Turkey Tips

by Jessica Dukes
November 2010

Chef Shin Thompson Chef Shin Thompson of Bonsoirée—Chicago, IL
Adapted by StarChefs.com

· Patience is key when preparing any good turkey recipe for Thanksgiving. Take your time and follow steps precisely for the best results.

· When marinating whole turkeys I find it best to rub [the bird] with herbs and spices, at least 48 hours before cooking to let the flavors penetrate the meat, because of the large size of the bird.

· I personally love turkey with charmoula, a Moroccan spiced pesto.

· For an even-colored crispy skin, frequent basting of the bird helps not only the appearance of the final product but also [gives it] a deeper flavor.

· Proper resting of the bird (at least 20 minutes) is important before slicing so that the juices are distributed in the meat and not onto the cutting board.

· Save all excess pan drippings of the turkey to make a highly-flavored sauce. Do not let this go to waste!
Chef Jonathan Luce Chef Jonathan Luce of Bellanico—Oakland, CA
Adapted by StarChefs.com

· Brine baby brine (at least a day prior to cooking)!

· Baste baby baste (frequently: Every 15 minutes)!

· Rest baby rest (about 30 minutes before slicing)!

· I recommend not stuffing the bird because it makes the cooking time that much longer, which of course leads to dryness. My wife is a vegetarian who loves stuffing, but not stuffing that has been inside the body cavity of a turkey.

· Cook at 450°F for 20 minutes, then lower heat to 350°F for the remainder of cooking time.
Chef Peter Armellino Chef Peter Armellino of The Plumed Horse—Saratoga, CA
Adapted by StarChefs.com

· I like to add picked duck confit to my stuffing. Otherwise I prefer roast chicken.
Chef Dirk Flanigan Chef Dirk Flanigan of Henri and The Gage—Chicago, IL
Adapted by StarChefs.com

· For a juicy bird I say: Brine! Brine! Brine! I brine my turkey for 2 days. Another turkey tip is to serve elk.