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Thread: Any turkey cooking tips?

  1. #1
    Freedom Fighter jeremyboycool's Avatar
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    Any turkey cooking tips?

    I think I am gonna cook a turkey. Not for the holidays, just because turkey is crazy cheap this time of the year.

    Never cooked a turkey though, so any turkey cooking tips for the noob? Like, what type of seasoning should I use and how do I season a turkey properly? Or anything else I should know so it does not taste like crap.
    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." - Stephen Hawking

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    Cybernetic Interloper ub3r_n00b's Avatar
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    One year my sister poured a bunch of beer around the turkey. At first, I was extremely upset as that was perfectly good beer that did not go down my throat. But the turkey turned out great .

    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/A-Simpl...ey/Detail.aspx

    Another year my aunt made some apple stuffing and then lathered the turkey with butter + salt + pepper (http://www.flickr.com/photos/erudian...n/photostream/) THAT was damn good. I dont know if that helps.
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  3. #3
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Don't stuff the bird, cook your stuffing outside or in a pot. Stuffing only adds to the mass of the bird, requiring a longer cooking time to get to the inner areas of the bird (so there's no pink), esp the thigh area. Meanwhile, the good breastmeat of the bird overcooks and gets dry.

    So season the cavity, optionally put a few aromatics in there...but leave it open so the bird cooks evenly from the inside, as well as the outside. For aromatics, things that can impart some flavor...some large chopped onions, large chunks of celery stalks, fine chopped carrots, sprigs of thyme, rough chopped garlic, some sliced wedges of lemon and/or oranges.

    I'm a huge fan of "brining" poultry. Submerge the bird in a big bucket of salted flavors for 24 hours. You flavor the liquid with seasoning, I also put some apple cider and white wine in there. There's a science to it, read up on it over at Food Network or something...but OMG...once you brine, you never go back. It's awesome.

    Fold the wing tips under so they don't burn. Tent the bird under fail to control browning of the skin.

    I like at least going heavy over the bird with salt and pepper. All over the ouside and inside. Optionally, make an herbed butter..and lift up the skin by the large cavity opening, and push the butter way under the skin across the breast meat, under the skin along the thighs and drumsticks. And then all over the outside. Takes some practice to learn to do this to get it underneath most areas yet keep the skin somewhat intact. More careful tenting required here, skin can brown too much if not watched.

    Use 2 good meat thermometers..1 in the thigh area, 1 in the breast. Start watching and get ready to pull as breast approachese 160 and thighs approach 180. Don't forget big things like a large turkey continue to cook for another 15 minutes minimum when you pull them from the oven, so you don't want the final breast temp to get above 165 degrees when totally done.

    So many different methods of cooking, and recipies....spend some time on Gogle and Food Network. It's fun trying out many different methods.

    Once you get hooked on cooking good turkey, go for fresh birds. Most areas have turkey farms locally (or resources to get them) where you can pre-order your bird, and pick it up just before Thanksgiving. Raised right there on the farm, killed a few days before the big day. What a difference in flavor, I always get mine locally.
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  4. #4
    R.I.P. 2013-11-22 blebs's Avatar
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    I'm hoping to go to one of my sons houses this year and not making the food for a change, but I do what YOSC does. Sometimes I use an oven bag instead of open roasting, but if you open roast, baste the beast frequently with it's juices. One thing about Turkey, darn easy to make. Only my sister in law can do it wrong!
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    Maneater JawZ's Avatar
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    ...formerly the omnipotent UOD

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    TypicalWhitePerson JC's Avatar
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    Just deep fry it! That's how we cook em in the south.
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  7. #7
    R.I.P. 2013-11-22 blebs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JC View Post
    Just deep fry it! That's how we cook em in the south.
    I so want to try it like that.
    Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces people into thinking they can't lose. -Bill Gates

  8. #8
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JC View Post
    Just deep fry it! That's how we cook em in the south.
    It's good to try to say you've had it, but it's not a way I'd do my Turkey on a yearly basis...esp for Thanksgiving. My taste buds vote fried food cannot compete with the flavors that can be imparted by roasting, esp if you do a brine soak.
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  9. #9
    Freedom Fighter jeremyboycool's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the turkey tips guys.
    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." - Stephen Hawking

  10. #10
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    So is anyone doing an "authentic" T-Giving dinner?

    Turkey isn't actually authentic, it was actually more venison and waterfowl (ducks/geese). The tradition of a turkey for Thanksgiving started with FDR not too long ago.

    No brown potatoes yet, they weren't brought in from Ireland yet.

    No sweet potatoes/yams yet, trade with the Caribbean hadn't started yet.

    No sugar, so no cranberry sauce or puddings.

    Certainly no greenbean salad..that was started by Campbells in the 50's.
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  11. #11
    R.I.P. 2013-11-22 blebs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JC View Post
    Just deep fry it! That's how we cook em in the south.
    Peanut Oil?
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  12. #12
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YeOldeStonecat View Post
    So is anyone doing an "authentic" T-Giving dinner?

    Turkey isn't actually authentic, it was actually more venison and waterfowl (ducks/geese). The tradition of a turkey for Thanksgiving started with FDR not too long ago.

    No brown potatoes yet, they weren't brought in from Ireland yet.

    No sweet potatoes/yams yet, trade with the Caribbean hadn't started yet.

    No sugar, so no cranberry sauce or puddings.

    Certainly no greenbean salad..that was started by Campbells in the 50's.
    Week night? I'll probably have a can of soup and a cheese sandwich, or chips and salsa with a veggie burger on a bagel.

  13. #13
    SCSI Dude Faust's Avatar
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    out in Mizzou with fam... asked mom her input. she recommendsthe plastic (baking) bag method. a lot less effort/danger than deep frying, and much less hassle to keep it juicy. and, if memory past thanksgivings serves me well... she's right!!
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  14. #14
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blebs View Post
    Peanut Oil?
    It's the better approach for deep frying. Much highe smoking point, and actually less of a greasy/fried taste forced onto the bird.

    Important for those who deep fry, once the bird gets past 50% cooked, it will stop releasing juices into the oil, and the temps of the oil will start to climb sharply, getting up to and passing 400 degrees if you're not watching it closely. So after 15 minutes or so, gotta keep eye on thermometer and start throttling down the flame to keep it at 350. Else end up with too dark and burnt tasting of a bird.
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  15. #15
    Resident Atheist Dan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YeOldeStonecat View Post

    Turkey isn't actually authentic, it was actually more venison and waterfowl (ducks/geese). The tradition of a turkey for Thanksgiving started with FDR not too long ago.
    the is the first year that I can even remember that we are going to someone elses house and are not cooking,nice break

    and a few years ago I did a prime rib instead of turkey,and I will do it again,that makes a nice TG main dish

  16. #16
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan View Post

    and a few years ago I did a prime rib instead of turkey,and I will do it again,that makes a nice TG main dish
    //drools...

    Yah..yum yum!
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    Every normal man must be tempted at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
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  18. #18
    Freedom Fighter jeremyboycool's Avatar
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    What about one of those frozen to oven turkeys? Has anyone ever tried one?
    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." - Stephen Hawking

  19. #19
    Freedom Fighter jeremyboycool's Avatar
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    Can I brine a turkey while it is still partially frozen?
    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." - Stephen Hawking

  20. #20
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremyboycool View Post
    Can I brine a turkey while it is still partially frozen?
    It won't be effective. You need osmosis to happen for the brine to go from cell to cell in the meat, and that won't happen when it's frozen.
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