Let’s Talk :: How To Cook The Perfect Turkey

DSC_0417It has been my second year cooking a turkey on my own and I am happy to say they both came out great.  But…not quite spectacular.  Both years I have followed The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook directions.  The main concept is that you cook the turkey breast side down for about an hour and flip it over and cook the breast side up for the remaining cooking time to ensure even cooking. 

This year I also decided to try brining the turkey.  It was not as complicated as I had imagined.  I purchased a styrofoam ice chest, filled it with water, salt, the turkey, and ice (according to same cookbook directions).  To prepare the turkey, all I did was butter under the skin and on the outside.  I also watched the turkey while it cooked and kept the pan filled with chicken stock.  When I tried it, it tasted fine.  Nothing fantastic.  But then when I tasted someone else’s turkey, mine stood out as much more moist. 

So the question is, what was it?

The flipping.

The brining.

The chicken stock.

The combination of all three???

I do not know.  So I reach out to all of you…

How do you make the perfect turkey?  What are your tricks?  How can I add extra taste?  Spill it.

Oh, and in my frugal ways, I of course have another $8 turkey in the freezer to try out in a few months once we get through this first one and give my husband a turkey break.  I would love to hear your opinions and try it out on this second one and update you all on the outcome!



8 comments:

  1. I let my husband do it ;)

    Seriously he always does the turkey and dressing and I always do the sides and desserts. And can I just say, he cooks one great turkey!

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  2. My hubby also cooks the turkey and does a wonderful job! Every year, he cooks the turkey, the whole time, upside down! So the breast sits in the juices the entire time! He cooks it for a longer time at a lower temp so that it does not overcook and the turkey always comes out tender, juicy and amazing!

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  3. My mom always cooks hers in an oven bag, they turned out great. I have just cooked them the regular way and baste it with it's own juices and it tastes fine too!

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  4. I inject my turkey with a combination of lemon juice, garlic juice and salt..and cook it in a bag or on the charcoal grill. It's always moist and has a different flavor that I get a lot of compliments on. I can give you the exact recipe when I'm home from work if you're interested! :)

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  5. I wish we had more leftover turkey here! Yours looks yummy. I've never actually cooked a turkey. :s My MIL fried ours for us before they left for their trip. We heated it in the oven (sliced) with some chicken broth in the bottom of the pan, and it was very moist. :)

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  6. I didn't get a turkey this year since they were so expensive. I usually buy one or two cheap to make lots of meat for casseroles and soup!
    I use a lot of butter that I smear all over the turkey and then baste the heck out of it. I've done the bag and they turn out good but I really like to baste it during cooking.

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  7. My husband cooked the turkey this year. We adapted an Alton Brown recipe:

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/good-eats-roast-turkey-recipe/index.html

    I'm not one for sage, so we omitted that. We also didn't brine it this year, and we subbed olive oil for the canola. It was really tasty, but it seemed a bit drier than brined ones we had done in the past.

    Good girl on picking up a second turkey for the freezer while you could get a deal!

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  8. Brining the turkey is the KEY to ensuring an extra moist bird!! I used Pioneer Woman's brining recipe this year... with a few tweaks to suit my own taste... and it was AMAZING! I made it for our homeschool co-op's dinner, and after we were doe I found some of the Dad's picking the carcass!! LoL.
    Go to TastyKitchen.com and look up Turkey Brining recipe.
    I added A LOT more fresh Rosemary, because I LOVE it. I also added Rosemary to the breast while I roasted it. I used a Roasting bag to cook it, and cooked it breast side up... it was amazing.

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