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Old 02-02-2004, 02:45 PM   #1
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Ways to cook a turkey and have it turn out like deli turkey?

I've always been ambivalent to roast turkey - it usually turns out like a big dry chicken. That being said, turkey cold cuts are a whole different matter, as they tend to be both tastier and a whole lot moister.

Soooo... seeing as I have no clue how deli turkey is processed (perhaps I do not want to know), I'm looking for ways to cook a whole turkey and have it turn out more lik the deli version.

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Old 02-02-2004, 08:33 PM   #2
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afroide;
Try brining it. If you get a chance, look at the package the turkey in the deli comes in. It will say, "Contains a (5-10-12)% solution to enhance flavor and texture. It is a brined piece of meat. You need enough water(OR flaoorful liquid...apple juice...vegetable stock, etc) to cover the meat. Then you need 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup sugar per gallon of water. Heat the liquid and add the salt and sugar. Stir to dissolve. Remove liquid from heat and allow to cool completely. Add the meat and soak according to the following table;

1-2 lbs 45 mins to 1 hour
3-4 lbs 2 hours
5-6 lbs 3 1/2 - 5 hours
7-9 lbs 6-7 hours
10-13 lbs 9-10 hrs
14 and above 12 hours

Rinse well and pat dry then cook according to yur favoorite recipe
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:16 AM   #3
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Yes, definitely, brine that bad boy! It will be more moist and flavorful than you could have dreamed!

Best... Turkey... Ever! You could try this for dinner Sunday. :)

http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/reci...6_8389,00.html
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Old 04-07-2004, 04:20 PM   #4
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From the research I've done, the salt in brining solutions ends up denaturing the protein - in essence pre-cooking the bird. This toughens the fibers. Yes, they absorb more liquid, but for that you loose tenderness.

Deli Turkey Breast is a good example of my problems with brined meat. Cut it very thin and it's good, but if you don't have a professional slicer, you've got some chewing to do.
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Old 04-07-2004, 05:06 PM   #5
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Scientifically speaking, it should be tough, but in reality, I vehemently disgree. The plain old store-brand turkeys I've used that recipe with haven't been at all tough.

Plus the brine puts the seasoning deep inside the meat, giving the whole affair tremendous flavor and moistness.

The only thing that could compare _might_ be a deep-fried turkey, which I have not yet had the pleasure of trying. But unbrined, conventionally roasted birds are always going to be dry and short on flavor by comparison.
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Old 04-08-2004, 03:56 PM   #6
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I agree wholeheartedly about the penetration of the flavoring solution/moistness. Depending on the length of the brining, the toughness can sometimes be almost unperceptable. It's there though. Brine it just a little bit longer and you'll easily detect the difference. If an unbrined roasted turkey ranked 1 on a scale of toughness and thoroughly brined deli turkey breast ranked 10, I'd give brined roasted turkey about a 3 (depending of course on the length of time it's brined).

Unbrined, conventionally roasted turkey will only be dry if it's cook incorrectly, something that's easy to do. A big reason why brining is popular is because it provides a buffer for overcooking to people that don't want to learn how to cook turkey well. Another reason why it's popular is that most of the chainsmoking celebrity chefs that propagate it have an impaired sense of taste and thus appreciate the extra salt. Extra salt is not extra flavor. As long as your tastebuds aren't sizzled, there's nothing more delicious than roast turkey, on it's own.

And more flavor isn't necessarily better. Deli turkey breast has more flavor then a brined roasted turkey. Do you prefer deli turkey breast? If brining results in more flavor and more moistness than why isn't the brined-to-kingdom-come deli breast not the best turkey on the planet? Too much moistness? Too much flavor?
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Old 04-09-2004, 07:42 AM   #7
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While I usually agree with scott (because I am an agreeable kind of guy...and because, like most people, he is smarter than me) I will also disagree on this one. We brine lots of things but only those that tend to dry out when cooking or (like shrimp) things that in their freshest state, contain a little salt that leeches out rapidly.
My wife and I are both "salt-sensitive". We have a very light touch wneh salting our food while cooking. When brining, I use the minimum amount of salt I can get away with.
The biggest problem with turkey is that the white meat is done at 160 degrees but the dark isn't done until about 176 degrees. Brining helps insure that the white meat does not dry out when pushed past the finished mark.
In this case I am recommending brining because deli turkey is nearly ALWAYS brined.
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Old 04-10-2004, 03:44 AM   #8
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Bubba, as you said, it doesn't happen much, but I definitely have to disagree with you. I'm sure you're smarter than I am :)

And although I have made it clear my feelings about brining, I do agree that if one's goal were to create deli turkey breast, then by all means, brine away. But make sure you slice that puppy thin.
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Old 06-24-2004, 11:21 PM   #9
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If your end result is more important than the presentation, than roast your turkey - BREAST SIDE DOWN - in a roasting pan with a "V" shaped rack.

First throw a chopped onion inside the cavity with a little sage and a good bit of cracked pepper, pour a cup of water in the bottom and cover with lid or seal with tin foil, and bake at 350 for 2 1/2 hours for a medium bird, remove cover and continuing roasting for another 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand at least thirty minutes before slicing. Standing time allows the circulating juices to resettle back into the flesh. Never stuff for a tender bird, the salt in the dressing will draw out the moisture if the turkey has not been brined, cook dressing/stuffing seperate if desired.

This is the way I do my Thanksgiving bird, presentation is a moist arrangement of juicy tender delicious sliced turkey on a large platter rather that a perfectly browned, but dry picture perfect presentation. I don't know about you but I favor taste over a dramatic table centerpiece.

By the way depending on salt brine to flavor and ensure moistness is an effective way to get perfect deli tasting turkey, but not the wisest health choice, excessive salt will increase your blood pressure and decrease your bone density! {(^..^)}
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Old 06-24-2004, 11:33 PM   #10
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I started using those Reynold's cooking bags to cook my turkeys a few years ago, and I have gotten a perfectly done, juicy, and tender turkey every time. I also don't get the picture perfect turkey you see in magazines, but I have always sliced it before bringing it to the table anyway.

:) Barbara
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