Turning And Tenting
Todayís discussion is regarding how to achieve a great final color on your bird, as Iím sure you hate to present a turkey that is either too pale, or the skin is charred black. You want that bird to have a nice rich color, and it isnít hard to do. First, when I light up my egg, I do it in a single spot towards the back of the egg. What that means though is that the egg tends to be hotter back there. Two things I do when setting up after lighting the fire, is to put one leg of the plate setter directly over the hottest part of the fire. This helps deflect the heat more. And second, I place the roasting pan in with the turkeyís legs facing that same hotter part of egg (along with the ice bag discussed a couple of days ago, I think this helps get those legs cooking a little faster but I certainly canít state this as fact as I have no hard data to support it). Also, and particularly with a large bird, I like to rotate the entire roasting pan 180 degrees at least once during the cook, again to insure even roasting all around.
As discussed yesterday, I believe in constantly basting the turkey with the butter/wine/juices in the pan (at least 3 times an hour). But because of the butter the skin does start to brown pretty quickly. So in order to keep it from browning too quickly I place a loose piece of aluminum foil over the turkey as soon as it starts to brown on the breast skin. I remove the foil for basting but put it back on as soon as Iím done basting each time. With about 1 hour to go before the bird is done (and how do I know when there is an hour to go you ask? When the drumstick is starting to move more freely on the thigh, when thigh temps are climbing up through 170 and the breast is climbing up through 150), I remove the foil to allow for final browning. If it has achieved the desired color and the bird is still not quite done yet, no problem, just put the foil back on for the remainder of the cook. Iíve found over the years, that using the foil tent, you can pretty easily control the final color of your bird for a great presentation. ..
Tomorrow, we start talking gravy!!!