I have an alternative to my traditional turkey roasting method. What follows is a method I’ve ripped off from Julia Child,you know who she is, and, Harold McGee, the author of “On Food and Cooking” and a few other complicated tomes about the chemistry and physics of cooking.
A few years ago he wrote an article in the New York Times about how he “ages” a turkey. This means you pat the bird dry ,inside and out, with a bath towel. Then you put it on a plate in your refrigerator(uncovered) and let it dry out. You do this for a few days. McGee does this because he believes,as I do, brining is an exercise in futility. But that’s fodder for another discussion. Anyway,after the turkey is dry, you roast it in the usual way. The good news is that it tastes amazing. The bad, forget about the gravy. There is none! The turkey,though, turns out to be moist. You must remove it at 165 internal temp.
In one of her cookbooks she cuts- up the turkey into 5 parts;I.e., the whole breast with the wings on and two legs. You take the two legs and separate the thighs and drumsticks. Now you got 5 parts. The rational is that the turkey will roast faster. If the leg parts finish before the breast, it’s no hassle to take them out of the oven and finish off the breast. Again you have to watch internal temp.
Ok. What I’ve done is to combine the two methods. I dried out the turkey, cut it into the 5 parts and roast it. I left the breast intact with the wings tied to it with butcher twine. I did not remove the backbone. This was done so the stuffing,I stuff my turkey, would not fall out and make a mess in the roasting pan. The results were amazing. Not only was the turkey , around 20lbs.,done in about three hours, it was perfect. Moist,tender and to use a Yiddish term, mit a tom. Tasty!
If you want to try this method, I’ll take a 20lb. turkey, feeds around 12-15 people,”age” it in our cooler,cut it into the 5 pieces and tie the wings to the breast. I’ll include written instructions for roasting. If you’re interested, PLEASE let me know at least 2 weeks before Thanksgiving or Christmas. Oh yeah, Empire Kosher Turkeys are the best for this methodology. Reason? I never use anything else.