At first I just did what my Mom did....stuffed it with my stuffing, buttered, salted and peppered the top and threw it in the oven until the plastic thing popped up. I threw out the plastic thing quite some time ago, but the other things I still do. But I've added a few new tricks to my repertoire!!
I have also deep fried my turkey, but it was always as a back up. I can't stand the thought of not having that baking turkey smell in my kitchen on Thanksgiving Day, nor would I ever be able to live without those intensely flavored drippings in the bottom of the pan for my gravy!
I've even smoked turkeys.....in fact, add about 40 more turkeys to that count above! There was a time that about two weeks before Christmas we spent EVERY evening smoking a turkey, wrapping in in cellophane, topping it with red plaid ribbon and holly and delivering it to a wonderful friend! They were delicious, but again, no turkey aroma or drippings!
For the last two years, Dennis and I have brined our turkeys! For those who wish to brine, here's my recipe:
Now........this year I've heard about a new way of cooking a turkey. The premises is that the water in the brining tends to make the meat a little rubbery, albeit very juicy. This technique is called "salting". According to Bon Appetit, "the salt draws moisture from the interior of the bird to the surface, where it combines with the salt and other seasonings. Eventually, that flavorful salted liquid is reabsorbed by the meat, seasoning it throughout". Of course, I did some other researching on the internet and those who have tried it say it has the flavor of brining, but has a better texture. Just for you, we tried it!
I bake my turkey at 325 degrees until the thermometer registers 170 degrees. Once you take it out of the oven, baste the turkey again so that taking off the cheesecloth won't tear the skin. The cheesecloth is a "MUST".....it helps to keep the turkey moist and it makes for an evenly browned skin.Voila....a beautifully browned turkey.....and the meat was juicy and tender...not dry and rubbery. I think I may have found a winner....not that it will keep me from my annual turkey cooking research! I'm always looking for a new way to make my food better! Before I go, let me add a tip..........make sure your turkey has no additives or preservatives....that will completely ruin your bird! You just want a nice, fresh turkey.....or nice, freshly frozen bird!
Let me know how yours turns out!