How to Prep a Turkey

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Regardless of your cooking prowess, Josh Ozersky can prep you on how to prep a turkey. With the simple addition of herbs, butter and mirapoix, you too can pull out an impressive turkey on Turkey Day.

Video Transcript

Hi I'm Josh Ozersky on eHow.com and today it is Thanksgiving roasted turkey day. I am going to show you how to make a great turkey, perfect roast turkey in fact, and I'm not saying you need to do all this but it sort of is a next level sort of an approach, so this here is a turkey and normally if it was just a regular bird I would put salt and pepper on it and stick it in the oven, however, I want to do some next level stuff. So I take some fresh sage here and what I want to do is I want to make an herb butter and I'm not going to tell you that you know, I'm doing a great job of cutting this, I'm not, I am just doing the best I can with the skills I have and that's all you can do too and that is good enough. I have here in this bowl a stick of softened butter. How did I get this? You won't be surprised to learn that I stuck it in a microwave until it melted. Anyway, I take my herbs, I drop it in the bowl and the idea is that you just sort of mash this up together. I mean this is really the time when if you have a food processor, it would come in handy. That would really be good because then you wouldn't need to worry about inefficiently mashing up or inefficiently cutting up all the herbs and you'd have like a beautiful green Kryptonite colored paste. Alright, so, what I'm going to do first is I'm going to go in, I'm going to loosen the skin under the breast. Now you don't want to tear it, you want to loosen it. So you have to be gentle but forceful. Believe me the turkey won't object, you know, there's like a little bit of something or other connecting the meat to the skin but it let go a long time ago. It has very little in the way of inhibitions. So I take the better. Now I guess probably like real cooks would use like a little pastry thing in there, whatever, the problem with the butter is that because it's softened it's sort of smeary but that's alright because you're going to want to smear it on the outside anyway. You know how like when you would make a chicken or a turkey you might typically put a little bit of olive oil on the outside, like to make sure that it gets nice and crispy. So like I actually am going to wipe this all over on here, that's nice. This is a very messy nasty operation but I like it for that reason. Well this has got a good amount of herb butter under the skin now, enough so that as it cooks it will help to get all that nice rich butter flavor and more importantly, all of the richness that the butter brings on the turkey breast and allow it to baste both from the inside and the outside. I now have a turkey. It has got butter on the outside and the inside. Of course there's something else that it needs plenty of on the outside and that is salt. A million magic crystals painted pure and white as the Grand Master Flash once said. I like to have this on the outside of any piece of poultry because it makes it crispy and delicious and then I also want to put a good amount of it in the inside too so I go into that cavity and I salt that around there. Alright so I've got my salt on there and then wow, get some nice pepper on there. So what I like to do is I take some really nice aromatic herbs and they go in there like this, very little that goes into a bird cavity makes it out of the bird cavity, like the thing you heard about the beer can chicken where the beer fumes go up and flavor the muscles, that doesn't happen. The beer fumes don't go through the breastbone of the animal. However, the oven gets filled with those flavors and some of it does actually does perfume and penetrate the bird. Also, frankly it looks super nice when it comes out. So I've got this here. Now I'm going to take my mirepoix, this is carrots, celery and onions, that goes in like that and I'm going to take a little bit of Rachael Ray chicken stock, one of my favorite brands, just so that the stuff doesn't burn too much. You'll see in a moment that I have a weird technique for this. In fact it's the best part of this entire bird, that really requires me to burn the bottom of the pan. Now normally you would just take your turkey and you would put it like this, drop it into the pan, the pan goes into the oven, the light is green, the trap is green. However, I'm going next level with this recipe. So, you remember that just about a minute or so ago I was bad mouthing the beer can chicken, here's the thing, the beer can chicken is a great recipe. Everybody loves the beer can chicken, but it's not because of the beer can and it's not because of the beer. The reason they love the beer can chicken is just that standing things up is the best way to cook any kind of bird whether it's a chicken, a turkey, a quail or a woodcock. Basically it allows the dark meat and the light meat, the front and the back to cook at the same time in the same space at the same rate and, better still, if you set the bird up, I'm going to lift it, 20 pounds of love, basically, this dark meat it's all going to drip down and baste and perfume the white meat. So essentially it acts like a giant shawarma wheel that as the great wad of meat turns, it constantly is dripping back onto itself. You don't want to have it come out looking like this, you know, because I don't know it kind of looks like it's cheering, out comes the butcher's twine. I'm not going to tell you that I have any special art for this, it's all going to get cut off anyway so it doesn't matter how bad it is, how bad the knot, in fact, there's not even going to be a knot if the truth be told. I have a turkey, no beer can required, to get it to stand up. It's got sage, butter under the breasts. It's got sage butter slathered on the top. It's got salt on the inside. It's got fresh sage, fresh rosemary and fresh thyme on the inside. It's been liberally salted and peppered all over the place and it's sitting on top of a bed of mirepoix with a little Rachael Ray chicken stock. I'm going to stick it in a 325 degree oven which is low and slow, gentle that will cook it at a very very gentle way and not dry out that white meat, which it's always ready to do and I'll come back and I'll test if it's done in another video. Alright so that's my turkey. It's ready to go in the oven. I'm Josh Ozersky on eHow.com.

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How to Roast a Turkey....5
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