Bottom line, don't be in a hurry. Better to let it cook longer at slower temp, and keep it moist. Some folks even braise it in a few inches of stock.

Either way, Happy Thanksgiving!


1 comment:

  1. Where yat!

    Merci beaucoup for posting this turkey method! I usually toss a cut onion into the cavity of my turkey and put some garlic up under the skin, but never thought about putting an apple and an orange in the cavity, too! I'm going to try it your way this year!

    LOVE your blog, by the way.


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