Let’s talk turkey…
From the Food Nation Radio Archives:
It’s Thanksgiving Day, and everyone gathers around the kitchen making small talk. This year everyone is talking politics, jobs and the economy. You’ll hear the occasional story about Cousin Fred in trouble with the law. You pray you’ll temporarily lose your hearing…
What’s really happening though, is folks are waiting for that moment the golden-brown, succulent bird emerges from the oven. The house is already filled with the smell of slow roasting and it doesn’t make the wait any easier every time the oven opens for another brush of butter over that crispy, seasoned skin.
Don’t forget the wine
If you are planning on having organic, biodynamic wine from Frey Wines, order early because they get very busy this time of year. You may want to order for Christmas and New Year’s too. We did an interview with Katrina from Frey Wine about their unique process. Do you know what’s in your wine? Listen to that HERE.
Cooks who are serious about Thanksgiving dinner start planning now. That means ordering a turkey or deciding you’ll go with what your grocer provides (price and availability might be sketchy this year).
I’ve been down the path of turkey experimentation for several years now. Yes, it’s true. I can inhale a turkey with the best of them. Here are my impressions of some of the types available to make your decision a little easier.
If you want to be adventurous (short of going hunting yourself) you might consider a Heritage turkey. It’s the closest you’ll find to a wild turkey and you’ll notice a remarkably heavy game flavor. The breast is smaller and dark meat is predominant. You need to be aware that this type of turkey will cook faster and tend to dry out easier. Basting this turkey every 15-20 minutes is important. Low and slow, with a max temperature of 350F.
Another type of turkey I’ve tried that I thought was succulent and moist is a brand from a California ranch called Willie Bird. These turkeys are in high demand and they tend to run out of them quickly. Again, the breast will be somewhat smaller than a conventional bird, and these are flavorful turkeys.
My all-time favorite turkey is still Bell & Evans, suppliers of the White House turkey each year and usually available at higher-end markets. These free-range birds are allowed to mature slowly and still have as much breast meat as any conventional brand. The meat has a slightly rich turkey flavor without crossing into game territory. Every Bell & Evans turkey I have roasted has been juicy on the inside and beautifully bronzed on the outside. They do tend to cook a little faster than conventional turkeys however, so be sure and keep your thermometer handy.
As I do every year, I’ll be writing/tweeting/posting some quick tips and tricks to get through the holidays in a stress-free and organized way. So, tell Aunt Bertha to settle down, you’ve got dinner handled.