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The Ultimate Way To Cook Your Thanksgiving Turkey

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nd1rM3CsoN0&w=560&h=315]

– [Announcer] So last year we showed you how to roast a turkey whole This year, we're taking a little bit of a different approach and showing you how to roast a turkey in its parts

It's gonna give you a better result, it's gonna be way faster Trust me, breaking down your turkey ahead of time is the ultimate Thanksgiving hack (jazzy music) Even though we're gonna be breaking it down into its pieces, we still wanna be cognizant of how big our bird is So typically they say about a pound per person The FDA no longer recommends washing your bird, 'cause it can spread and contaminate the rest of your kitchen

So we're just gonna take it out of the packaging, pat it down with paper towels, and get moving Your first time breaking down a bird, a lot of this is just making these exploratory cuts so you can see what you're doing So just be slow, take your time, shouldn't be a ton of cutting through bone We're gonna take out the neck and the innards We're also gonna super quickly cut off the wing tips

Those would just char roasting with the rest of the stuff, so we're gonna use those for our stock And we're gonna turn our bird over First thing you wanna do is release the oysters And the oysters are this really great chunk of meat on the back of the bird and they are attached to the thighs Here are wings, those are our oysters, and our legs and thighs

So we're gonna do a cut down the backbone, just to release the skin, and make a little cross You can kinda feel them right here and just cut above them You're just gonna use the tip of your knife and kinda scrape around and release that oyster It's kinda like a half-circle if you will And if you leave some meat on the bone, that's totally fine, you just wanna get as much as you can

And once you get it released to this point, you're gonna turn the turkey over Now we're going to release the legs Here are our wings up here and our breast First off, you're just gonna release the skin with your knife Just one smooth motion, and that's just so that we can see what we're doing now

So, you're gonna use your fingers being careful, always, to keep your fingers away from your knife We're going to first start by releasing some of the meat from the bottom of the carcass right where my hand is At this point, we're just gonna pop out the joint So it's kinda crazy, you kinda like put your hand underneath the thigh, with your other hand move the rest of the carcass off to one side Use your fingers to pop the joint out

You'll feel some pressure and then all of a sudden it'll pop Once we release the thighs and the legs, we're just gonna leave them here They're just acting as a stabilizer and we're gonna move up to the breast and remove that So with the breastbone, we're just gonna cut down the middle, again a little exploratory cut, and then you can use your fingertips to feel where the edge of the breastbone is and just do nice, long, smooth cuts I like to kind of release the smaller, thinner part of the breast and kind of fold it up as I go and fold it to the side so I can really see where I'm going, and scrape down the breast bone as best I can to release all the meat

Just work slow and steady Your main goal is to get as much meat off as you can You can see there's some tendons up here near the shoulder, and we're just looking for that shoulder joint I'm going to use the tip of my knife and scrape off any meat so that I can see a little bit better, cut through any tendons, and then the nice thing about the shoulder joint is it's quite large Once you get to that point, you can kinda see right where it is and use the tip of your knife to expose it

If you're hitting the right place, it shouldn't be hard on your knife Now we have our breast and our wing removed, we're gonna put that off to the side so we can get the next breast off So do the same thing We're just gonna go on the other side of the breastbone and release the rest of the breast as we go (jazzy music) And voila

So we started removing the legs and the thighs, but now we're gonna finish that process I'm just gonna kinda pull the carcass away from the thigh and just start releasing the tendons, and the skin, and the meat away from the carcass The one thing that we wanna be aware of here is we wanna take that oyster with us Here's the thigh, here's the leg, and then the oyster's in that top right Same deal with the other one

So kinda pull the carcass away, release the meat and skin where you can taking that oyster with you, and we're off So I'm gonna use the carcass now I'm gonna take the tips with me as well and the turkey neck And we're gonna roast those off with some vegetables and make a really good stock Do not throw this stuff away

Please make the stock, it's gonna make your gravy taste insane I'm just gonna clean down a little bit and get a fresh board, clean off my knife, get some fresh gloves Always working with a clean environment and always being really organized So we got these big regions off the bird, but now we're gonna break these off into their grocery pieces, if you will So we have the thigh and then the leg, we wanna separate those two

So the easiest way is to turn them over, 'cause we don't have that skin inhibiting where we can see You have this fat line in between and it's kind of this weird, natural line that's telling you where to cut, which is great So we're gonna cut right along that fat line to expose the skin Again, we're always looking for the joint You can find the joint and you can use the little tip of your knife to kinda separate it a little bit, and then just cut right through it

