Published on November 13th, 2013 | by Joe Lawler
How to cook the best turkey in three easy steps
Thanksgiving is awesome, unless you’re the one in the kitchen. Instead of slaving over the stove all day, follow the advice of Orchestrate Hospitality corporate chef and soon-to-be executive chef at Malo, Scott Stroud, 28. He has a way to watch the game and serve a perfect meal.
Day 1: Brine your bird
Thanksgiving is on Thursday; you’re going to start your bird on Tuesday and spend a few minutes each day so that you’re not rushing the day of. Get out a bowl and fill it with six cups of water, a half cup of salt, a half cup of brown sugar, seven bay leaves and a tablespoon of black peppercorns. Bring it to a boil, then pour it over four cups of ice. Once it’s cold, add your turkey to the mix and let it sit in the fridge for 24 hours.
“The brine solution pulls the impurities out of the turkey and puts moisture in,” Stroud said. “It makes a huge difference in the juiciness of the bird.”
Day 2: Marinate your bird
On day two take a bowl and add two cups of orange juice, a quarter cup of fresh oregano, six cloves of garlic, a quarter cup of oil, a tablespoon of Tabasco sauce, a white onion and a tablespoon of ground cumin. Whisk the ingredients all together and then add the turkey to the mix. Let it sit in the fridge for another 24 hours.
“This is going to start adding flavor,” Stroud said. “The OJ also helps tenderize the meat, so you don’t end up with a dried-out stringy thing like grandma used to make.”
Day 3: Cook your bird
On turkey day you’ll set the oven to 275. Put your turkey in and let it cook. Check it every half hour until it gets to 155 degrees internally. (If you’re cooking it with stuffing, let it get to 165 to prevent salmonella in the stuffing). Once it has hit that temperature, pull it out and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
“If you cut into it fresh, all the liquid just falls out,” Stroud said. “When you let it rest, the liquid redistributes. If you hack into it right away it’s not going to come out right.”
Bonus advice: Stroud suggests that you cook a turkey breast, not a whole bird. Sacrilege? Maybe, but he’s the chef.
“The nice thing about doing just a giant turkey breast (6-10 lbs) is that it’s a uniform piece, so the cooking time will be consistent. It’s all white meat.”
Stroud’s recipe will work with just the breast or a whole turkey.