How Do I Keep Turkey Breast Moist While Cooking?

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KateH21

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Sorry for asking but I'm in a time crunch. I decided last night (Tuesday) that it was time to cook a Butterball turkey breast I was given last year. I'm not really a fan of turkey and just want it out of the freezer because it's taking up valuable space. This is the last day before the weather starts getting HOT, so that means it's the last day I can cook it without making the house hot.

The turkey is thawing now. I plan to cook it on a rack in a roasting pan. This particular pan came with a rack that basically sits on top of the pan. So the turkey never sits in any juice or fat. How can I keep the turkey moist while cooking? But I also want to keep the fats to a minimum as I have acid reflux/GERD and butter/oils/margine are not my friends.

My turkey always comes out dry and maybe that's why I don't particularly care for turkey.
 

WhateverYouWant

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A "braise" is what your looking for. This is essentially cooking in a liquid in a covered pot that is cooked stovetop on low or in the oven (250-350°F).

The liquid can be water, stock, broth, bouillon, with whatever other ingredients you want for flavor (veggies, aromatics, citrus, etc.).

If you're doing the breast skin on, you'll want to sear it first in a pan over med-hi heat, and then move it to a covered pot with the braising liquid/ingredients. I'll usually use a few dots of butter in the braise, but that is totally optional.
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

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For a crispy skinned perfect, whole bird, this method will give you spectacular results.
It took me a few years to master whole turkey; I succeeded to the point where my turkeys were requested for wedding receptions. And the identical method can be used with a Webber Kettle charcoal grill, with maple, and apple wood chunks, I have pictures that will be shown in a subsequent post,

Rub a herbed butter (compound butter) under the skin. Inject the breast, and thighs, all over with turkey broth made by boiling the liver, and giblets. The broth should be seasoned to taste with S&P, and powdered sage. and thyme.

If you like the turkey liver, and giblets, chop them up and add to yo9ur dressing/stuffing. If not, your dog will love them.
holder if you turkey came with one.

Preheat oven to 375' F.

Pace the turkey into a rack, and into your roaster. Truss the drumstick ends together, or use the plastic holder if your turkey came with one. Tuck the wing ends behind the back. Unless fulling the cavity with stuffing, Cut an onion, a lemon, and an orange into quarters. Add a few sprigs of thyme, and sage to the onion, and fruit. Push it into the turkey cavity to add wonderful aromatic flavor,

Place it all into you hot oven.

Press aluminum foil. shiny side out, over the breast before inserting the temperature probe. Cook the bird at 375' F. until a meat thermometer, inserted through the thickest par of the breast, with the tip resting nest to the thigh/body joint, reads 158 degrees. I use a meat thermometer that I can set an alarm when it reaches the correct temp. Figure about 14 minutes per pound. Remove the foil 30 minutes before the final temp. is reached.

When the bird reaches temp, remove from your oven. Let it rest 30 minutes before carving, to allow the meat juices to re-distribute through the meat,

Carve the bird by removing the whole breast halves, and slicing to desired thickness against the grain (sideways to the breast length).

Remove the thighs at the body joint. Remove the wings at the body joint.

There is really good meat on the back, right beside where the thigh, and wings attached, arguably, the best meat on the bird, Save these as cook's treat, and for someone special. There isn't a lot of it.

Cut the meat from the thigh bones and slice up for dark meat. Save all bones to make into soup, or turkey broth/stock.

Lay the meat slices onto a platter. I do it by sliding my knife under one, sliced breast half, an placing the whole batch to one side of the platter center.

Repeat with the other side. Place the dark meat on both sides, beside the breast halves. Place the drumsticks beside the dark meat. Place the wings beside the breasts, but at the other end. Garnish the platter with roasted sweet peppers, orange, and red, and maybe some flowering Kale.

If you stuffed you bird, the stuffing should be removed to an oven safe casserole dish, and baked to a temperature o5 160' F. as read with a thermometer.

Tip, basting does nothing to make the meat juicier. The skin acts as a seal. The basting juices simply roll off of the skin, and to the bottom of the roaster, Opening the oven door to baste only serves to lengthen the roasting time, not a good thing.

This will give you very juicy white, and dark meat, every time, no matter the size of the bird. It also works for Cornish game hens, whole chicken, and
capons.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 
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Chief Longwind Of The North

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The Chief's Turkeys

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 

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Chief Longwind Of The North

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More pictures:chef: The turkey was eomoved from heat at 160' F. After thirty minutesresting time, this is what the thermometer read.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 

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jennyema

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If it hasn’t already been injected with a sodium solution, then brining will keep it moist.

The key to a juicy bird is not to overcook it. Although bacteria is killed at 165, pull your breast at 158 and let it rest for 20-30 minutes. The internal temp will climb to well within the safe zone during that time.

