This is the eagerly anticipated, sometimes delivered on time, annual Turkey Cookin’ Vic Farms Newsletter! A couple of caveats for those of you new to our family: I don’t follow instructions well, so I don’t do recipes. I’m going to tell you how I do things but absolutely encourage you to make it your own. Here is the only rule I need you to follow.
Get a GOOD meat thermometer. Ok, in all fairness, this newsletter is getting to you very late and the best you can probably hope for if you don’t already have a good thermometer is a cheapo one from the local mega-mart. How do you know if your thermometer is any good (or if it’s off, by how much?)? Stick it in a pot of boiling water. Sorry, let me be clear…stick the business end in a pot of boiling water. If it’s working it should read 212F pretty quick. If not, at least you now know how far off it reads.
So you’ve dry brined your turkey, rinsed it and let it come to room temperature. Now what??? It’s time to stuff the sucker!
I don’t stuff my turkey with a bread stuffing, and it’s not because I’m worried about getting sick. As long as your stuffing reaches 160 degrees you won’t be running to the ER- at least not because of your stuffing. The reason I don’t stuff my turkey is because I don’t want a giant sponge in the center of the very thing that I am trying to keep moist! That is essentially what you are doing if you stuff your bird with a bread based stuffing. Now, I know that Grandma stuffed the bird because she wanted all those juices to flavor the stuffing. I do too, and that’s why we all made stock a few days ago…right???
Stuff the cavity of your bird with aromatics. This is a great use of all the scraps that you have used for the rest of your dinner. Onion tops, celery leaves and ends, carrot chunks and apple peels all make great stuffing because they get tossed later anyway. Feel free to use some citrus peels and any herbs that you like as well. Don’t forget to salt and pepper the cavity first.
The next step is to prepare the skin. The trick to getting crispy skin is to brown it evenly while rendering out the fat and not drying out the meat. What could possibly go wrong? One of the challenges is that the skin will get the perfect color long before the meat is cooked. So we need to slow or stop that process. Here is how I attack it.