View Full Version : A No Turkey Turkey Day

Margaret Lo
20th November 2003, 14:59
Since I despise turkey white meat, there will be no turkey at my house ha ha ha. Commercial turkeys are completely tasteless, why do people like it? Does deep frying help these birds at all or is it hopeless?

I may have a chicken or a duck. Any other suggestions from my foodie compatriots?


20th November 2003, 15:02
KFC of Course

John Lindsey
20th November 2003, 15:09
You gotta cook it right!

Here is a recipe I will be trying this year. It is from the Food channel's show "Good Eats"

1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey
For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon allspice berries
1/2 tablespoon candied ginger
1 gallon iced water

For the aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Canola oil

Combine all brine ingredients, except ice water, in a stockpot, and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5-gallon bucket. Place thawed turkey breast side down in brine, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area (like a basement) for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, half way through brining.

A few minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.

Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine.

Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels. Add steeped aromatics to cavity along with rosemary and sage. Tuck back wings and coat whole bird liberally with canola (or other neutral) oil.

Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil, insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350 degrees F. Set thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.

Tea Guy
20th November 2003, 15:21
I really don't care for turkey either. I basically got sick of them one year when I had numerous turkeys in a very short period of time.

That's why I don't ever fix turkey. I usually fix duck! Mmm....tasty.
Generally, if you're going to fix duck for your family or friends, you should fix more than one. Duck doesn't have a great yield of meat. Afterwards though you can use the bones for a wonderful soup.


Earl Hartman
20th November 2003, 18:58
By itself, turkey breast (and chicken breast, too) is utterly boring, the most tasteless and useless of meats. I share Maragaret's disdain, and I will also be having duck this year (mainly because I can't get my hands on a kosher goose). Why anyone would choose bland, dry, tasteless white meat over juicy, succulent, flavorful dark meat is something I have never understood. Turkey thigh meat and drumsticks are good, but otherwise turkey is pretty much a lost cause (except for the crispy skin, which you have to eat directly out of the oven).

The great thing about a duck is that it is 100% dark meat!!

However, that being said, the breast meat of turkey can be edible if:

You have really good gravy, and lots of it

You have really good cranberry sauce (not that junk out of a can) and lots of it. Real cranberry sauce is ridiculously simple: just buy a bag of fresh cranberries, put them in a pot with just a little bit of water, add sugar to taste, and simmer them until they're soft. It's even better if you add a little lemon and/or orange zest (citron zest is even better, if you can find it).

You have really good stuffing, and lots of it

Otherwise, turkey breast is only good for sandwiches or turkey salad, if that.

How are you going to do your duck, Margaret? I like a traditonal European-style duck, with the cavity stuffed with apples and prunes.

20th November 2003, 20:52
Tried this years ago and (other than the cat making every attempt to get it while it was hanging to dry) came out quite well.

Marinating the bird for a while first (injecting it, or, as I've taken to doing lately, placing small pats of butter or [sorry Earl-san] lard under the skin) can also help w/retaining really tender edible breast.

Oh, and for another take on cranberry sauce, reconstituting dried cranberries over the course of a couple of days w/flavored liquids (orange juice, brandy, wine, or whatever) either singley or in combination. Grand Marnier and water (w/lime juice and slices of ginger) is a solid choice.

Be well,

John Lindsey
20th November 2003, 21:05
Well, lets not forget that turkey is symbolic to the holiday, but what has this holiday become now?

A turkey is also a stupid bird. When I was in the Army, we flew a chopper a bit too low over a turkey farm in Washingtion state. The birds freaked out and attacked the other turkeys. Most of them died and Uncle Sam wrote a big check :).

20th November 2003, 21:52
When I lived in Ft. Collins, Colorado...we would all go out, and hunt or fish for our thanksgiving. Someone brought Moose, Elk, Deer, I brought Fresh Rainbow trout, my friend brought duck he shot...etc. Best Thanksgiving I ever had, to me that is what it is about, not turkey, but what you have around you...

Tea Guy
20th November 2003, 23:04
Like Earl Hartman, I'm curious how you would fix your duck if you decide on that. Unlike Earl though, I prefer Chinese duck recipes. I never was fond of Western food (except for bbq and pizza). Something like butter sounds weird on duck. There are numerous Chinese duck recipes to choose from anyway. Tea smoked duck is a particular favorite of mine.


Earl Hartman
20th November 2003, 23:38
I, too, like duck prepared in the Chinese fashion, but not for Thanksgiving. I can't imagine putting butter on duck; duck has so much natural fat that adding something like butter is rather like taking coal to Newcastle or snow to Alaska.

However, a plain, well roasted duck in the European fashion is quite good. Duck goes particularly well with a sweet/tart stuffing to offset the richness.

You simply need to know how to cook duck properly so that most of it's fat is properly rendered. If not, it is far too fatty to eat. This is easily solved by thoroughly perforating the skin all over before roasting it and making sure that it is on a rack away from the drippings. AFAIK, that is why Chinese duck is hung while it is cooked. This is the best way to ensure that the fat drips off.

21st November 2003, 00:21
Well It wasnt my favorite(duck), but the moose and elk...now, that is good stuff. There is a restaraunt, at the very top of Keystone ski area(near Breckenridge) that serves caribou, now that is unique!

Earl Hartman
21st November 2003, 00:26
Damn this 15-minute editing window! I made one of the most egregious grammatical errors possible in my last post, one I always hate to see: I wrote "it's" when I should have written "its".

I just absolutely hate it when I do that!

Caribou, huh? Sounds really good. I had venison once long ago and remember enjoying it quite a bit.

Trivia tidbit for anyone who cares: deer, moose, elk, and caribou are all kosher animals.

21st November 2003, 00:43
I was told... that because caribou eat lichen, the meat is sweeter...it was good. I enjoyed it more than deer.

Margaret Lo
21st November 2003, 15:18
Originally posted by Earl Hartman

The great thing about a duck is that it is 100% dark meat!!

How are you going to do your duck, Margaret? I like a traditonal European-style duck, with the cavity stuffed with apples and prunes.

You know, I've never roasted a duck!! I have roasted chicken many times. For some reason,duck I always cooked by buying from the local asian market. Hmm I might consider cooking one this year since only a few of my students are coming.

Every year I host my foreign grad students who are inevitably on campus. In fact my club has only 3 Americans out of some 20 people.


Earl Hartman
21st November 2003, 18:32
Roasting a duck is no big deal. Like I said, since a duck has so much fat on it, be sure to perforate the skin all over before roasting it. Just poke it with a fork all over to put holes in the skin. This allows the fat to drain. Then, roast it on a rack so that it is far enough above the pan so it will not come into contact with the drippings. The amount of fat that can be rendered from one duck is mind-boggling.

::Channeling Homer Simpson::

Mmmmmm.....crispy duck skin.....