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Have qa little trouble cooking a good turkey? My professional secrets...

 
Chef George
User ID: 22596999
United States
11/21/2012 05:24 PM
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Have qa little trouble cooking a good turkey? My professional secrets...
For those of you who have a little trouble cooking a good turkey dinner, I offer the following. I am a professional chef in a Midwest restaurant and we serve several turkeys for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Here is my foolproof way to prepare a splendid bird.
The night before (tonight) I will put the turkeys in a brine. You can do this at home in your kitchen sink. Fill the sink 1/2 way with cold water. Add 1 cup of Kosher salt and 1 cup of Brown sugar. Do not use table salt.

Remove the giblet pack from the bird and save for stuffing if you wish.

Put the raw turkey in the water and add as much ice as you can. Then fill the sink until the bird is fully submerged. Place aluminum foil over the sink to hold in the coldness.

The brine will add moisture to the turkey and the salt/brown sugar will flavor it a little.

In the morning preheat your oven to 325 deg.
Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry inside and out. I slice onions, oranges and celery sticks and fill the body cavity with them. I do not fill the bird with stuffing because it is hard to achieve the safe food temperature of the stuffing without over cooking the bird.

Rub the bird outside with either olive oil, corn oil or canola oil. If you wish to add seasonings now is the time. Place the bird on the wire rack of your roasting pan so it is elevated above the bottom. Put aluminum foil loosely over the breast and drumsticks. Tuck the wings under or remove them.

If the bird has one of them pop up timers pull it out and throw it away.
Everyone should have a cheap instant read thermometer in the kitchen...they cost $5.00

Put about 1-2 inches of chicken broth into the bottom of the pan with some aromatic vegetables like carrots, celery, onions.
Place on lower rack in the oven and your are done. The lower temp will not allow the bird to burn and rubbing it with oil crisps the skin and helps it to brown evenly.

Every so often you should baste the bird with the pan juices. Keep you eye on the browning and adjust the foil accordingly. The bird will be done when the thermometer reads 155 deg. in the thickest part of the thigh...that's ten degrees earlier than recommended but the bird will keep on cooking and increase in temp for a while out of the oven.

Let the bird rest (covered) for about 15 minutes after you take it out so the juices can redistribute. Do not cut it until the 15 minutes are up. After that you can do whatever you wish.

Enjoy.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 28227913
United Kingdom
11/21/2012 05:34 PM
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Re: Have qa little trouble cooking a good turkey? My professional secrets...
Excellent, Chef!

I would, however, alter just the oil recommendation.

ONLY use cold-pressed virgin olive oil for cooking food.

NEVER use corn oil or canola for anything, except lubricating the joints on your car's steering and suspension.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 22596999
United States
11/21/2012 05:40 PM
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Re: Have qa little trouble cooking a good turkey? My professional secrets...
Excellent, Chef!

I would, however, alter just the oil recommendation.

ONLY use cold-pressed virgin olive oil for cooking food.

NEVER use corn oil or canola for anything, except lubricating the joints on your car's steering and suspension.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 28227913


Personally, I do use Olive Oil but to some it may alter the flavor profile a bit.

Anyway, here is my take on a light salad to accompany the meal. It's kind of a kicked up Waldorf that will serve 5-6 people.

Ingredients:

1 cup seedless green grapes
1 cup seedless red grapes
1 cup apples, unpeeled
1 cup cucumber, peeled
1/3 cups pecans or walnuts toasted, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped coarsely
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon white sugar
Parsley sprigs for garnish

Instruction:

Dice apples and cucumber same size as grapes. Combine the first 6 ingredients together in a large serving bowl.

In a small bowl whisk together sour cream and sugar, pour over the salad mixture mixing lightly. Garnish with parsley sprigs and serve.

If you prefer it a bit sweeter add a little more sugar, if not add a little less.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 8980350
United States
11/21/2012 05:44 PM
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Re: Have qa little trouble cooking a good turkey? My professional secrets...
No joke, best turkey I ever ate was prepared by a drunk lady who cooked it upside down. Juicy isn't even the word, it was superb. Now she cooks it like that on purpose every year!
dookie stain
User ID: 1404507
United States
11/21/2012 05:54 PM
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Re: Have qa little trouble cooking a good turkey? My professional secrets...
I do the brining with salt & sugar but I add herbs and apple juice.....my favorite cooking is to brown the bird at 500 degrees to seal the juices and then closely cover the breast with a foil bra....cook the balance at 360....I never had a bad bird like this and the dark brown skin is a nice presentation....
1221
User ID: 28007056
United States
11/21/2012 05:59 PM
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Re: Have qa little trouble cooking a good turkey? My professional secrets...
That was nice of you Chef to share your knowledge with others!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

and remember...Pies make people happy!

Blessings,
1221
hf
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 10428279
United States
11/21/2012 06:01 PM
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Re: Have qa little trouble cooking a good turkey? My professional secrets...
Thanks a bunch OP! Saving the info for Friday when I cook my own bird. Very good info.

