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Old 11-12-2007, 11:28 AM   #11
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I cook my turkey breast side down, no rack, loosely tented with foil. The skin on the breast gets brown and crispy from the heat of the pan. I cook it at 350 until the leg and thigh wiggle freely. It may not be the most beautiful bird you ever saw, but it's juicy and delicious.
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Old 11-12-2007, 11:42 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Goodweed of the North View Post

What is the technique for pefeclty juicy and succulent turkey? Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
I've been cooking turkey for so many years (the old-fashioned way - in the oven), rarely follow a recipe, & never had one turn out badly.

Make sure it's fully defrosted, and baste often w lots of butter & herbs. Turn it over a few times & baste again. When it starts to brown, cover with foil. I think people are intimidated by the size. It's really not much different than roasting a chicken.
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Old 11-12-2007, 11:56 AM   #13
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I don't really have anything special. Just cook and enjoy, because it is always good.
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Old 11-12-2007, 03:13 PM   #14
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I always roast mine on a rack, inside a Reynolds bag, with stuffing inside so no brining. Been doing it that way since I first jumped off the boat and slipped on Plymouth rock, and it always comes out perfect.
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Old 11-12-2007, 04:41 PM   #15
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3,4,11.9. This year if the weather holds out I am going to try to do 2 smaller turkeys than usual. One in the oven and one in the smoker. The smoked turkeys we had this summer were so good and I don't think my family have tried one.
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Old 11-12-2007, 05:43 PM   #16
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Now, I'm going to throw a thought out to you, and explain why I make my turkeys the way I do.

For years, I followed the instructions on the turkey package. They were simple instructions to follow and went something like this.

Thaw turkey in a water-bath overnight. Remove giblets and neck, and wash thouroughly inside and out. Lightly salt the inside cavity. Preheat oven to 350' F. and place the bird into a roasting pan. Make a tent of aluminum foil and place over the bird. Roast for 15 minutes per pound and then remove the tent. Baste with pan juices and roast until the pop-up timer pops. Remove from oven and serve. I did this for years and my turkeys always came out dry as a bone. I was scratching my head and was disappointed.

I purchased a Webber Kettle barbecue and a barbecue cookbook at the same time. In it was the recipe for a barbecued tukey. It said to make a divided bed of coals, place a rinsed, dried, and salted turkey over a drip pan that was set between the charcoal beds and cover with the lid. Close all vents half way and cook for ten minutes per pound. Remove and serve. That first turkey came out perfectly juicy and tender, with great flavor. I needed to know what the difference was.

I reasoned that it was the high initial heat of the charcoal that made the difference, believing that it "sealed" the meat, and as the oxygen was burned up, the fire cooled and cooked the bird through, with all those wonderful juices trapped.

My next attempt in the oven was done by firing her up to 500' F, cooking for 15 mintues, reducing the temp to 350, and cooking until the little plastic timer popped up. The result was the same old dry turkey.

I perused various cookbooks, and on-line sources. I watched the cooking channel. I listened to Emeril. Finding that everyone gave conflicting advise, I decided to experiment and learn.

The results of the experimentation may shock you. You may not believe what I'm going to say. But all you have to do to prove me right or wrong is to test my ascertation. And here it is.

It doesn't matter what temperature you cook the bird at. It doesn't matter if you flip it, if you cook it breast side up, or breast side down. It doesn't matter if you baste the bird or not. It doesn't matter if you barbecue it, or roast it in the oven, or in an oven bag, or even deep-fry it. None of these things will affect the quality of the turkey meat. The only requirement for pefect turkey is to remove it from the heat source when the meat thermometer, placed into the thickest part of the breast, and not touching the bone, reads 155' F. That's it. It's that simple. Now let me explain why, with verbal illustrations.

Before meat is cooked, it is made up of thousands of individual cells, each filled with fluid and nutrients. As muscle is heated, the protien molecules begin to contract, squeezing the liquid from the cells and allowing them to escape the meat. The cells, while still intact, become like deflated water balloons. The protiens also tend to knot together, making the meat tough.

This action begins around 170 degrees or so. To prove this theory, I cooked several turkeys over the course of a year or two. In each case, I pulled the bird from the heat source at 155' F. I tried the high initial heat, followed by a lower heat. I cooked low & slow in a 325' F. oven. I cooked on the barbecue, with a cover, both breast side up, and breast side down.

There is only one thing that I have seen consistantly that is true. The white meat does cook faster than does the dark meat. So the breast must be tented, or have aluminum foil pressed over it, or an oil or butter soaked cloth for all but the last 20 minutes of cooking time. The foil, shiny side out, will reflect much of the heat away from the breast meat, causing it to absorb thermal energy more slowly. This gives the dark meat, and the joints around the dark meat, time to cook through before the breast meat is done completely. If you don't slow the white meat cooking process, one of two things will happen. Either the breast meat will be perfect and the dark meat around the joints will still be bloody, or the joint meat will be perfect and the breast meat will be over-cooke and dry.

