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Old 11-24-2008, 08:47 PM   #1
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Upside Down Bird

OK, so last year I botched the turkey trying to throw in too many ingredients in the brine as well as under the bird as I cooked it. The year before I cooked an almost perfect turkey and want to try to replicate the circumstances with a few tweaks. I don't remember all the details so I am going to write down what I remember and then if there are any experts in cooking turkey, etc then perhaps you can help me perfect the simple turkey recipe. I brined the turkey for 14 hours using a mix of kosher salt and water in the fridge before cooking it. I rinsed and patted down the turkey with paper towels and then used an oven bag to cook it in. I cooked it in the bag upside down for the amount of time that the directions said to on the bag. There was something that I covered the outside of the turkey with (a mixture of oil and spices) but I don't remember what it was. The other problem is that the turkey, although fuly cooked, did not have that darkened golden outer layer that is so appealing in presentation. Can anyone tell me how to cook a urkey upside down and then still get the outer layer to brown...perhaps flip it at a certain point and open the bag??? I really have no idea. Thanks in advance.

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Old 11-24-2008, 09:00 PM   #2
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Without a doubt, the only way to get the turkey brown is by exposing it to the heat sans bag. You would definitely need to remove the bag and carefully flip it over.

I would add some brown sugar, bay leaves, garlic, oranges, lemons, limes, fresh thyme, rosemary, sage leaves, peppercorns to your brine. I also use straight apple juice versus water - but that's just my taste preference.

The outside of the turkey only needs butter, but you could always add some herbs - dried thyme, rosemary, poultry seasoning, salt, and white pepper.
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Old 11-24-2008, 09:16 PM   #3
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Alton Brown recommends using canola oil or something similar on the skin to brown it.
Says butter isn't heat tolerant enough.
But then his perfect turkey starts at 500 degrees for half an hour. Yeah, that'd burn
the butter!!!!!
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Old 11-24-2008, 09:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrillingFool View Post
Alton Brown recommends using canola oil or something similar on the skin to brown it.
Says butter isn't heat tolerant enough.
But then his perfect turkey starts at 500 degrees for half an hour. Yeah, that'd burn
the butter!!!!!
That makes sense - maybe that's why my skin always burned first when I used to do it in the oven
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Old 11-24-2008, 10:08 PM   #5
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a twist

I just found out that I have to make the bird at one house (mother-in-law) and bring it over to my folks house for the celebration and my father said quote: "Well I like my turkey to be fresh out of the oven."

I thought that perhaps I would do a large percentage of the cooking time at one house and then bring it over to the other and cook it without the bag for the rest of the time.

OR

Cook it the full time upside down in the bag at one house and then run it over and sear it at the highest temp at the other house.

Please advise....Am I going to completely ruin Thanksgiving?
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Old 11-24-2008, 10:12 PM   #6
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How far is it from your house to the other house?

You should be fine fully cooking it at your house and then browning it at the other house...as far as I can tell.
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Old 11-24-2008, 10:56 PM   #7
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About 1 hour and 15 minutes between houses...

It sounds bad even to my amateur ears.

Any advice on getting that golden brown look in my circumstances?
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Old 11-24-2008, 11:11 PM   #8
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Wrap it with several layers of foil for the drive - or at least wrap the pan it's in tightly all around. Once there place in oven, remove foil, and brown in a 400 degree oven. Just keep an eye on it and when it gets browned pull it out...don't let it dry out. It's better to have juicy over golden.
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Old 11-25-2008, 02:58 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktrainyo View Post
I just found out that I have to make the bird at one house (mother-in-law) and bring it over to my folks house for the celebration and my father said quote: "Well I like my turkey to be fresh out of the oven."

I thought that perhaps I would do a large percentage of the cooking time at one house and then bring it over to the other and cook it without the bag for the rest of the time.

OR

Cook it the full time upside down in the bag at one house and then run it over and sear it at the highest temp at the other house.

Please advise....Am I going to completely ruin Thanksgiving?

The absolutely easiest way to present a perfect turkey at your Father's house is to cook it at your Father's house. If you can, simply wash, then dry the skin, place it breast-side up in a shallow roasting pan, brush with oil, lightly salt, fill the cavity with a few chopped onions, and maybe some celery. Place it all in a 425 degree oven, with a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast meat, but no touching the bone. Allow about 12 minutes per pound. Check the thermometer and pull the bird from the oven when it reaches 155 degrees F. Let rest for 15 to twenty minutes, depending on the turkey size. Remove the breasts whole and slice against the grain to give everyone some of that wonderfully browned skin. REmove the legs and wings from the carcass. Arrange all meat artistically on a large platter with a bit of colorful garnish, and serve.

If you have to still cook it in one place and then transport it, simply cook by above directions and place the meat back into the roasting pan, with the juices. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Wrap the whole thing in a aluminum foil, and then a couple of towels. Place it in the car and drive. Put the still moist turkey onto the platter and your Father's house. You won't get the dramtic effect of a whole bird this way, but it will taste much better, and everyone will get some browned skin.

The moral of the story is this. If you remove the bird from the oven when the thermometer reads 155, and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes, you will be rewarded with perfectly done and juicy turkey. Cook it above 155 and it will begin to toughen and dry out. Cooking it at the higher temp will brown the skin better and reduce the cooking time. Breast side up or down doesn't make a difference in flavor or meat quality. I've done both. Final meat temperature is the single most important factor in the end quality.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 11-25-2008, 03:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitchenelf View Post
Without a doubt, the only way to get the turkey brown is by exposing it to the heat sans bag. You would definitely need to remove the bag and carefully flip it over.

I would add some brown sugar, bay leaves, garlic, oranges, lemons, limes, fresh thyme, rosemary, sage leaves, peppercorns to your brine. I also use straight apple juice versus water - but that's just my taste preference.

The outside of the turkey only needs butter, but you could always add some herbs - dried thyme, rosemary, poultry seasoning, salt, and white pepper.
this sounds wonderful, Kitchenelf.........I'm going to give it a try at Christmas as I have the outlaws coming (just kidding----really looking forward to it as my sil will bring the pies)........don't have time to throw pie dough across the room.........but I definitely want to brine the turkey......thanks :)
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