Update to the Great Turkey Test

IMG_0208_optBefore the New Year, I posted the results of my turkey experiments based on J. Kenji López-Alt’s ideas for spatchcocking and baking stone approaches. But for my last experiment, I combined the baking stone with a method I learned from the late Marshall Harrison, owner and chef of a famed Connecticut steak house (and my cousin by marriage).  His method was to put the whole bird on a rack over an inch or two of liquid in a tightly covered pan. The pan should be airtight–or at least have a very tightly fitting lid.  I bought a good tight-fitting large roasting pan years ago from a restaurant supply company. You heat the oven to 500 degrees, steam the bird, then turn down to 450 and let it brown.

For this last test, I took a 14 1/2 pound turkey, dry-brined it with salt and aromatics, then filled it loosely with lemons, garlic, thyme sprigs and onions and set it on a rack over apple cider and water. I put the baking stone in the oven, and heated it to 500 degrees.

I sealed the turkey in its airtight roasting pan, and set the pan on the baking stone. I steamed it for 90 minutes at 500 degrees, removed the lid, and cooked it 20 minutes at 450 degrees. Everyone agreed that this combined method was the most delicious and moist turkey of all, succulent white and dark meat with excellent flavor. Five turkeys, and this one won, hands down.

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