2

votes

Hack my Turkey- what should I do with it?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 12, 2011 at 11:54 PM

What should I do with the free turkey I'm getting at work for Thanksgiving? It's a free range broad breasted turkey- so it's from a good source. I'm thinking of just baking it- but I want your opinion on how to cook it since "stuffing/dressing" is out of the question.

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on November 13, 2011
at 09:47 PM

That sounds delicious too! :D I love pecans.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on November 13, 2011
at 08:40 PM

Brining a turkey is great, almost assures that you will have something really flavourful and juicy. Lifting the skin and putting butter and herbs underneath is a nice way, too, but the brining goes deep. The salt roast is pretty amazing, tho, if you don't do your turk in that preparation you gotta try on a chicken sometime. Yummo.

9b2e3130786c8c33ae0ec7439c277e0f

(280)

on November 13, 2011
at 06:07 PM

I've never thought about brining a turkey... I may seriously consider this!

9b2e3130786c8c33ae0ec7439c277e0f

(280)

on November 13, 2011
at 06:06 PM

I work for a small scale meat processing facility-a slaughter house. It's pretty awesome.

421492f8989c426af583520a3d5fd136

(522)

on November 13, 2011
at 02:04 PM

I was just going to post almost this exact comment! Except with cream cheese (as a treat), and some crushed pecan nuts - Yum!!

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on November 13, 2011
at 12:59 PM

Just added in some thoughts on dressing at the bottom...

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on November 13, 2011
at 12:50 PM

Welcome Eric! This is a really nice one. The salt is amazing with chicken, too, especially if you butterfly it and then its even more crispy juicy.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on November 13, 2011
at 06:39 AM

Thanks JuBa! That rocks!

51b472fa449ab0e5433f27dcd799fedd

(1091)

on November 13, 2011
at 06:10 AM

Your work not only gave you a free turkey, but one that was free range? Where in the name of trees do you work??

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:37 AM

+1 for flipping the bird (seriously, I do that too.) :-))

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:21 AM

You are so lucky to have a free range turkey! Not to rain on your parade, but I thought today's broad-breasted turkeys couldn't even walk under their own power so they had to be fed. This must be a more vigorous variety?

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:19 AM

You are so lucky to have a free range turkey! I priced them but can't afford one.

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:02 AM

You bake it, then you eat it. And if there is any left, then you eat it some more. Ideally, you might consider injecting it with cajun seasoning and smoking it, but just baking is fine as long as you got giblet gravy (and salsa verde). I do still eat stuffing on Thanksgiving. It is just one day a year.

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8 Answers

5
13a44ea00b0c9af0b6d0f3d5f5c2cfca

(7223)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:35 AM

Not stuffing it is not a problem. In fact, Alton Brown actively discourages people from stuffing birds (not from making stuffing, just not putting it inside the bird). I would brine and roast it. Try roasting it upside down for about half the total time and then flipping the bird (I never get tired of saying that, lol) up for the second half. It make the breast meat much moister.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 13, 2011
at 12:37 AM

+1 for flipping the bird (seriously, I do that too.) :-))

3
Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on November 13, 2011
at 04:32 AM

I used to brine, still do my ducks, but in the last couple of years have gone the way of a salt roast - similar to a brine but completely dry. You can truly get some flavour in just a couple of hours or let it sit for a day in your fridge. Here you go from my nerd cooking file of recipes:

Herbed Salt: 1/3 cup coarse kosher salt, 1-1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary, 1-1/2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage, 1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme, 1-teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed, 3-small bay leaves, roughly torn, 1-teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

Turkey: 1 14-to 16-pound turkey, adjust the salt measurements based on the weight of yours. 1 large onion, chopped, 1 large celery stalk, chopped, 1 whole lemon, chopped with peel, 1-teaspoon dried rosemary, 1-teaspoon dried rubbed sage, 1-teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 cup butter - I use unsalted at room temperature, 2 cups or more of stock - turkey or chicken. Veg broth flavour doesn't work as nicely.

Now to make the magic happen:

Herbed salt: Rub first 6 ingredients in small bowl to crush herbs finely. If you want, you can make this a week ahead. Cover and store at room temperature, stir in peel before using.

For turkey: Place turkey in a roasting bag; sprinkle inside and out with herbed salt. Close bag tightly and put on a baking sheet; toss into the fridge for a couple of hours up to 24. At 12 hours the flavours are really tasty.

Set rack in the lowest position in oven and preheat to 325. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat very dry. Stir chopped onion and next 5 ingredients in small bowl. Divide onion mixture between main and neck cavities. Fold neck skin under and secure with skewer and then the usual tuck the wing tips, tie the legs. Set the turkey on your roasting rack/in the pan. Spread butter all over turkey.

