Instructables

Optimize Your Turkey: Perfect White Meat and Succulent Dark Meat

Featured
Picture of Optimize Your Turkey: Perfect White Meat and Succulent Dark Meat
Thanksgiving has got to be the best holiday of all: not only is it focused on gratitude, family, and a big meal - but also the foods of Thanksgiving are my personal favorites - especially turkey.

Now, turkey and I have not always been on speaking terms. My mother, who could turn a chuck steak into something approaching filet mignon, was hopeless with the big bird. Not surprising, since she came from a culture that once used fowl in its spectator sports - our Thanksgiving turkeys invariably had the interior texture of a soccer ball. At the time, I thought I just didn't like turkey, and choked it down smothered in gravy.

One day I had a revelation when a friend cooked up turkey perfection:  juicy white meat, dark meat sliding off the bones...I resolved that henceforth, all turkeys would be like this one! 

I learned that the challenge of perfect turkey is that it needs a different final temperature for the white meat (145) and dark meat (165)  To make sure my turkeys are perfect every time, but still give you that Normal Rockwell moment at the table that we all crave, I came up with the following solution:
 
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Snip the skin on the drumstick

Picture of Snip the skin on the drumstick
Using a good pair of kitchen shears, cut through the skin between the breast and the drumstick until you release the thigh.  You will need to stretch the skin over the meat on both sides and skewer it, so make sure you have slack on both sides. Repeat for the second drumstick.

Step 2: Cut between the thigh and the breast

Picture of Cut between the thigh and the breast
There is a small strip of meat that connects the ribcage to the thighs.  Again, using your kitchen shears, cut all the way through to the backbone on each side of the turkey.

Step 3: Snap the backbone

Picture of Snap the backbone
Bend your turkey in half to snap the backbone by pulling pull the top and bottom of the backbone towards each other until the part between the breast and the thighs snaps.  If there is any remaining tissue connecting the two halves of your turkey, cut it with kitchen scissors.
zith10 months ago
wonderful. And a lot easier than it looks. I prepared the turkey the night before and left it uncovered all night to dry the skin. This makes the skin get very brown and crisp without having to go to a high temp at the end. I also roast a turkey in the summer for salads and stuff and freeze the drippings. Then, next time, I can make the gravy early instead of after the bird is done. And freeze the drippings from that bird for next time. Its so much nicer than whisking your arm off after all the work in making a full on turkey dinner.
Fantastic advice!
Thank you!