How Thomas Keller Makes His Juicy, Crispy Thanksgiving Turkey
Joyce Park stashed this in Food
This is why Thomas Keller is one of the best chefs in America and you're not: attention to detail!
His attention to detail is outstanding. Amazing, even.
I decided to try this recipe with the cheapest, most generic turkey I could find so that I could be sure it wasn't super good ingredients but technique alone that made the difference. Safeway provided 11.52 lb of frozen bowling ball -- injected with a little saline but no "butter" -- at 69 cents a pound, for a grand total of $7.95 cash money.
3 days of defrosting in the fridge, 1 day of brining, and 1 day of drying followed suit. I made 2 changes to the roasting: I spatchcocked the bird (cut out the backbone with shears and flattened the thighs), and I used the "convection roast" feature on my oven at 425 and then 400 degrees. Oh, and my clarified butter didn't work out at all. Net-net, after 80 minutes my bird was PERFECT except for the skin being too dark (although very crispy!). I didn't particularly care because I'm using this meat for turkey pot pies... but next time I think I would try something more like 375 or 400 if using convection roasting.
Meat was moist, delicious, and perfectly seasoned throughout. The brine penetrated the meat far more than I would have expected, with a hint of lemony garlic. A spatchcocked turkey needs a larger roasting pan than I could provide, juices spilled over a bit in my oven. This recipe doesn't spell it out, but you actually need those veggies in the bottom of the roasting pan to control moisture/burning and collect juices... and if you're smart you will add them to turkey stock sooner or later.