It's tough to have a great Thanksgiving dinner without a great turkey, and with so many different options for preparation, who can decide?
We gathered some insight from Valley chefs on how they like to prepare their turkeys.
Brian Peterson - Executive Chef, Earnest This year, we're making Thanksgiving to-go. We break the turkeys down and brine the breast and legs. Once they have been in the brine for 36 hours, we'll roast them separately, since the breast cooks faster than the legs. We roast the turkey bodies and fortify a chicken stock to make our gravy. Nothing goes to waste.
Christopher Collins - Chef/Owner, Grassroots Kitchen & Tap A brine is absolutely necessary. While roasting, I put additional apple cider in a squirt bottle and constantly spray the turkey throughout the roasting process. This keeps the bird moist and also allows the natural sugars to caramelize on the skin and create a perfectly golden brown and crispy turkey.
Julie Moreno - Owner, Jewel's Bakery and Café Nothing like an old fashioned roasted turkey that melts in your mouth. I love to brine my turkey the day before. It adds so much moisture to the meat and actually tenderizes the meat. For the brine, I use 1 1/2 cups kosher salt, 1 cup sugar, and 1/3 cup pickling spice to 2 gallons of water. I place the turkey in a cooler or bucket that can fit in my fridge. I wash the turkey and place it in the bucket and cover it with the brine. The next day I rinse it off and stuff it with fresh herbs, citrus, and lots of love. I love to slow roast it covered for the majority of time. The last half hour I take off the cover and let it brown. My mouth is watering right now.
Joey Maggiore - Chef/Owner, Cuttlefish I smoke my turkey for 10 hours after a salt brine and my own west coast dry rub.
Chris Hove - Owner, Perfect Pear Bistro Brine the turkey with a mixture of salt, sugar, water and baking soda. Fill the cavity with onion, garlic, celery, and carrots, and use a pound of butter that I put between the skin and the meat.
Cullen Campbell - Chef, Crudo My favorite prep is brining the bird and then slow roasting it, but I always like to try something new. This year, I'm going to flatten the turkey and roast it under bricks.
Brian Konefal - Chef/Owner, Coppa Cafe It's sort of a pain. I did it only one time for my family this way, and every year they ask for it again. I tell them it must be a traditional roast or it's not Thanksgiving! For the breast, leave skin on and sous-vide with butter, black pepper and fresh thyme. When it's cooked, dry the skin and slowly render the skin down until crispy. With the legs, salt cure them overnight with herbs and winter spices. Then wash off the excess salt and submerge them in olive oil. Cook them in a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven until the bone easily comes from the meat. Remove them and sear the same way as the breast. It can be done at the same time. For the giblets, flambé them in hot pan with cognac, shallot, and cracked black pepper. Add a touch of cream and cook them very quickly. Chop them up finely and serve over the sliced breast meat.
Kody Harris - Executive Chef, Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill Deep fried. Mmmmmmmmm.
Jared Porter - Chef/Owner, The Clever Koi I like to take the turkey and break it down completely, deboned thigh & leg, butterflied breast. Then I season it all with typical turkey spices then roll them into roulades, wrapped in foil and baked. I use the bones for stock/gravy. It takes less time and it's easier to carve.
Gio Osso - Executive Chef/Owner, Virtu I love to stuff the cavity with citrus, fresh herbs, garlic, onion, and what seems to be 55 tons of butter under the skin. A nice coating of extra virgin olive oil on the outside with a generous sprinkling of sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, it's off to the oven for a few hours before that golden-brown crispy skin on a fresh local turkey comes to the table.
Patrick Karvis - Executive Chef, TapHouse Kitchen I like to put my turkey in a good brine over night to give it that extra kick. Then it's slow roasted with lots of butter, roasted garlic puree and herbs, thyme, oregano, sage, and tarragon basted all over it. I like a really good crispy skin and juicy inside. One of these Thanksgivings, if I have an extra grand laying around, I would place thinly sliced truffles underneath the skin and then shave some on top after it's done and make a truffle gravy as well. Now that would be amazing.
Miles Newcomer - Executive Sushi Chef, Sushi Roku I have jumped on to the deep fried bandwagon, but the only difference is this year I am going to fry mine completely in duck fat. I'm hoping it will be amazing. I mean, how can you go wrong with duck fat? But the key to any good turkey, no matter how you cook it, is the brine. Find the right ratio of salt to sugar and a few fresh herbs and spices, it makes all the difference in the world.
Chef T - Chef, Sage Kitchen Growing up in the South, there's nothing better than a mesquite smoked turkey with apple stuffing. For my friends who prefer a plant-based holiday meal, I've created a lentil pecan roast with lots of fresh veggies, herbs and the perfect poultry seasoning blend this year. I think I'll be making, and eating, both this year.
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Deborah Schneider - Executive Chef, SOL Mexican Cocina Our family does not love turkey, so these days we prefer to make all the desserts (apple crisp, pecan pie and pumpkin) and have pizza instead. But if someone invites us over, we'll eat turkey.
Joey Bruneau - Executive Chef, Nabers I put the turkey in the oven basted with Cajun-seasoned butter and stuffed with Cajun cornbread & Andouille sausage stuffing. It's served with jalapeno gravy.