The 5 W’s of Turkey Cookery

My first thought is, why do we even celebrate Thanksgiving? In principle, giving thanks is a great thing! But this isn’t even our holidays, it seems we have adopted it like so many bad American traditions and habits.

But let’s not get hung up on historical genocide. We are hear to discuss the how to’s of turkey cookery. Let’s start with a little bird history.

 There are two extant turkey species: the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) of eastern and central North America and the ocellated turkey (Meleagris ocellata) of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. Males of both turkey species have a distinctive fleshy wattle, called a snood, that hangs from the top of the beak. They are among the largest birds in their ranges. As with many large ground-feeding birds (order Galliformes), the male is bigger and much more colorful than the female.A male ocellated turkey (Meleagris ocellata) with a blue head

The earliest turkeys evolved in North America over 20 million years ago and they share a recent common ancestor with grouse, pheasants, and other fowl. The wild turkey species is the ancestor of the domestic turkey, which was domesticated approximately 2,000 years ago.

How to Cook a Turkey

Step 1

Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold water and pat it thoroughly dry with paper towels. Season the cavity with 1/2 tablespoon of the salt, then season the outside with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt. Put the turkey on a large plate and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Let the turkey stand at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.

Step 2

Preheat the oven to 425°. Rub the turkey all over with the olive oil, season with salt and the pepper and transfer to a large roasting pan. Roast for about 1 hour, until lightly golden. Reduce the oven temperature to 375° and roast for 2 to 2 1/4 hours longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in an inner thigh registers 165°; cover the breast with foil if it browns too quickly. Transfer the turkey to a carving board and let rest for at least 45 minutes before carving and serving.

Pretty simple no? Tomorrow I will follow up with a thread about side dishes….seems I put the cart before the horse yesterday talking about leftovers…lol. Pretty sure I’ve covered that before, maybe have a look around the blog section from this time last year; http://www.professionalchefsfoodnetwork.org

Cheers, and have a Happy Dead Bird Day, or perhaps you prefer Turkey Genocide Day…ooh the inuendoes!