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Roughly, my procedure for roast turkey is:

  • start with a frozen turkey
  • a couple of days of partial thawing in the fridge
  • soak in brine for 12-24 hours to complete thawing and get it more-or-less brined
  • cook for 1 to 1.5 hours at 450
  • cook for 4 hours or so at 275

The resulting turkey is always good, but sometimes it results in a very "loose" bird with the meat falling nicely off the bones. The meat-falling-off-the-bones bird doesn't look as nice for presentation, but I don't care about that. I find it way easier to process.

So I'd like to achieve that meat-falling-off-the-bones state every time, but I don't. I feel like my process is close enough to being the same every time, but I never know if I'm going to get the desired results.

Yesterday's bird was not as desired, and I noted that it had been brined for only about 12 hours. This made me wonder if longer brining helps achieve what I'm wanting. Other times I've just thought it needed to cook for longer, but doing so didn't seem to help.

1

I would assume that cooking at low heat for a long time would help get the right texture, kind of like how cooking a pork shoulder for 8 hours low and slow turns it into pulled pork. You might also want to add some liquid for your turkey to braise with - If it doesn't have enough moisture, the meat will tighten up, dry, and contract. If you braise it, it will absorb some cooking liquids. Not sure if braising a turkey is a great idea, though.

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For a large bird. Fall of the bone. Try this. Get largest bird you can. Thaw. Wash out insides. Spice inside bird. Place on rack in roaster pan. Breast side down. Have rack 1 inch above the bottom of roaster pan. May need to add blocks or such to get that high of bottom. Add 1/4 inch water. Place lid on roasting pan. Cut 1 long strip of 12 inch tin foil in 1/2 long ways. Wrap around roaster pan at lid. Press tight around lid. like a seal. Repeat with other piece. Double seal. Bake at 350f for 1/2 hour a LB. This will steam & slightly pressure cook bird. Remove from oven Have big forks ready. Open lid. remove bird to flat pan small lip around it with rack. Breast side up. Put in oven at 450f. to brown. Pour of liquid in roaster for gravy or stock. For American bird pen raised you should have 3/4 inch of broth in pan. Ground raised bird 1/2 inch. Bird should be moist inside fall of the bone tender. Buy cheapest & largest bird you can find for this. Not a self baster!Young birds will be fall of the bone. Older yard birds middle age will be tender & moist. Older birds will need steamed in pot a extra 30 minutes. You do loose some flavor from the bird this way. But gain broth. I use this method on ground raised peacock. But have done turkey this way American birds.

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