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Old 09-16-2004, 04:02 PM   #1
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Poultry Question I...Trussing birds

RE: Trussing birds...
All the cooks I see on TV seem to truss birds for "even cooking."
To me letting the hot air inside the body cavity would create more even cooking (otherwise you are cooking from the outside only). Can anyone enlighten me on this?


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Old 09-16-2004, 04:49 PM   #2
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I think trussing was a very traditional way of dressing the bird for a more formal presentation; it was also supposed to keep the meat from drying out ('cause the thighs and drumsticks are closer up to the breast meat).

That having been said, I am ALL for 'crunchies'! I never truss, I just my chickens all hang out, and I get a beautifully roasted bird, not dry, with lots of crunchy skin to nibble on!

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Old 09-16-2004, 05:38 PM   #3
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Stating it better than I did the first time: To me, the legs/thighs always get cooked first (and overcooked/dry if you're not careful). Keeping the hot air from the body cavity would seem to me to be increasing the cooking time of the breast, and thus overcooking the legs/thighs more than necessary. (I do shield the legs with foil ). I'm with you, marmalady, and always finish under higher heat to get a little crispy.
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Old 09-16-2004, 09:32 PM   #4
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To truss or not to truss:No, you do not want to truss the turkey (unless it is stuffed, when trussing is needed to keep the stuffing inside). Leaving the cavity open allows for better circulation of hot air and will speed up cooking of the dark meat. This means that the breast meat is less likely to dry out.

Trussing, or tying up a turkey to produce a uniform shape and encourage even roasting, used to be a necessity and an art. Nowadays, most birds come with either a hook or a band of extra skin into which you can tuck the ends of the drumsticks. If your bird is hookless, just tie the legs together with a length of kitchen string. As for the wings, you can twist the tips backward so they lie against the shoulders, or tie them to the sides of the turkey.
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Old 09-17-2004, 07:39 AM   #5
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Tis true. The white meat cooks faster than does the dark meat. This is because the dark meat is denser, more used muscle. As a point of fact born out by much experimentation, it is necessary to cover the breast with aluminum foil for most of the roasting, barbecuing process, removing for the laast twenty minutes of cooking time to brown and crisp the skin. Cook to an internal temp of 160, remove the bird and let rest for at least 15 minutes.

The tip of the thermometer should rest next to the "hip" joint, where the thigh meats the body, but not touching the bone.

Trussing will not inhibit circulation inside the ird cavity, as long as a vent whole is maintained. Stuffin the bird will slow the cooking process, and so it is best to cook the dressing outside the bird, using turkey broth to flavor the stuffing. The stuffing flavor doesn't permeat the bird from cooking it in the turkey anyway. If you slove the seasonings used in dressing, add them to your turkey stock and inject into the raw bird before cooking.

Start the bird uncovered in a very hot oven - 450, then turn down to 350 to 325 and cover. Remove the foil when the thermometer reads about 145 to 150.

To carve, remove the breasts as whole muscles and slice thinly across the grain. This makes the slices more tender and gives everyone equal shares of the crispy skin. The presentation can be equally dramatic as with the whole bird if yo fan the turkey slices, and arange with colorful veggies on a platter. Leave the thighs and drumsticks intact, but seperated and lay on either side of the breast meat. Serve steaming hot.

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Old 09-17-2004, 08:14 AM   #6
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My wife likes white meat, so she gets the breast, and she likes it REALLY dry. I get the dark meat, and I like it moist, so possibly that is why I'm running counter to the general rule.
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Old 09-18-2004, 05:07 PM   #7
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I just let it lie there legs open.
You are not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on.
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Old 09-18-2004, 08:24 PM   #8
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Have you ever tried Julia Child's method for cooking a turkey? It's in my favorite cookbook, "The Way to Cook." You disassemble the turkey, cook the legs/thighs seperately from the breast. After boning the thighs, you fill them with stuffing and tie them closed. It makes little pinwheels of turkey and stuffing when you slice it. You can reassemble it for presentation, if you want before slicing. I've been doing mine this way for years. Everything comes out nice and juicy. Take a look in the book next time you're in a bookstore.
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Old 10-12-2004, 09:15 PM   #9
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There's some easy methods to get around this issue, and some of you hae touched on key points...

Dark meat neets to be cooked to 180 degrees, white meat is done at 160, which is why many of us lived through the dry white crap for centuries...

So a few thoughts to change this result:

a) Try the brining method, whereby you soak the bird in a saline/sugar/herb solution for say, 24 hours, (see my posting to Yakuta, so I don't have to re-type the entire detail, please!) and the meat sucks up the salts, and retains its moisture through the cooking process...

b) After you've brined and stuffed the bird, get two or three shishkabob skewers and run these through the bird so you can suspend it above the roasting pan (eliminates the issues of sticking on the pan, provides overall browning, allows overall rubbing of spices on the exterior, etc) supported by the sides of the roaster-I spray down the pan with olive oil in order that the drippings don't burn, and "sew" up the openings of a stuffed bird so that doesn't leak, either...easy enough to remove later...

c) Since you have the issue of cooking the dark meat most and the white meat least, inserting the bird into the oven "breast side down" for the first half of the cooking process will keep the dark meat exposed to the most heat and cause the juices to descend into the breast area, where they are badly needed...

d) About 1/3 to 1/2 of the way through the cooking process, it should be relatively "simple" to "flip" the bird carcass end for end so its "breast side up" for that vital browning at the end of the cooking process

e) A most vital issue, spend the $20 (CDN!) and purchase a digital meat probe! When the bird is 10 degrees (F) below its target temperature, remove the pan and bird, tent with tinfoil (with the bird still on the pan) and allow its interior heat to complete the cooking process...

f) Since this method, with brining, will produce such copious amounts of drippings, be prepared to empty your carving board into the gravy drippings periodically as you carve, because there will be a LOT of juice in the meat that'll leak as you carve...

g) In order to avoid the "fattiness" in gravy, once you have removed the bird from the pan for carving (and its got to sit and cool a while for that!), use this time to dump the drippings into a jug or pitcher, and allow the fat to float to the top...using your grandmother's old "turkey baster", suck up the fat globules off the top as they rise and form their own level (I leave some in, I don't have an issue with admitting that gravy, by definition, is a bit fatty!), and then return the balance to the pan to mix up your gravy...

Hope this helps!

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