If you pull it at 165, it will keep going up while it rests and overcook.
 

KateH21

Assistant Cook
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Oct 29, 2020
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Delmar
Thanks everyone. Lots of great suggestions. I'm definitely saving them all for Thanksgiving.



The bird is in the oven. Now I will have more room in the freezer for ice cream. :LOL: :yum: Definitely going to need it. There's some hot, humid weather heading my way. :unhappy:
 

Kaneohegirlinaz

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If it hasn’t already been injected with a sodium solution, then brining will keep it moist.

The key to a juicy bird is not to overcook it. Although bacteria is killed at 165, pull your breast at 158 and let it rest for 20-30 minutes. The internal temp will climb to well within the safe zone during that time.

If you pull it at 165, it will keep going up while it rests and overcook.

I made that mistake once!
We would get free Butterballs at Thanksgiving and Christmas
every year from the company that I worked for.
Being a new bride and having watched a boat load of Food Network,
no body said to check the packaging prior to brining.
:wacko:
 

pepperhead212

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Woodbury, NJ
It seems that every year the recommended temp to cook chicken (and pork, for that matter) goes down! Not sure if turkey is the same, but it may be. It's only the 160-165º for the dark meat chicken now, which is hard to cook until dry! I've seen it as low as 145º suggested on some food shows, then they might "cover it", while prepping the sauce, and the temp will come up, as Chief noted.

And I'm finding it almost impossible to find chicken without salt and other chemicals pumped into it, except at the Amish market. Is turkey getting that way too, so they will weigh more?

 
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Bitser

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Woods Landing, Wyoming
Another trick, for roasting whole turkey, is to start it with the breast down and flip it after an hour or so. It's a bit tricky, but the breast stays moist.

The last turkey I cooked was spatchcocked: cut with poultry shears along the spine and butterflied. Cooks faster and doesn't dry out.

0DtN0qQ.jpg
 
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dragnlaw

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My sister does the flip the turkey way. I don't, I tent and baste like crazy - seems to work. Don't think either of us do turkey any more, not enough people to make it worth while.

But I have a couple of geese to do. Believe I will spatchcock them. Goose is well known for being difficult to roast evenly as well. So either spatchcock or completely disjoint.
 

GotGarlic

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It seems that every year the recommended temp to cook chicken (and pork, for that matter) goes down! Not sure if turkey is the same, but it may be. It's only the 160-165º for the dark meat chicken now, which is hard to cook until dry! I've seen it as low as 145º suggested on some food shows, then they might "cover it", while prepping the sauce, and the temp will come up, as Chief noted.

And I'm finding it almost impossible to find chicken without salt and other chemicals pumped into it, except at the Amish market. Is turkey getting that way too, so they will weigh more?


It's not so they will weigh more. It's essentially pre-brining - an attempt to help the customer avoid overcooking the meat.

I don't think it will come up 20 degrees, even if it is covered. I wouldn't take the word of some food show on what a safe temperature for chicken is. The FDA still says to cook it to 165F.

https://www.fda.gov/food/people-risk-foodborne-illness/meat-poultry-seafood-food-safety-moms-be
 
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dragnlaw

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It's not so they will weigh more. It's essentially pre-brining - an attempt to help the customer avoid overcooking the meat.

I don't think it will come up 20 degrees, even if it is covered. I wouldn't take the word of some food show on what a safe temperature for chicken is. The FDA still says to cook it to 165F.

https://www.fda.gov/food/people-risk-foodborne-illness/meat-poultry-seafood-food-safety-moms-be

Totally agree!
I've never believed that they were brined to weigh more. Not very cost effective really.

Plus I find that the most resting meats temperatures will rise is about 10 degrees, internally.
 

taxlady

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One Thanksgiving or Yule that I spent with at my M-I-L's house, we rotated the turkey, because I had read about doing that in Joy of Cooking. It turned out wonderful. The breast meat was juicy as were the legs and wings. But, my B-I-L hated it. He likes for the breast meat to be dry, so juicy was not at all to his taste. :LOL:
 

CharlieD

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Well, cooking breast only in my opinion is much easier. Because dark meat and white meat take different amount of cooking time.
When you have Brest only there is no playing around.
And yes, always use thermometer.
To keep it moist there are tons of ways to do it.
If have had problems in the past, and you are cooking on the rack, like you said, I’d go a step further. Not everybody will agree with me, and maybe not the healthiest way of doing. But. Season the breast, put it on the foil. Shmear ( is it a word?) mayonnaise all over. Now close the foil and bake. Check with thermometer. When it’s about 15-20 deg to finish open the foil and let it finish cooling. But that only if there is skin on the meat. If not cook till it’s done. Take it out. Let it seat for 10-15 minutes. It will cook some more during that time.
 

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