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How Thomas Keller Makes His Juicy, Crispy Thanksgiving Turkey

Stashed in: Good Eats!, Awesome, Thanksgiving, Yum, Food, Things that might get made

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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.

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