Any Thanksgiving Dinner Questions?

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Thanksgiving snuck up on me this year. Life has come at us hot and fast for the last month or so. I just realized – it’s the second week of November? Already?

For the blog, in a normal year, I have already cooked a turkey, shot pictures, and have a Thanksgiving recipe ready to go. Not this year. (My turkey is on order for this weekend. I’m trying to get caught up.)

I want to do a Thanksgiving Frequently Asked Questions post. Help me out. What questions does everyone have? Leave them in the comments, on Twitter, or in Facebook. Thanks!



8 Comments

  1. What do you think about cooking a turkey sous vide for Thanksgiving? I’ve seen a couple great videos from Chefsteps. Also Kenji from Serious Eats is a fan. Most recently Meathead from Amazingribs.com joined Grant from Chefsteps in this video. Tempting….

    https://youtu.be/x03Ug4biX-I

    • Sous Vide, and its precision temperatures, is perfect for cooking a turkey. You can cook the legs at a high temperature until they are tender and shreddable, then drop the temp in the Sous Vide and cook the breasts at the exact temp to keep them juicy.
      I’ve wanted to try Sous Vide Turkey since I watched Chef Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas, co-owners of the famous Modernist restaurant Alinea, cook Thanksgiving together in this video [YouTube.com].
      Unfortunately, being the Rotisserie guy means my family expects things from me – one of them is a grilled turkey. (I even bring my Weber kettle in the trunk when I’m visiting for Thanksgiving, just so I can give them their grill-smoked turkey.) I’ve never had a chance to go full-on modernist Thanksgiving.
      When I finally get to go mad food scientist, the first place I’ll turn is friend-of-the-blog Jason Logdson at AmazingFoodMadeEasy.com for his Sous Vide Turkey Breast, and Thanksgiving Sous Vide Turkey recipes.
      There are lots of other good resources, too. As you mentioned in your comment, Kenji Alt has done it at SeriousEats.com, and Grant Crilly of ChefSteps.com teamed up with Meathead Goldwyn of AmazingRibs.com for a Sous Vide/Grilled turkey.

  2. Gary Hafer /

    So what is the best way to “wrap” a turkey for the rotisserie? I used to put an ice packet on the breast to cool it and so the turkey could get done at all the same time. But with a rotisserie, I’m not sure that evenness is possible or obtainable.

    • Answer: An ice pack on the breast is a great idea for the rotisserie! I pull my turkey out of the refrigerator an hour before cooking, and put a gallon zip-top bag full of ice on the breast while it rests and I get the grill ready. (More details here.) Now, if you leave the ice pack on while you’re cooking? That definitely won’t work on a rotisserie. But that’s OK – icing the breast before cooking is enough to even out the cooking between the breast (Which we want cooked to 160°F, no more) and the legs (Which are best at 175°F to 185°F, if not higher).
      As for trussing the turkey, see my Turkey Trussing Video for how I wrap up the bird so it doesn’t flop around on the rotisserie.

  3. Andy Krumm /

    Mike, I’m planning to follow your basic dry brine turkey recipe; grilling with my Weber kettle rotisserie. My question is, what do you do for your gravy? Will the pan drippings from the dry brine bird be too salty? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Thanks, Andy! I have a couple of different thoughts on this one.

      Thought the First: I use the drippings from brined turkey in my gravy all the time. I know this bothers some people – they say the drippings come out too salty – but I don’t notice that at all once it is mixed in with the rest of the gravy. (That said, to be safe, don’t add salt to your gravy until after you’ve added the drippings, and taste as you go when you do add the salt.)

      Thought the Second: I rarely use the drippings from my Weber Kettle in gravy. Why? Ash. I almost always wind up with charcoal ashes in the drip pan in my kettle grill. (Adding the batch of coals after an hour to keep the grill going seems to knock ashes all over the place.) That said, check out the drippings – if they clean, go right ahead and use them. (I use the drippings from my gas grill all the time.)

  4. On a whim, we decided to use our rotisserie to cook a turkey breast for Thanksgiving. We turned to the internet for guidance and lucked in to your recipe and rotisserie directions. It was a piece of cake! It was done in an hour and a half. The dry rub was excellent and the turkey breast came out moist and delicious. I will never mess with a whole turkey in the oven again. Thank you!

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