For families and chef's alike, tradition is at the core of every Thanksgiving dinner. Each year, we use this day to create special moments with relatives and friends. And each year, the goal is to produce a beautiful and memorable spread, showcasing a moist and juicy turkey at the center of it all.
This year, we want to share with you the simplest and best way to cook a turkey. It's time to change up tradition and drop your roasting pan at the neighbors. For the best results, all you will need is your Baking Steel and a sheet pan.
Why use the Baking Steel to roast your turkey? The answer is simple. While the Baking Steel is a 1/4" slab of steel, originally designed to make pizza and breads, it also is used to regulate your oven's temperature. This translates into an even cook, in your home oven. The heat from the Baking Steel will penetrate your sheet tray, cooking the bird from the bottom up, while still producing an even and consistent heat. This will result in a uniform cook of the bird, a juicy inside and a crisp skin.
Why won't a roasting pan work? Without your old bulky roasting pan sitting on your oven rack, there will be enough space for the heat to circulate and touch the entire bird. This will allow for the turkey to cook at an even faster rate. With increased room for air circulation, crispy skin is a promise I keep. Start your bird out on high heat. Lock those juices in and continue roasting at a lower temperature, until the bird is ready for resting.
Let's make this year memorable, with the perfect bird.
Our Lovely Turkey
15 lbs Turkey (living on the farm preferably)
2 gal Poultry Brine (see Chef Thomas Kellers recipe)
3 ea apples, quartered
2 ea oranges, sliced
2 ea squashes, sliced in rounds
2 lbs carrots, rough chopped
2 ea vidalia onions, large dice
1 ea red onion, large dice
1 ea leek, large dice
2 ea heads garlic, sliced crosswise
1 bunch celery, washed and diced large
2 ea large parsnips, large dice
1 ea bunch parsley, thyme, rosemary and sage
Salt and Pepper
1 lb. butter, soft (room temp)
1. For the brine, dissolve all of your salt, sugar and spices in 1 gallon of water. Once dissolved, add ice to cool rapidly and cover with enough water to make entire solution about 2 gallons. Pour cool brine over turkey. Put a couple plates on top incase the bird tries to escape. Throw a lid on top and wait until tomorrow.
2. Drain brine off turkey and let air dry. At this point, you can start to prepare all of your vegetables. Pre-Heat your oven to 450 degrees.
3. Make sure all of your vegetables are washed and dried. No need to peel your parsnips of carrots here, just rinse them. Soak your leeks to get the dirt/sand out of them. Remove outer dry skin of onions. Toss all of your fruits, vegetables and herbs in olive oil, salt and pepper and set aside.
4. With a heavy hand, season the bird inside and out with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Then take your pound of softened butter and smear across the top part of the breast of the bird. Set aside.
5. On a normal baking sheet, spread a hefty mix of your veg/fruit/herb wonderfulness around. Place a normal resting rack on top. Use remainder of your veg to stuff in the cavity of the bird (makes it even more delicious.)
6. Place your hefty, well seasoned and stuffed bird on top of the roasting rack and slide on top of your Baking Steel inside your oven. 450 degrees. 30 minutes. You want that golden brown color to start forming. After 30minutes, open oven, rotate and baste. Close it up and turn oven down to 350 degrees.
7. Baste every 30 minutes and rotate. 2 hours in total at 30 minutes should take your legs to an internal temperature of 150 degrees. DON'T FREAK OUT! your bird will continue to cook to upwards of 165 degrees. NO ONE WILL GET SICK! Large meats carry over significantly and you don't want a dry bird after all of this love that you've put into it.
8. Resting time will be about 20-30 minutes. Your bird will still be warm to serve, trust me. Slice your breast, tear away you legs, enjoy your day. Follow us this week to see what else you can do with your turkey.
P.S.-Stay tuned, as this week our Baking Steel blog will be hosting a Turkey takeover. From sandwiches, to duck fat sous-vide turkey legs and pot pies, to our new favorite sweet pie, pecan pizza pie with our famous bar pizza dough!