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Pre-salt, high/med. roast T-Day turkey report (late)

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Pre-salt, high/med. roast T-Day turkey report (late)

Noeldottir | Nov 30, 2005 03:47 PM

Thanksgiving already feels like a year ago but I wanted to report back, so: I pre-salted (3/4 tsp kosher salt per lb), peppered and herbed my 16 lb turkey on Tues. a.m last week, uncovered it for the last night, took it out of the fridge pretty early Friday a.m and let it come to really room temp. I rubbed it with oil, used a rack, started it breast down at 450 and turned it over when I turned the oven down to 350 after 45 minutes. It cooked fast! Unfortunately, I can't find my notes to remind me how fast - but fast! It was gorgeous - beautifully browned, glistening, herbed and lovely. It rested for about 45 min. while we finished other things in the oven and when we ate - general happiness. It was well-seasoned, the flavor was concentrated, it wasn't overly moist but it wasn't dry either, quite different from a brined turkey. And the juices weren't too salty to make fantastic gravy. I'm willing to stick with this method for a while, although I'll have to keep a closer watch on the cooking time (even with an internal probe, it cooked so fast I couldn't believe it was done). By contrast, the next day I had to cook another turkey but had neither the time nor inclination to fuss, so I salted, peppered, and jammed it in a 450 degree oven for the whole time, no turning, no oiling, no nothing (Gourmet Mag. Nov. issue). It cooked really fast (duh), it was pale and flabby underneath, and dry, which was my fault. (I think I had the probe in wrong. Can someone please tell me the right place to stick a meat themometer in a turkey? I get different readings depending on where I put the probe and never know which one to trust.) I was certainly happy enough with the pre-salt method to try it again. I didn't miss the lugging of huge, heavy plastic containers of brine and bird out to the garage and then back in again, the too salty juices, and for me, the too salty meat of a brined bird. Maybe now I'll try the actual Zuni roast chicken and see what the turkey should have/could have been!

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