Turkey Tips
November 2009

Chef Kyle Bailey of Birch and BarleyChef Kyle Bailey of Birch and Barley
Washington, D.C
Adapted by StarChefs.com

  • For the holidays I like to remove the legs and wings from the turkey the night before and cure it in salt, parsely, onions, celery, pepper and garlic. 
  • On Thanksgiving I wipe off the cure and cook the legs and wings slowly in duck fat. 
  • The body is prepared and cooked on Thanksgiving day.
  • The body is seasoned and rubbed with butter and stuffed and wrapped in caul fat.
  • It is then roasted in a traditional way.  The caul fat locks in all the juices. 
  • The most important step is to allow the breast meat to rest for 20 to 30 minutes before slicing.
  • Even though everyone wants to slice the turkey right away, allowing the meat to rest will result in a much moister turkey.

Chef Norman Owens of Café La Haye Chef Norman Owens of Café La Haye
Napa, CA
Adapted by StarChefs.com

  • I always visit my Aunt in Annapolis at Thanksgiving, along with about 100 other people every year.  We have many preparations such as turkey leg confit (my favorite).  
  • The big birds are always brined for two days.
  • To cook them we always rub lots of butter under the skin, sometimes with garlic, sometimes with lemon, but always with some combination of butter, salt, and pepper.
  • The birds are filled with stuffing, placed on a rack in a roasting pan over mirepoix, thyme, peppercorns, and a bay leaf.
  • We start the oven at 425°F and roast the turkey for 25 to 30 minutes, then we lower the heat to 350 degrees, cooking and constantly basting (basting is key), until a thermometer reads 155-160°F in the middle of the stuffing.
  • We save the drippings and vegetables for a jus or gravy. Another key after removing the turkey is to tent it with foil and let rest for at least 1 hour. 
  • And when you’re ready to eat, gather everyone and enjoy with lots of good wine!

Chef James Walt of AraxiChef James Walt of Araxi
Whistler, B.C.
Adapted by StarChefs.com

  • I recommend cooking the legs and breast of the turkey separately.
  • Leave the breast on the bone and roast the turkey as usual.
  • Debone the legs and stuff the meat with stuffing and herbs.
  • Roll up tightly with plastic wrap and secure each side with a knot.
  • Wrap in tin foil.
  • Roast the legs, along with the breast in the oven at 375°F for approximately 1 ½ hours. Once cooked, remove the legs from the foil and cling film and brown them in a heated pan with butter to crisp up the skin.
  • Serve with the sliced turkey breast and enjoy!