There certainly are a lot of opinions on how to cook that holiday bird. Brining vs. not brining, larding vs. rubbing w/ fat, trussing vs not trussing, to stuff or not to stuff. Rest assured though, you can get good results with any of these techniques, if applied correctly.
A little difficult to do at home especially with large birds but if this is attempted, it is much better to err on the side of not enough brine time than too much brine time. In the end, in my opinion, you want the bird to, almost, taste like it was not brined so that the natural flavours of the turkey will come through and not be disguised by herb/salt/citrus. Just an ever so slight hint herb/salt/citrus is the ideal. - and, in particular, the salt aspect of the brine is more important to how it changes the cell structures than achieving a marinated-tasting bird (whereas the salt actually makes individual cells more elastic, enabling a juicer bird in the end, and being more forgiving if overcooked). A very important tip is to rinse, pat dry, and let the turkey rest, uncovered in the fridge, for 24 hours after brining. Click here for a low tech brining recipe
Heritage birds have more fat than standard birds but when roasting a whole turkey, it is inevitable that the white meat will cook quicker than the dark meat. A couple of tricks here:
Soak a cloth in some sort of fat (butter will do nicely, or melted duck/chicken/pork fat) and drape over the breast. Leave the cloth there for the first 1/3 of cooking, then remove to allow breast skin to crisp up.
Another good trick is to have some softened butter and rub the breast well with this, under the skin.
I like to leave legs untrussed, which allows them to cook a bit quicker. I like to tie the wings in tight to slow down the cooking of the breasts a wee bit.
I wouldn’t recommend stuffing your bird you’re planning to brine, instead make it on your stove top. Stuffing in a brined bird can be too salty otherwise. A real turkey pure-ist would say that you can't get your stuffing up to a proper temp without compromising the breast meat (ie overcooking your bird).
However, in my opinion, there's nothing more classic than pulling out that perfectly roasted turkey, complete with stuffing in both cavities. Having that cloth draped over the breasts will help you achieve these good results.
What I’m planning to do this year to my heritage holiday bird:
Please visit our farm website if you are interested in ordering a bird for the holidays.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Some tips on how to cook your holiday heritage turkey.
From the country...
Pin It "> Pin It