In the past three weeks, we have cooked 12 — or was it 13?– turkeys, each a different way. We created recipes for people who are roasting their first turkey and those who are on their twentieth; for adventurous cooks and those (like me!) who love the classics. Here are some of our favorites, broken down by method.
A warm, rich and slightly sweet glaze practically cooks itself while the turkey roasts over a bed of apples and vegetables. This is one of our simplest recipes– though the beguiling aroma in your kitchen and flavor would lead you to think otherwise!
I am a New Englander, and still love the tried and true, traditional herb-roasted turkey. This is the turkey we just taught at my annual “Thanksgiving Essentials” class at Institute of Culinary Education. It is also one of the turkeys we will make for our own holiday gathering this year. It is a classic for a very good reason.
TURKEY FOR SMALLER GATHERINGS
Sorry, people with large gatherings, but this sweet, salty, smokey rub is not for you. For cooks who have four to six people at your holiday table, gloat just a little about the fact that you could not do this delicious rub on a whole turkey: by the time it would be cooked through, the sugars would burn. It is ideally suited for a breast, on which the sugars and salt turn into a bronzed crisp crust.
Please note that the recipe yields 8-12 servings, but since some people go back for seconds and everyone wants take-home, this recipe is perfect for 6-8 people.
In addition to specific recipes, we created step-by-step photo instructions for Food Network. The links follow.
Click here for the Wet Brine tutorial (Slides 8 – 16)
…and here is a recipe for wet brining: Maple & Cider Brined Turkey
Click here for the Dry Brine tutorial (Slides 1 – 7)
For our Southwest Dry Brined Turkey, we used the following rub (for a 12-pound bird):
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
This spectacular looking beauty is a little more work for the cook, but the gorgeous presentation and moist, tender breast meat is a big pay-off. You can ask your butcher to spatchcock the bird for you, or you can cut out the back bone yourself.
Got questions or comments about your bird or cooking method? Use the comment section below or the contact form (the latter is private) and I’ll get back to you quickly.