The secret to perfect serving a Thanksgiving turkey: chicken cuts

Inventor Charles Duhigg and Fast Company food reporter Donna Faulkner detail their quest to figure out the best way to cook the same Thanksgiving turkey that many families have eaten on the holiday for…

The secret to perfect serving a Thanksgiving turkey: chicken cuts

Inventor Charles Duhigg and Fast Company food reporter Donna Faulkner detail their quest to figure out the best way to cook the same Thanksgiving turkey that many families have eaten on the holiday for generations.

The method (plastic and an aluminum foil collar) seems to add texture, and also to create some giblet and gizzard air pockets, which keep turkey moist after it’s cooked and airy before it’s been cut, but they don’t create any of the slippery bounce or dryness that most people love about a good Thanksgiving turkey.

Other experimentation results in chewy, overdone brined and dry breastmeat.

It’s a recipe for trying to re-create a recipe that cooks constantly over a long, hot enough-enough-long-enough-ish period to evaporate the fat but keep the moist center intact, and to prevent unruly chunks of meat or juices from escaping.

It’s a recipe for not getting lazy. And for never, ever believing in the old sage advice to keep your Black Beauty from getting fat on Thanksgiving.

The best-laid plans of mice and turkey …

Cheaper by the ton

Prepare Thanksgiving dinner ahead of time.

Here’s the deal: Assemble all the fixings for a full Thanksgiving dinner the day before, and give your friend or relative the bird and side dishes the next day, and then pot roast it. Ask if you can reheat the bird when you pick it up.

Duhigg writes that this technique saves energy and money, which means more money for the next round of vegetables. Plus, it guarantees that you’ll have enough time to help your friend or relative remove her valuables.

If your plan is to make dinner entirely on Wednesday, here’s some advice from Amy Nutt, owner of Baltimore’s Allison Miller Kitchen.

The recipe

— Paula Hancocks for Jacob’s Creek Farms

3 tablespoons butter

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3/4 teaspoon pepper

6 cups turkey meat, cut into 2-inch pieces

4 cups all-purpose flour, divided

1/2 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Vegetable oil spray

Directions

Heat an oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 10-by-2-by-2-inch, 22-by-10-by-1-inch pan.

In a medium bowl, mix butter and flour. Mix in the dry mustard, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Add turkey and toss to coat evenly. Divide mixture among the prepared pan.

In a bowl, stir together 2 cups flour, milk, baking powder, and baking soda. Sprinkle over the turkey mixture and stir to coat. In another bowl, spray the pan with cooking spray. Spread a layer of the remaining 2 cups flour on top of the flour. Pour the flour mixture evenly over the turkey.

Cover the turkey and bake in the preheated oven until the turkey is golden brown and tender, about 50 minutes. Remove the turkey and slice.

— Donna Faulkner for Fast Company

What’s your Thanksgiving turkey story?

@FaulknerDON

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