T-Minus 2: Doing Up the Bird, Where's That Thigh, Anyway?
A reader named "Katie" e-mailed me the following note last week:
"I keep reading that you should insert the thermometer into the turkey thigh and make sure it reads X degrees. My question is, WHERE is the turkey thigh?? This whole time I was planning, I was thinking of the LEG!! Can you draw a map to the thigh?? I don't want to miss and have an undercooked turkey!!"
Katie, your wish has come true. I didn't draw a map, but the pic below should do the trick (just click the pic to enlarge). Since a turkey is so much larger than a chicken, that thigh area tends to be in the southerly direction rather than in full-frontal view.
That area with a red ribbon around it? That's the thigh. Stick your instant-read thermometer there to get an accurate read on doneness. That "X" degrees Katie is referring to will be covered in full in tomorrow's blog.
Now that we've had an anatomy lesson, let's talk about style of preparation. How are you planning to cook the turkey this year? With two days left, it's time to shut the cookbooks and make an executive decision.
I tend to be a brine girl. I've been doing my turkey this way for about six years consecutively because I find the end result so darn tasty. With a brine, the turkey takes on intense flavors and actually tastes like something. Plus, all the work is done before cooking; once the turkey is in the oven, there's no basting or fussing to do. Simply check on things every half hour or so.
Get all the details in my How-to brined turkey video. The one caveat about brining: you need a pot large enough to hold the bird in the brine and enough space in that fridge. You also need time: A 10-pound turkey needs at least 24 hours in a brine in order for this method to be worthwhile.
Those who can't be bothered with brine baths may want to take a look at two ways of simply roasting a bird with butter, salt and pepper.
This method is also great for those of you shopping on Wednesday night, breaking out into a cold sweat in the supermarket.
Caveat: If you're buying the turkey on Wednesday, MAKE SURE IT'S NOT FROZEN.
Maybe you just don't have room in the oven for a big bird. Consider taking the action outside onto the grill. A reader tipped me off about an ode to turkey grilling by Philadelphia Inquirer food critic Craig Laban.
Caveat: You need a grill large enough, plus enough time to do grill-set up, preheating and then at least three hours for actual grill time.
Inevitably, I get questions about deep-frying a turkey. I cannot vouch for this method either way, but based on the number of stories I have heard about backyard blazes due to fryer mishaps, well, my question is: Who wants to play with fire on Thanksgiving? Isn't it stressful enough without a kettledrum and gallons of oil? Your thoughts and scary stories, please.
A reader is out of town until tonight and won't be able to shop until Wednesday night. One dinner guest is vegetarian. The kitchen stove top is out of order. Oven works, plus there's a slow cooker. The challenge: What's on the menu for Thursday? I'll post my plan in tomorrow's blog. What would you do?
Chat with me today at noon ET for last-minute T-day tricks and treats.
By kimodo |
November 22, 2005; 9:44 AM ET
Previous: T-Minus 3: Pumpkin Pie Made With What? | Next: T-Minus 1: Ten Things You Always Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask About Cooking a Turkey
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