Some years back, I would watch FoodNetwork every holiday season to get ideas for our family’s table. I saw Ted Allen make a De-constructed Turkey and wow, the bells and whistles went off in my head. I’ve struggled with whole birds for many, many years. Dry white meat, under cooked dark meat, crummey gravy… Do I really need to go on? You know! This is how I make a whole turkey.
Deconstructed Turkey and Gravy
• 10-12 lbs. Whole, fresh, natural Turkey (read the labeling, make sure it does NOT say enhanced with sodium soultion)
Butcher the bird yourself (or purchase it in parts), leaving breast whole and reserve the carcass for homemade stock, much better!
Brine: (I do this part the day before I’m going to serve the turkey)
• ½ C Kosher Salt
• 1/3 C Brown Sugar
• 1 Onion, sliced
• 1 Carrot, sliced
• Peel (no white pith) from 2 Oranges
• Whole head of garlic, cut in half horizontally
• 1 tsp each, dried Thyme, Rosemary, Rubbed Sage
• 3-4 large Bay leaves
In my 12qt. stock pot, I add the salt and sugar, dissolve in 2 cups of hot tap water; add remaining ingredients, along with 3 quarts of Ice Water, stir well. Add the turkey parts (make sure that the water covers all parts of the bird), cover and refrigerate for 8 hours. Pour off all of the brine, leaving turkey parts in stock pot. Cover and put back into the `fridge until ready to roast.
Pat turkey parts dry with paper towels, arrange on the half sheet pan, fitted with a cooling rack. Try to give as much space between pieces. Schmear with soft butter; sprinkle with S&P. Pour about 1 cup of turkey broth or stock in the bottom of the pan.
Roast at 425⁰ for 30 minutes, until just starting to brown; lower the temp to 400⁰ and cook for another 30-45 minutes, until the breast reaches 165⁰ and the thighs are 175⁰.
Tent with tin foil until ready to serve.
Make the gravy by pouring all of the juices left on the bottom of the pan into a cup.
In a saucepan melt 4 tbsp of butter; add 4 tbsp of flour whisking for a few minutes. Slowly stream in 2 cups of the broth/juices and bring to a boil to thicken. For richer gravy, use some dry white wine and milk with the broth/juices.