Welcome to a photo essay... turkey 101 if you will...
Today was "Talkin' Turkey" Day. LOTS of great tips. Pretty much, this is Clinton Kelly's contribution. Nothing complicated, and sweet, tender JUICY and amazing!
Start with the bird. I made a smaller bird. this was actually the second Thanksgiving dinner I made (long story). This night, it was just my wife, myself and some really good friends who also felt a bit left out. All of us had the actual T-day meal somewhere else... WE WANTED MORE!
So, a 10 plus pound bird for less than $8... Why don't we make turkey more often???
Time to dress the bird...
Remove the oddities... Some weird plastic handle???, plus the neck is in the cavity, while the heart, lizzard and gizzard are in a bag in the neck.
And REMOVE that silly little pop up thing. The bird is done when it reaches 160 degrees. Every degree above and it starts to fry out. The pop up thingy is set at 170 degrees.
Just pull it out.
And here it is in the garbage... It's junk. Buy an instant read remote thermometer so you can monitor the temperature.
OK, time to season the bird. I used some of what Clinton advised (Click HERE for his recipe). But I used a lot of my own. I made a Cajun spiced butter (2 sticks of butter, softened to room temperature Plus I added 3 TBS of my own Cajun Mix I call, "Big Easy in a Jar". You can of course sub for a store bought mix if you prefer.
OK, Clinton just slathered his seasoned butter over the skin. I prefer to loosen the skin between the meat and the skin and then insert some of the butter inside the skin.
Shove in as deep as you can, being careful not to puncture the skin.
I do about half and half, half outside the skin and half inside.
And now, time to add the lemon. I also added some garlic in the lemon to add some more aromatics to the dish. Just puncture the lemon a few times, cut the garlic in half and push the garlic pieces into the slits. As the lemons cook, they release their steam and the garlic aromas penetrate!
Put the whole lemons into the cavity. NO STUFFING. Stuffing makes the birds cook unevenly and you lose the aromatics.
I have an electric turkey roaster that works great. frees up my oven for the side dishes and desserts. Set it at 325 degrees.
My bird was done in about an hour 45 minutes (but remember it was small). I had a remote thermometer in the bird. i pulled him out at 160 degrees. I did check in several spots, and indeed... 160!
Let the bird rest for an hour. This is VERY IMPORTANT. This time allows the juices to reabsorb into the meat. When I slice this guy, none of that running juice.
So now, let's talk about carving. Do the carving at the cutting board, NOT at the table.
First bend the legs down and separate at the thigh.
You can probably just give a twist and they pull off. You may need to cut at the joint, but pull that dark meat off whole.
And now, pull off the breast meat whole.
Be sure to save the bones... TURKEY STOCK!!!
Slice the breast meat against the grain, big slices.
And I have a large platter that I had 4 servings of Potatoes, 4 servings of Chorizo Sausage Dressing and some of the white meat, some of the dark. And you can spy my version of the classic Green bean casserole on the side... Sorry about the lighting, but I was out of sunlight!
Happy Eating indeed!
Here's my Big Easy in a Jar recipe...
BTW, I make my own Cajun mix I call, "Big easy in a Jar". You will be seeing this ALOT. It's a fast way to add that special heat to any dish. I make about 2 cups worth a month and bit by bot, it is gone! Tastes great on eggs to chicken and anything in between!
1 part Onion Flakes
1 part Dried Thyme Leaves
1 part Dried Oregano
1 part Black Pepper
1 part White Pepper
1 part Lemon Pepper
1/2 (one half) part Cayenne Pepper
1/2 part Ground Bay Leaves
4 parts Sweet Paprika
This is a great little spice to have around. Add brown sugar (1/2 the amount of spice mix) to make a BBQ rub. And add a little to a soup to zing it up or even to a gravy!