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Turkey 101


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So, yes...I actually quarter my turkeys.  When I find them on sale fresh, I actually cut them up BEFORE freezing them as sometimes a 1/2 turkey is more than enough, and I can even do 1-1/2 if needed for a larger crowd.  Because I take the breast out usually before the legs/thighs, it just works better for me that way.

 

For gravy, I take the neck (hacked into chunks), wing tips, backbone (hacked into chunks), giblets and any other remaining bits, season them a bit (salt, pepper, poultry seasoning etc.) oil them up and roast them up really well in my large cast iron pan at 450 degrees - gives me some great browned drippings and base to start a stock.  I add numerous other vegetables, similarly to making soup/stock - carrots, a little onion (not too much), celery etc.  Caramelize it all, but don't let it burn...have to watch the veggies...I usually add them in a bit into the cook.

 

If I need to make a LOT of gravy, I will check the stores for extra turkey necks and wings (they are often pretty cheap) to get extra parts to get more flavor for more volume.

 

Toss around often while roasting and get everything nice and browned and caramelized.  Deglaze the pan and get everything into a medium size stockpot with more turkey stock (if you can find it or have leftover from previous cooks/soup), or water, or turkey bullion etc. (depending on overall flavor desired) and simmer just like making turkey soup for a few hours.  When happy with the flavor, thicken by reducing and/or adding roux, or by adding a packaged gravy mix with a thickening agent (this also add flavor...albeit somewhat less "natural" ingredient).  A few different options here as everyone usually has their own gravy family recipes.  

 

I still use the drippings too...last minute add to the gravy.  When the turkey is done cooking, if there are good drippings (if you use a pan) as well as the juice that remains after resting in the foil/pan in the cooler.  It all adds up!  Sometimes takes a few tweaks...but so much less stress knowing your gravy is already done beforehand.

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55 minutes ago, SmallBBQr said:

So, yes...I actually quarter my turkeys.  When I find them on sale fresh, I actually cut them up BEFORE freezing them as sometimes a 1/2 turkey is more than enough, and I can even do 1-1/2 if needed for a larger crowd.  Because I take the breast out usually before the legs/thighs, it just works better for me that way.

 

For gravy, I take the neck (hacked into chunks), wing tips, backbone (hacked into chunks), giblets and any other remaining bits, season them a bit (salt, pepper, poultry seasoning etc.) oil them up and roast them up really well in my large cast iron pan at 450 degrees - gives me some great browned drippings and base to start a stock.  I add numerous other vegetables, similarly to making soup/stock - carrots, a little onion (not too much), celery etc.  Caramelize it all, but don't let it burn...have to watch the veggies...I usually add them in a bit into the cook.

 

If I need to make a LOT of gravy, I will check the stores for extra turkey necks and wings (they are often pretty cheap) to get extra parts to get more flavor for more volume.

 

Toss around often while roasting and get everything nice and browned and caramelized.  Deglaze the pan and get everything into a medium size stockpot with more turkey stock (if you can find it or have leftover from previous cooks/soup), or water, or turkey bullion etc. (depending on overall flavor desired) and simmer just like making turkey soup for a few hours.  When happy with the flavor, thicken by reducing and/or adding roux, or by adding a packaged gravy mix with a thickening agent (this also add flavor...albeit somewhat less "natural" ingredient).  A few different options here as everyone usually has their own gravy family recipes.  

 

I still use the drippings too...last minute add to the gravy.  When the turkey is done cooking, if there are good drippings (if you use a pan) as well as the juice that remains after resting in the foil/pan in the cooler.  It all adds up!  Sometimes takes a few tweaks...but so much less stress knowing your gravy is already done beforehand.

Great thanks!

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