Again, if this is really hard, then you're probably in the wrong place So, just kind of move your knife around a few times until you get a really nice, smooth cut Alright so here is our breast and our wing The nice thing about this, too, is that now you know where all the bones are so it's gonna make it much easier when you're carving later If you've ever carved a whole bird and you're just guessing your way through it, this is gonna make it so much easier later on when you're portioning out the different pieces

Because of the way that we cut off the breast, it's basically boneless So all we really need to do is cut off the shoulder bit So don't overthink this, you can cut a good amount of the breast meat off and have it go with the wing, because it's like a little bit of an extra treat for whoever gets the wing part As well as it just makes your life easier One thing that we wanna be aware of, too, is that all the pieces are relatively close in size

We'll follow that up with the other breast and other thigh (jazzy music) And then we are good to go So we're gonna clean down real quickly Again I just wanna make sure that I'm being as clean as possible Really hot, soapy water

Get all the bits, really do a good job, and then follow up with a spray sanitizer or antibacterial spray So into our brine, so a brine really just consists of salt and sugar I'm not a big believer in a wet brine, dry brine for life Salt and sugar are desiccants, and they are going to draw out moisture but once they draw out that moisture, it then re-seeps back into the meat so you get a really flavorful, really juicy meat when it's all said and done So I'm gonna start with salt, brown sugar so it's gonna give us a little bit of a molassey flavor

Molasses-y? I was corrected, molasses-y flavor – Molasses flavor – Fine Gives us a little molasses flavor And then I'm gonna use some cracked black pepper, look at this, this is freshly cracked

Nice big chunks, not any of that like weird, powder stuff that comes pre-done So much more aromatic and flavorful And then I'm gonna use a little bit of garlic granules So this is kind of in between a powder and the dried, like, chips that you can get The nice thing about the garlic granules is that they have a ton of flavor, but they incorporate really, really well

So stir those all together Something about a spice mix, isn't it pretty? Put that off to the side and we're gonna bring back our turkey The cool thing about breaking the turkey down in its pieces is that we're really able to season all sides of the meat, which is another great reason to be breaking your meat down ahead of time So some birds will have a few feathers left in, don't freak out, just pull them out If you have tweezers that can be helpful, but they should be pretty big, so

And if you don't get all of them, it's fine, they'll kind of burn off when roasting But if there's any huge ones, you wanna get those out And then we're gonna season all sides of the bird Just make sure I'm kinda patting it down, getting all sides, and all the skin really well coated in the brine We're doing this a day ahead

So we are going to actually leave these in the fridge, uncovered, overnight That's going to really draw the moisture out of the skin so we're gonna have super, super crispy, great skin when it's all said and done (jazzy music) For making the stock, because we wanna do the gravy, we wanna mimic those great, roasty, toasty, dripping bits that you would get from roasting your turkey So I'm gonna throw the turkey carcass, the wing tips, and the neck on a baking sheet I'm gonna put on celery, onions, I'm gonna quarter those, leave the skin on, and then also some carrots as well

Lightly season everything Because all these flavors will be concentrated, I don't wanna over salt this And a little bit of oil, again, for lubrication Throw that in a super hot oven for about 30 minutes or so just to get a little bit of that Maillard reaction from all the meat, as well as caramelize the sugar in the vegetables And then I'm gonna take everything that was on this tray and put it into a big pot, cover it with water

So I'm gonna pour off all the extra fat and then I'm gonna put some water on this hot baking tray and scrape all of those brown bits Look at all of the flavor that's on here, that's all that onion sugar and the drippings from the carcass You're basically like de-glazing the baking tray (jazzy music) So I have the fat in one and the liquids in the other These drippings will be saved for the gravy

(jazzy music) So with the carcass, I'm gonna cover this up with water all the way and then simmer this guy for about two and a half, three hours or so, and that's gonna give you the most delicious stock you've ever tasted It's gonna be amazing (jazzy music) So when you're making a gravy, the first step is making a roux And a roux is equal parts flour and fat So we're gonna use our fat drippings from roasting the carcass and then we're gonna add equal parts flour

