Friday, December 25, 2015

World's BEST (and Easiest never Fail) TURKEY - 52 Holiday Dishes

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Pretty much, the headline says it all, this is by far the BEST way to make a Holiday Bird.

It is also a never fail version that i have been doing for awhile.  Mostly I borrowed from Michael Symon (Co-Host of the Chew TV Show).  But I did add a few changes of my own.  I added Onions and herbs to the cavity for extra seasoning from the  inside out (and an extra onion and herb taste added to the gravy from the drippings).

I also lowered the temperature for most of the cooking.  I like slow roasting to bring out the moistness and tenderness (think smoking meat mantra,  low and slow).  I also find that the birds I use (OK... Butterballs are injected with a brine that DOES insure a moist tender bird... If you ruin the bird, you will be talked about for generations of Holidays to come)... Take the advantage).

I believe that the birds that most of us by (if you are paying less than $2.50 a pound, you are buying a mass market turkey farmed bird) are raised for fast growth, dense meat and low fat... Meaning the bird will cook faster than those expensive grain fed, farm raised, free range, organic, etc etc etc birds that few of us actually buy.  It does help to read that last paragraph from a high horse or standing on a soup box.  I just do not ever see myself buying a $75 plus bird for a single meal... But I digress.

A few notes... Be sure to hunt down actual cheesecloth to cover the bird.  Air circulates easily yet still protect the bird fro charring.  You WILL get that beautiful golden brown and delicious look.  Almost all grocery stores stock this, just ask.  By soaking this in the melted seasoned butter before draping the bird, you add that butter to the skin that helps get the look as well as the crispy crunch everyone looks for.

Follow the temperature guidelines.  Cooking the first 30 minutes at over 400 plus degrees, you toughen up the outside thin layer of meat that helps to hold the juices inside (making moist tender and delicious).

Be sure to watch your temperature.  Now would be a great time to invest in a remote probe instant read thermometer.  For every degree above 160, you are making your bird less moist tender and delicious.  I added a couple of ways to hold the temperature if your bird is done ahead of schedule.

Use the drippings to make gravy (Double click the blue lettering for my WORLD's BEST Never Fail Turkey GRAVY Recipe))

And use the bones to make stock... FREE!  Once you strip the carcass of the meat, just transfer to a crock pot (Fennel, Onion, Lemons, Garlic and all) to a crock pot, top with water, set on low and allow to simmer overnight...  Nothing more needs to be done.  No extra veggies, no extra nothing... Just the bones and water and overnight low simmer.  And then you will be dreaming of the soups that you will make in January.  The stock freezes just fine in ZipLock brand freezer bags (I like to freeze in 2 cup amounts... easy for thawing for soup and almost as good when you make your rice for those turkey leftovers (Sweet and sour turkey... yum).  And you will get GREAT bragging rights for Fat Tuesday to use Turkey stock to make Jambalaya... But again I digress

This is a winner... ENJOY and Merry Christmas!

 OK... Here's what I did

World's BEST (and Easiest never Fail) TURKEY

  • 1 (14-16 Pound) Turkey, I do like Butterball brand injected turkeys (Makes great Gravy from drippings))
  • 1/4 Cup Sea Salt
  • 2 Whole Heads of Garlic, Cut in half
  • An assortment of fresh herbs, Sprigs of Rosemary, Thyme, Sage if available (do a kitchen flowerpot garden in November)... Can use Dried herbs if needed.
  • 1 Medium Lemon, cut in half
  • 1 Fennel Bulb, Cut in half, prongs removed
  • 1 Onion, Cut in half, skins removed
  • 2 Sticks (1 Cup) Salted Butter
  • 1 (4 Foot long) Section of Cheesecloth (Long enough to double cover the bird)
Cooking Directions
  1. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water, set on a clean kitchen towel, and pat dry. Season the turkey inside and out with the salt. Set on your roasting pan (with a rack to hold the turkey out of the juices).
  2. Insert Half of the "Bulbs", Lemon, Onion, Fennel, Garlic, into the cavity of the bird, along with the aromatic Herbs.
  3. In a medium large Saucepan, melt 2 sticks of butter. Dice the remaining onion half, separate the remaining cloves of garlic halves remove paper and outer skin wrapping of each piece. Rough chop. and cut the remaining fennel bulb into slivers. Add this to the butter and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. When cool enough to handle, soak a double layer of cheesecloth big enough to cover the bird in the butter mixture and drape over the breast and legs of the turkey. Pour the remaining contents of the pan over the bird, pushing the pieces of vegetable and herbs into the bottom of the roasting pan.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees,
  6. Place the turkey in the oven and roast for 30 minutes (there will be the distinct possibility of smoke depending on how clean your oven is). Turn the oven temperature down to 300 degrees F, and continue to roast for another 15 to 20 minutes per pound (removing the cheesecloth for the final 10 minutes to brown, if needed), or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a thigh (measure in four places, making sure each thick part of the bird registers) - 160 degrees F (about 3 hours). Remove the turkey from the oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving. If needed, tent with aluminum foil and keep warm in a 180 degree oven OR... Wrap pan tightly with aluminum foil, sealing in the heat and transfer the pan and all to a large ice chest (No ice). The heat will keep for a couple of hours this way freeing up your oven for side dishes.
  7. Just before serving, Make gravy from the strained Juices.
  8. For serving, carve half the bird (remove the leg whole and cut dark and light meat into serve-able size. Then flip the un-carved side facing the front with the carved pieces in front. Carve additional as needed.
  9. Serve warm and ENJOY!

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