If have the good fortune of a temperate climate, or are intrepid and adventurous enough to brave the elements, grilling can be a much more than just a novel way to prepare your holiday bird. Grilling aficionados will tell you “Where there’s smoke, there’s flavor!” and grilling one of our organic free-range turkeys or all natural turkey breasts is no exception.
Grilling Your Holiday Turkey
You can use the rack to roast a butterflied turkey, flattened halves or a breast; and a kettle barbeque will allow you to use a roasting pan to cook a traditionally intact bird. Add the science of seasoned brines, and a myriad of marinades, spice rubs, and BBQ sauces to the mix, and you may never throw a bird in the oven again. These wonderful preparatory techniques enhance the succulence of your bird, with a spectrum of flavor bases that run from the sublime to the wow. Remember too, one huge bonus is that grilling will also free up precious oven space.
Get to Play with Fire
There are a few considerations before grilling a big bird. For instance, it will take more than a humble pair of tongs to flip a butterflied turkey, and comparatively speaking summer steaks, plump chicken, and sausages all grill relatively quickly. Even a small turkey calls for a substantially longer Read more
If a grand entrance with a bird straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting is not part of your Thanksgiving ritual, you can cut cooking time substantially by butterflying the bird, and giving the roasting a juicy jump-start under the broiler. This is an especially good method if you prefer to bring platters of carved meat to the table, or are setting a buffet.
How to Roast a Butterflied Turkey
Searing for Juicy Goodness
This method of roasting uses the high broiler heat to sear and brown the skin, sealing in the meat’s juices. You start by laying out the butterflied bird, skin side down in a shallow roasting pan, basting it generously with melted, rendered duck fat, and then position the bird so the meat is 7 or 8 inches from the preheated element.
Broiling uses intense heat, so if your oven has only one broiler setting that temperature is likely a whopping 550°F. If you can thermostatically control your broiler, set the temperature between 350°F and 400°F. You want a slower searing than is usually gotten by broiling, say about 16 to 18 minutes or so on the first side, so adjust the broiler heat accordingly. In either case, watch the bird carefully, and baste frequently during this process.
Once the meat has browned nicely, take it out of the oven to season with a good salt, and turn the Read more
Pan Gravy Basics
The real gravy of a roasting a holiday bird is, well just that… the gravy, and nothing says turkey gravy like delicious, old-fashioned pan gravy. Pan gravy derives its flavor and telling character from both a rich stock, and the wonderful juices and dripping fats created by the cooking bird, and collected in the roasting pan, aka the pan drippings.
The Mother Sauce
Although deceivingly simple, pan gravies or sauces are rather sophisticated cuisine. In fact, in French cooking they are highly regarded as a mother sauce. You will know a good one when you taste it because it is pure ambrosia, smooth and delicious enough to eat all by itself. So much so, that it may actually surprise you to find how easy they are to make.
You start by making two different types of fonds – or bases. The first fond is your stock, which will be the hearty liquid foundation for your gravy. The second is a deglazing sauce made of the pan drippings, used to enrich the flavor of the Read more
Bread Stuffing Basics
Bread stuffing aka dressing, cooked inside the bird can delicately impart flavor and moisture to the meat, while in turn the delicious natural juices from the meat enrich the flavor and moisture of the stuffing. When cooked outside the bird, it can be equally moist and delicious, safely cooked ahead of time, and overall, much easier to control with regard to final moisture and texture. When cooked sans stuffing, the bird will cook faster too. Bottom line, no matter what you call it or where you cook it, stuffing is a signature holiday dish.
The nature and quality of the bread, as well as how it is prepared, will account for a dressings primary texture. A ‘dry’ dressing will retain a pleasant coarse or even crisp texture. Dressings that call for fresh bread or breadcrumbs, especially when moistened with stock, are softer and more even-textured. What’s nice is there isn’t a hard and fast rule as to what should go into Read more