Roast turkey 45 minutes. Time for your first basting. Continue to roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165 to 170, basting every 45 minutes, adding stock or water to pan if dry, and tenting loosely with foil if browning too quickly, 3 to 3 1/2 hours longer. Transfer turkey to platter; tent yet again very loosely with foil and let rest 30 to 45 minutes.

That tasty bird is ready to go. Super juicy, just as good as brined.

---EDIT---

I was thinking stuffing and wondered - do you eat white rice at all? You could saute onions in butter with rice, stock, celery, garlic, sage/thyme/parsley/tarragon/salt + pepper. add stock and you would have the flavours of stuffing without the bread. Add in chopped meat from the neck/giblets and you're kind of there. You could even do some sausage and apples for another twist. Or even omit the rice and do the same thing with the turkey bits + all the seasonings and do it all with braised kale or rapini as a veg side. Hmm..

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on November 13, 2011
at 06:39 AM

Thanks JuBa! That rocks!

9b2e3130786c8c33ae0ec7439c277e0f

(280)

on November 13, 2011
at 06:07 PM

I've never thought about brining a turkey... I may seriously consider this!

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on November 13, 2011
at 12:50 PM

Welcome Eric! This is a really nice one. The salt is amazing with chicken, too, especially if you butterfly it and then its even more crispy juicy.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on November 13, 2011
at 12:59 PM

Just added in some thoughts on dressing at the bottom...

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on November 13, 2011
at 08:40 PM

Brining a turkey is great, almost assures that you will have something really flavourful and juicy. Lifting the skin and putting butter and herbs underneath is a nice way, too, but the brining goes deep. The salt roast is pretty amazing, tho, if you don't do your turk in that preparation you gotta try on a chicken sometime. Yummo.

2
74d0407ca99061cab2512ed83683b498

on November 13, 2011
at 01:28 AM

I like dry cure/dry brine instead of the wet brine and it's much less messy and involved. Just rub inside and outside liberally with kosher salt and pepper and let it sit in your fridge loosely covered with waxed paper for a day or two, then sprinkle the top with fresh or dried thyme, tie up some sage leaves and stuff them into the cavity, leave the legs untied for more even cooking, and roast at 350 until a meat thermometer stuck in the spot between the leg and the body gives you 165. Then cover with a foil tent and let it rest for up to an hour, depending on size. If you eat it, potato starch makes excellent gravy w/ pan drippings.

1
Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on November 13, 2011
at 12:12 AM

We've been brining ours and barbecuing it for a lot of years because it just tastes incredible this way.Traditional roasting is delicious too, just be sure to make adjustments in your cooking time when there is no stuffing. FYI, there are lots of grain free stuffing recipes out there if you want to go that route as well...happy thanksgiving!

0
D6a5a11734337208246e7d53184c8197

on November 13, 2011
at 01:52 PM

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/The-Simplest-Roast-Turkey-232985

This is the best and easiest recipe for turkey in the world. You don't have to flip it or baste it or do anything tricky from the minute you put it in the oven to the minute you take it out. Just make sure to read the notes to ensure your turkey is the right size for the recipe and so you don't smoke yourself out of your house. Before I found this recipe, I used to wake up early to get the turkey into the oven. Now I can start it after lunch and it's ready to go (set, carved and still warm) by dinner.

I stopped stuffing my turkey years ago. The stuffing would get too gloppy and fatty from being inside the turkey.

If it's a free range turkey, brining is not a bad idea if you have the time and space. Get a huge styrofoam cooler, put the turkey in it, pour a big bag of ice over, and throw in a few handfuls of kosher salt and maybe a little sugar or brown sugar if you're into that. Cover the turkey with water (apple cider sounds like a really good option too--I just never have any in the house so never use it). And then just let it sit till the ice melts. If it's cold here, I put it outside with a lid on it. Otherwise, I skip brining. Just pat the bird dry before you season and roast it.

Sounds like you work for a great company. Enjoy your holiday.

0
Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

on November 13, 2011
at 06:07 AM

Mm, with cranberries and a creamy goat cheese (if you eat dairy).

421492f8989c426af583520a3d5fd136

(522)

on November 13, 2011
at 02:04 PM

I was just going to post almost this exact comment! Except with cream cheese (as a treat), and some crushed pecan nuts - Yum!!

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on November 13, 2011
at 09:47 PM

That sounds delicious too! :D I love pecans.

0
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 13, 2011
at 02:44 AM

Could this be a wild turkey? Or is it the regular breed but free range?

I've never had wild turkey, but heard it's good.

0
2b2c2e4aa87e9aa4c99cae48e980f70d

(1059)

on November 13, 2011
at 01:15 AM

Brine it in apple cider!

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