And we're gonna just toast this off for a little bit So we wanna cook the flour a little bit before we add too much liquid And that's to do two things, one it's gonna help beat out any lumps, and two it's going to help cook out the flour flavor And we're going to gradually add liquid to this, because if you add too much liquid at once it's going to be really, really hard to beat out those lumps Just the best way to ensure that you're gonna have really smooth gravy in the end

So I'm gonna take my time here, adding a little bit of liquid as we go You do have to babysit it quite a bit And again we're gonna use all of the drippings from when we were de-glazing the pan earlier So I'm gonna use a strainer just to be extra safe 'cause there were, you know, some of the onion and other skin and stuff remaining on the pan from the drippings Add the rest of that in

All of the fat and all of the drippings are incorporated, but it's still pretty thick Flour, it will start to thicken once it gets to a boil That's why you wanna keep the heat pretty high, because if you're on too low of a heat all this time you'll be afraid to add too much liquid, 'cause it won't thicken up Now we're gonna use the stock that we made to finish off this gravy and thin it out a little bit You could also use water, it's just gonna really not be a ton of flavor

Could use store bought if you've decided not to make the stock but, trust me, the stock that we made earlier is going to make a big, big difference So once you get to a good place and you feel like it's a good thinness, while we used a little bit of salt just to kind of enhance the flavor of the meat and the vegetables before, we haven't seasoned it at all So you wanna make sure that you taste it, and you're gonna have to add a significant amount of seasoning right now because, again, we haven't really added much seasoning up unto this point And again, just keep tasting and seasoning until it's just right Alright, so I'm happy with this

We're gonna put it off to the side to cool and then that's done So all you need to do on the day of is just reheat that in a pan and it's done We're gonna preheat our oven to 425 Just go ahead and put a little bit of oil on it and that will help with even browning And we're gonna leave it in there for about 30 minutes and that's gonna get us instant heat, instant color, and really dry out that skin right away

And then once its been in for about 30 minutes, we're gonna lower it down to 400, switch the positions of the pans and rotate them as well, just so that if you have any hot spots in your oven this will just help with that And then continue roasting until the instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 160 So this is about, like, 30 minutes And for the thighs we wanna take it out around 170 So if any pieces are already done and others need a little bit more time, you can just pull those out ahead of time, so they don't overcook

Once our turkey's done, take it out of the oven, cover it with foil, let it sit for about five to 10 minutes Because these are smaller pieces, they don't nee to rest as long as a whole bird 'cause they'll cool down a lot faster, and then we'll carve them So now that our meat has cooled a little bit, it's a little bit easier to handle, we're gonna carve it for the table The thigh, again, it's easier to see on the other side You can see where that bone is

And we're just gonna cut off the meat in large chunks Again, just cutting off the bone as best you can Cut off the top, like all that meat around the bone It's the less pretty stuff, but it's still delicious so we're gonna put that on the bottom of the platter And the way that I'm cutting this is I'm making sure that every bite has a little bit of skin

Next up we're gonna separate the wing And the easiest way to do this is just put it on its side, cut down the middle, and then you can even just like kinda like tear it apart You can see you expose that joint, cut through it, and good to go And then all of that meat that we put on there, all that white meat from the breast, is on there as well so that's a good piece The leg, it's perfect as is so just put it on the platter

And then another thigh, same deal Look how juicy it is, it's amazing (jazzy music) And then for the breast, again, I'm gonna cut down the skin on a diagonal I'm making sure that everyone's getting a little bit of skin Because you have done all these pieces, you can take your time making all these cuts really nice and making your platter really great because you haven't had to completely carve out an entire bird so it should be a lot easier

And you have a little bit more time for that presentation So I like to put the dark meat on the side Again all of those smaller cuts that were a little bit uglier go on the bottom And then you just lay those nice breast pieces on top, the really impressive cuts And then I like to just spruce it up with a little bit of green

This is now it would come to the table normally People don't even know that you didn't cook it on the carcass If you wanna tell people that you did, that's fine, but I think we should evangelize this method We made gravy from it, we made stock from the whole thing, you learned how to break down a bird as well It's so much cheaper to be buying whole chickens, whole turkeys, whole ducks, you name it

And now that you know how to break it down, it's the same method for all birds I just can't understand why you wouldn't do it this way, honestly, going forward This is the only way I'm doing my turkey from now on Sometimes traditions just need to be upgraded, you know, and like updated Enjoy! Have a great holiday season, guys

– [Steven] Oh yes! (jazzy music)

Source: Youtube

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