Monday, December 1, 2008
I'm a convert. We were a large enough group (19) to need two turkeys, and since it was my first turkey cooking experience, I asked Nancy and John to make a second one. They live close enough that it would only take a few minutes to zip over to our house once it was done, and I knew they'd do a great job on it.
I didn't order in time to get a heritage turkey, so I opted for a Mary's (localish) organic free-range turkey instead. I used the America's Test Kitchen recipe that involves turning the turkey four times to distribute the juices and brown the bird. It went well, even the turning part, which had me manhandling the turkey with paper-towel wrapped hands.
It was moist and delicious, but in terms of flavor my Broad-breasted White just couldn't compete with the Bourbon Red Nancy and John cooked. What's the difference? Well, to start with, it looks totally different:
And the meat tasted really good. Though I try to cultivate an appreciation for dark meat, I prefer the white meat, and on this bird, the flavor of the white meat was glorious. But, there's a lot less of it, which meant a quarter of the table didn't get to try the white meat. Which is fine if you have an even distribution of turkey-meat preference. But we trended light, which was fine since we had the second turkey.
In the end, the trade-off was worth it. Next time I'll plan ahead more, spend the extra money, and get a heritage turkey.