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Sunday
Nov132016

Thanksgiving Decontructed Again

I've really learned to stick with my Thanksgiving plan from 2 years ago, and this year, I did a trial run on one further deconstruction technique:  Turkey in parts.

Every cooking magazine out there has some version of how to roast your turkey so the breast doesn't dry out before the legs and thighs are done.  You can find turkey in parts in many grocery stores this time of year, and for my trial runs, that's what I bought.  But for the actual meal, I bought a heritage bird and had my butcher cut up the turkey for me.  For a 20-22 lbs stuffed bird, normal cooking time would be nearly 7 hours.  For a cut-up bird, depending on arrangement of the parts, between 2 and 3 hours, depending on your oven tempurature.  I like mine to cook at 325 for a bit longer, which might push your cooking time to 3 hours, but if you need to shorten the time further, cook at 350, and brine your bird.

Brining not only makes your meat more juicy and tender, it also reduces the cooking time.  For best results, use a meat probe that sits outside the oven (See Thanksgiving Decontructed).  I've done a wet brine turkey before, and accidently let the bird brine too long (24 hours)  the result was more like ham and very salty. Wet brines should only be done for about 18 hours, vs 24 hours.  So you have to be very specific about when you start your brine.  I prefer a dry brine method, because it allows you a little more flexibility.  You can go the full 24 hours without a salty result, and frankly its easier to calculate your brining time.  

I like sage with turkey, so I keep my brine very simple.  Sage, butter, salt & pepper.  And that brine also makes a very simple, but deeply flavored gravy, especially if you use your own home-made stock.  So, Dry-Brined Sage Roasted Turkey in Parts.  Pictures will be coming soon!

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