Basting does not help the meat. It does deposit flavor particles and fat from the broth onto the skin. This results in a richer skin flavor. High final heat will darken and crisp the skin if need be. A couple minutes in 500' heat will give great color and texture without overcooking the breast meat.

As for that breast-side down theory, I observed the turkey roasting in my barbecue when I went to check the temperature. I noticed that there was a significant amount of juice bubbling just under the top skin, and in places, breaking through and dripping down to be caught in the drip pan. I suspect that as the liquid is heated, it rises through the meat as steam, and collects under the top skin. When the bird is removed from teh heat, and allowed to rest, this same liquid is absorbed back into the meat.

This belief stems again from actual experience. I had barbecued a turkey for a company pot-luck, and had accidently over-cooked it. Since I was going to present it on a platter, already sliced, I took teh slices and placed them into a freezer bag. I then filled the bag with drippings collected from the drip pan, sealed the bag, and allowed it all to sit overnight. I reheated the turkey in the office microwave and placed it on a platter. Everyone said it was the juiciest turkey they had ever eaten. I believe the law of osmosis was responsible for saving my turkey.

There you have it. It is my belief that you need only put the bird (rubbed all over with butter and lightly salted) on a rack and into the oven, or in a covered grill/barbecue, and roast it for 10 minutes per pound, with a meat thermometer stuck into the breast, and the breast meat covered with foil. When the time has elapsed, remove the foil and check the thermometer. Roast until the instrument reads 165, remove, let rest 15 to 20 minutes, carve, and serve. It's that easy.

Comments are welcomed.

Seeeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 11-12-2007, 06:14 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Goodweed of the North View Post
There you have it. It is my belief that you need only put the bird (rubbed all over with butter and lightly salted) on a rack and into the oven, or in a covered grill/barbecue, and roast it for 10 minutes per pound, with a meat thermometer stuck into the breast, and the breast meat covered with foil. When the time has elapsed, remove the foil and check the thermometer. Roast until the instrument reads 165, remove, let rest 15 to 20 minutes, carve, and serve. It's that easy.

Comments are welcomed.

Seeeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
Very nice advice.
Are you saying to skip the brining process?
You say temp doesn't matter, what temp do you use for the approx 10min/lb?
One more tidbit that wasn't mentioned is to dry the skin with paper towels prior to rubbing butter all over it. I'm sure most of you knew that, but just in case a noob didn't. :)
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Old 11-12-2007, 09:21 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Bacardi View Post
Very nice advice.
Are you saying to skip the brining process?
You say temp doesn't matter, what temp do you use for the approx 10min/lb?
One more tidbit that wasn't mentioned is to dry the skin with paper towels prior to rubbing butter all over it. I'm sure most of you knew that, but just in case a noob didn't. :)
Good call on drying the skin. I forgot to mention that. And for ten minutes per pound, I'm roasting at 375. Now I'm not saying that the turkey will be done yet. I am saying that it's time to occasionally (about every twenty minutes or so) check the thermometer and remove the foil. That way, you make sure to not overcook the turkey.

Brining will add flavor and moisture to the meat beyond what it already has, as will injecting turkey broth into the raw muscle tissue. Brining will also allow you to flavor the meat with various herbs and spices that can be added to the brine solution.

I never have noticed much difference in the meat flavor when adding arromatics to the turkey, or any poultry cavity. I find that the inside of the bird is covered by a tough membrane that inhibits the cavity flavors from infusing into the meat, no matter what the comercials for the beer can say.

Placing herbs and aromatics under the skin will add flavor to the turkey flesh, as will inserting lardoons.

My family also loves when I barbecue the turkey with applewood thrown onto the charcoal. I've also used maple and birch picked up from a nearby forest. In the time it takes to barbecue the turkey, the smoke will delicately flavor the meat. The skin, of course, will have a pronounced smoke flavor and will turn dark bronze in color.

And if you want to play a bit, there are a host of glazes that go great on turkey skin. Honey comes to mind, as does maple syrup. But if so inclined to use a glaze, remember that sugars burn quickly and so temperature control must be carefully maintained thoughout the cooking process.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 11-12-2007, 09:55 PM   #19
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First throw away those pop up timers they are notorious for being off. Then road how ever testing with a instant read thermometer to 151 in the thigh and Brest let it set for a good 30 minutes then enjoy
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Old 11-12-2007, 10:04 PM   #20
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I've tried everything. Injecting, butter under the skin, brining, basting, tenting etc. etc. Cooking upside down was the most comical (has anyone seen that commercial this year where this girl is fumbling with a turkey in her kitchen sink and it keeps slipping out of her hands, onto the floor, etc. etc. eventually flings out through the window and knocks out the guy standing outside?). Brining works the best for me, actually it's quite delicious. No matter what I do, my picky hubby thinks the only thing good about a turkey is the skin.
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