Turkey doesn't have to be boring each and every year. When we asked chefs how they like to prepare the bird on Thanksgiving, their responses were anything but boring. Turkey legs stuffed with foie gras and chestnuts; whiskey-brined and roasted; grilled outside to save oven space. We asked 17 of our favorite chefs to talk turkey. Find out how they keep the flavors interesting and the meat juicy.
'turkey talk' on Serious Eats
Never fear—this quick step-by-step slideshow will take you through the steps of carving a turkey. You will be the hero of the Thanksgiving table.
There are any number of reasons you might have for not wanting to roast an entire turkey for Thanksgiving, but nobody should be deprived of juicy meat, crispy skin, and turkey-saturated stuffing on that day. Here's how to cook a juicy turkey breast, complete with stuffing, for a smaller Thanksgiving crowd.
Ever since I was a wee little cook ripping up my first chives, burning my first steaks, and toughening up my first squid, I'd dreamt of poultry-stuffed-poultry-stuffed-poultry. The idea of a Turducken—a chicken stuffed into a duck stuffed into a turkey—is just so damn appealing. How could three such glorious birds not taste all the more glorious together? My goal for the last few years has been to try and perfect the ultimate Thanksgiving roast. This year, I finally succeeded, producing what is perhaps the finest roast to ever emerge from my oven. Turkey meat gave its juice away freely to anyone who asked. Perfectly rendered duck fat, tender to the teeth. And flavors that blended as harmoniously robotic lions joining forces to save the universe. Here's how it's done.
This particular method is for folks who want the fastest, quickest, easiest route to juicy turkey meat, and ultra-crisp skin. Basically it's a method for lazy folks with great taste. Sound like you? Then spatchcock the bird. I'll show you how.
These days, everybody and their grandmother has heard of brining, and more and more folks are doing it at home before Turkey Day. But it's not all pie and gravy. There are a few distinct and definite downsides to wet-brining, and many folks are making the switch to dry-brining (A.K.A. extended salting). The question is, which method works best?
The array of turkeys you'll find at your average large supermarket can be baffling. The good news? You can ignore almost all of it should you choose to. Sure, you'll see labels like "organic" or "heritage breed" or "free-range," and those labels do have meaning, to an extent. But as far as choosing which one to cook, there are three broad categories that they can all be divided into, that should help you decide which one is right for your table.
Last Thursday we gave you the opportunity to ask anything about Thanksgiving. I've just spent a good chunk of the weekend answering them. This is a truly useful guide to troubleshooting the heck out of your Thanksgiving. Got a question? The answer is probably in this series! First up, all questions related to turkeys (the brining, roasting, and flavoring of), and non-turkey mains. Stay tuned later this week for sides, desserts, and whatever else didn't fit into the above categories (like the elastic soft pants you should be wearing).
My Thanksgiving turkey usually involves some kind of acrobatics aimed at maximizing the juiciness and flavor of each individual part of the bird. Legs, breast, gravy, etc. And if that's what you want to do, we've got plenty of recipes to help you out. But sometimes it's nice to have an easy, simple recipe that you toss in the oven with little-to-no advanced prep so you can spend more time with guests and less time butchering, right? Here are some tips to make the most of your holiday bird with little-to-no effort.
Here's the problem with turkey: above 145°F or so, white meat begins to dry out. Dark meat, with its connective tissue, on the other hand, has to be cooked to at least 165°F. How do you cook a single bird to two different temperatures? It's difficult at best, and downright impossible at worst, even more so when you consider the variation in shape and thickness of turkey meat, especially on the breast of a large bird.
Nobody wants withered white meat that only a boatload of gravy can rescue on Thanksgiving. The solution: turkey stuffed with turkey sausage. A meat within a meat!
We've all experienced dry turkey. The kind that's just bad enough, you wonder why the pilgrims didn't eat prime rib during that first fall. The solution? Brining. And here's why.
Every Thanksgiving we check in with food magazine editors around the country to see how they have gone about putting together their Thanksgiving issues. Food and Wine's editor in chief, Dana Cowin, gave us some insight into how the magazine does Thanksgiving. How do the ideas get developed? We think first how we can help people make Thanksgiving dinner. We try solve their problems. That's how we come up with our chart to help people cook Thanksgiving, no matter what kind of meal they want to serve. A lot of people cook a lot of dishes and they need help with timing and cooking space, so we show people how to use a grill as an extra oven and how...