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Cooking a turkey breast anyone?
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I'm going to make a turkey breast later this week. I've never done it before.

Nothing fancy, no smoker, no bbq. Just the oven.


Any advice?
 
Posts: 30716 | Location: On the Hudson | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Bone in?


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Posts: 23396 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Probably, but I'm open to suggestions there too.
 
Posts: 30716 | Location: On the Hudson | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I love the Julia Child deconstructed turkey recipe as revised by America's Test Kitchen. You could modify for just a bone-in breast; I'll do an overview of their recipe without mods...

Basic premise is you cut the turkey into pieces. Remove the backbone. Remove wings and legs/thighs (cut thigh off at body and leave drumstick attached to thigh). Remove the thigh bone, leave the drumstick bone in. Truss the thigh.

Use the wings, backbone, and thigh bone to make a stock for gravy.


You're left with the breast meat still on the bone. Brine the breast.

Make stuffing (they have a great, simple recipe using grocery store white bread). Mound it in a roasting pan and set aside.

Brown the turkey breast in a skillet, then turn it over and stick the skillet and breast in the oven for half an hour and bake at a high temp.

Take the breast out of the skillet, turn it over and set it on top of the stuffing. Place trussed thigh/legs on either side of breast, "reconstructing" the turkey. Roast.

You don't get any drippings, but you do get a ton of stuffing that tastes like it was inside the bird, but you don't have the problem of undercooked stuffing and overcooked bird. You make the stock ahead of time and can make the gravy, so no last minute fuss.

Sometimes I find that the leg/thigh parts need a little more cooking, so I can just lift those out and bake them a bit longer.

I have a copy printed out that I can scan later if you want more details like roasting time/temps and brining details.

Or you can do a trial membership at Cook's Illustrated: https://www.cooksillustrated.c...uffed-turkey-updated and get to it directly.


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Ever since I first learned about confirmation bias I've been seeing it everywhere.

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Posts: 23396 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The method in WTG's recipe is called "French Sear", I think. Sear at high heat and then roast at low temp until done. Another way to do it is "Reverse Sear" where you roast at low temp for a while and then finish at high temp.

This reverse sear recipe is pretty straightforward, particularly if you don't care about gravy..

Rub turkey with butter and season with salt. The recipe doesn't call for it but I also season with commercial poultry seasoning.

Roast at 325 degrees until internal temp hits 130. Remove from oven and increase oven temp to 500. Put the breast back in the oven and roast until the internal temp hits 160.


Probably the ultimate way to do it would be sous vide followed by a sear. Perfect if you like cooking tools, overkill for one turkey breast a year. Cool


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Posts: 27045 | Location: Yorba Linda, CA | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Pinta & the Santa Maria
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The challenge with a turkey breast is that it can become dry. I'd definitely do bone in to help with that, and use a thermometer to avoid overcooking.

We've brined a turkey breast with good results as well, and it may also be worth it to make a paste of butter, garlic and some herbs (like poultry seasoning that doesn't contain salt, or thyme, tarragon, or whatever floats your boat) and separate the skin in a few places and rub it inside. You can also put the turkey on top of some root veggies (esp if you brine) and it will take up some of the veggie moisture as well. Then you also have some tasty veggies, too!
 
Posts: 31994 | Location: West: North and South! | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Nina:
The challenge with a turkey breast is that it can become dry.


My Mom's turkey was testament to this. She was a great cook but Betty Crocker said to roast straight through at 325 until you got an internal temp of 165 because that was the USDA recommendation. By the time the poor bird rested a while the temp was probably something like 180 and you could write on it with a pencil. Dreadful stuff, and it wasn't for gravy no one would eat it at all.

quote:
You can also put the turkey on top of some root veggies (esp if you brine) and it will take up some of the veggie moisture as well. Then you also have some tasty veggies, too!


This seems to be something of an East Coast thing (Paging Martha Stewart!) and something I have never tried. I like the sound of it and have it on my list of techniques to learn.


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Posts: 27045 | Location: Yorba Linda, CA | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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As you might expect, J. Kenji Lopez Alt has an article up that goes way off in to the weeds as far as the science behind all of this.

The recipe is for a spatchcocked whole bird but should work fine for a turkey breast by itself.


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Posts: 27045 | Location: Yorba Linda, CA | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Always found it dry, no matter how much basting, herbs, covered at first.

Now would rather do a roaster.


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Posts: 15308 | Location: north of boston | Registered: 16 May 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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So Jon, how did you cook it?

How did it come out?


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Posts: 27045 | Location: Yorba Linda, CA | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by LL:
Always found it dry, no matter how much basting, herbs, covered at first.

Now would rather do a roaster.


Modern cooking methods make that a thing of the past. It’s all about finished temperature. No matter how much basting, braising, and brining you do, cooking poultry past about 160 makes it dry. Modern cooks pull it at a lower temp than that that and the results are spectacular. Pulling a turkey at 150 is now considered safe if you have held it there at least 5 minutes.


Instant read thermometers and remote reading digital thermometers make it all possible.


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Posts: 27045 | Location: Yorba Linda, CA | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Pinta & the Santa Maria
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Yes. When I was a kid, our thanksgiving meal was always mid-afternoon. I definitely remember my mom (and grandmother, if she was visiting) getting up EARLY in order to prep and get the turkey into the oven by around 7am...and I don't think we ever had a turkey that weighed anywhere near 20 lbs. That turkey was in for something crazy like 6 hours.

When I grew up and started to do my own turkey, same general size (around 18 lbs), I think my normal cooktime was around 3-3.5 hours. No one died, or even complained of stomach cramps.
 
Posts: 31994 | Location: West: North and South! | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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