One Question. Do you put fresh herbs inside the bird with the onions and celery and stuff?
Chef George (OP)
User ID: 22596999
United States
11/21/2012 06:04 PM
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Re: Have qa little trouble cooking a good turkey? My professional secrets...
Thanks a bunch OP! Saving the info for Friday when I cook my own bird. Very good info.

One Question. Do you put fresh herbs inside the bird with the onions and celery and stuff?
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 10428279


Everyone has different tastes.
You could add a garlic bulb, fresh Thyme, Rosemary or whatever you like.

I kept it pretty generic because not everyone may like what I do and I cook several turkeys for dinner so I have to think about keeping the costs down as well.
Anonymous Coward
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11/21/2012 06:09 PM
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Re: Have qa little trouble cooking a good turkey? My professional secrets...
Thank you Mr. Chef !!! I will do these things and think of you when we are enjoying it...
hf
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 24599086
United States
11/21/2012 06:12 PM
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Re: Have qa little trouble cooking a good turkey? My professional secrets...
I brine pretty much the same way you do OP except I add 4 Tablespoons of Zatarains liquid Shrimp and Crab boil to the brine also - plus I stuff the bird with quartered oranges, it makes for a juicy turkey plus the pan juices make an awesome gravy.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1465586
United States
11/21/2012 06:24 PM
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Re: Have qa little trouble cooking a good turkey? My professional secrets...
How do you make a good gravy from the drippings? I have never made an edible gravy yet.
Anonymous Coward
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11/21/2012 06:25 PM
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Re: Have qa little trouble cooking a good turkey? My professional secrets...
Deep fry in peanut oil at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until it starts to float.
Perfection.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 22596999
United States
11/21/2012 06:31 PM
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Re: Have qa little trouble cooking a good turkey? My professional secrets...
How do you make a good gravy from the drippings? I have never made an edible gravy yet.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1465586


The most fool proof way to make pan gravy is as follows.
Strain the solids from the drippings and put the strained drippings into a saucepan.

Taste the drippings and season if needed (salt, pepper, etc.)
Blend 1 cup of water with 2 heaping tablespoons of corn starch. Mix this thoroughly in the cup.
Bring drippings to a slow boil. Gradually add some of the cornstarch mixture to the drippings and stir well with a whisk or fork. It should thicken slightly. Repeat this adding a little at a time until you arrive at your desired thickness.

Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.
If you get a few lumps strain them out.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1465586
United States
11/21/2012 06:41 PM
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Re: Have qa little trouble cooking a good turkey? My professional secrets...
Ok thanks! Seems simple enough.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 9768416
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11/21/2012 06:43 PM
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Re: Have qa little trouble cooking a good turkey? My professional secrets...
I'm deep frying, how can I make the gravy?
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 22596999
United States
11/22/2012 04:26 AM
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Re: Have qa little trouble cooking a good turkey? My professional secrets...
For those who missed it last night.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 10428279
United States
11/22/2012 01:51 PM
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Re: Have qa little trouble cooking a good turkey? My professional secrets...
Thanks a bunch OP! Saving the info for Friday when I cook my own bird. Very good info.

One Question. Do you put fresh herbs inside the bird with the onions and celery and stuff?
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 10428279


Everyone has different tastes.
You could add a garlic bulb, fresh Thyme, Rosemary or whatever you like.

I kept it pretty generic because not everyone may like what I do and I cook several turkeys for dinner so I have to think about keeping the costs down as well.
 Quoting: Chef George 22596999


Thanks for answering. I was not clear in my question but I think you answered it anyway :)

A lot of people tell you to put herbs and such on the outside of the turkey or to make a spiced 'rub' type thing for the outside of the turkey. What I am learning from you is to actually put the stuff on the 'inside' of the turkey rather than the 'outside'.

Nice cooking lesson right here on GLP! Thanks OP!
Chef George (OP)
User ID: 22596999
United States
11/22/2012 08:26 PM
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Re: Have qa little trouble cooking a good turkey? My professional secrets...
I was wondering if anyone tried my method of cooking the turkey.
If so, please let me know how it came out.

thanks
God Loves ALL

User ID: 27800314
United States
11/22/2012 08:28 PM
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Re: Have qa little trouble cooking a good turkey? My professional secrets...
No matter how you season it, stop cooking the thing when its 165 degrees. it is over cooking that dries them out. Otherwise also don't use those terrible tasting birds that have been marinated in sulfates.
The actual Lord's Prayer Given by Jesus 2000 years ago.

"MY SPIRIT, YOU ARE OMNIPOTENT. YOUR NAME IS HOLY. MAY YOUR REALM BE INCARNATE IN ME. MAY YOUR POWER REVEAL ITSELF WITHIN ME, ON EARTH AND IN THE HEAVEN. GIVE ME TODAY MY DAILY BREAD, AND THUS, LET ME RECOGNIZE MY TRANSGRESSIONS AND ERRORS, AND I SHALL RECOGNIZE THE TRUTH. AND DO NOT LEAD ME INTO TEMPTATION AND CONFUSION, BUT DELIVER ME FROM ERROR. FOR YOURS IS THE REALM WITHIN ME AND THE POWER AND THE KNOWLEDGE FOREVER,
AMEN.

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