If you want to test out something a little outside-the-box try applying a classic French confit recipe for your holiday turkey legs. Breaking down the turkey before you start cooking will speed up the cooking times, and ensure that the legs are cooked and white meat stays juicy.
Check out these 12 incredibly delicious turkey recipes from a few of America’s top chefs for a truly remarkable holiday feast.
I'm proud to say that I've never cooked a turkey the traditional way in my entire life. Here’s why: When you break down the whole bird into parts, you can cook each part in the most forgiving and painless way possible. Simply brine and smoke the breast and marinate and braise the legs, and boom — it's done! When it comes time to serve that bird, you’ll be the hero who cooked a juicy, tender Thanksgiving turkey that everyone will talk about for years to come. I’ll be damned if anyone cooks a whole turkey again after trying this process. — Adam Sappington
Here's an Asian-influenced twist on a traditional Thanksgiving turkey centerpiece, courtesy of chef Anita Lo.
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Thanksgiving is hands-down my favorite holiday. Bar Americain is open each year for Thanksgiving, and we typically serve about 600 people before the day is over. No matter how many wonderful selections we offer on the abbreviated holiday menu, without fail turkey is the biggest seller — partly because people love it and partly, I think, out of a sense of tradition. This is the turkey that I serve at Bar Americain, with only the dressing and sides changing from year to year. — Bobby Flay
When the food magazines come out the month before Thanksgiving, all you see on the covers are the huge, golden brown, perfect-looking turkeys. I have trouble believing that they taste as good as they look. Turkeys have a variety of different muscles that require different cooking methods to be served at their peak. As a chef, I prefer to break down my turkey and serve each part at the height of its flavor rather than carry a whole bird to the table. So I’ve broken it down for you here.
The drumsticks are smoked and then roasted for maximum tenderness and flavor. The thighs and wing flats are braised with a white mirepoix until they are so tender and juicy they practically melt in your mouth. Finally, the breasts are injected with a flavorful marinade made with mayonnaise. I love this technique because the mayonnaise doesn’t liquefy and run out of the meat; it stays in there throughout the marinating period and oven time, so you end up with moist, juicy, perfectly seasoned white meat. This is one turkey dinner that is much more than the sum of its parts. — Bryan Voltaggio
I might never have come up with this recipe if my car hadn't broken down on the way to a catering job. My client was looking forward to my cooking turkey at her home. She was psyched about the house filling up with the aroma of it roasting in the oven. Well, it took so long to get the car fixed that by the time I arrived at her house, I wouldn't have been able to cook and serve dinner until very late. And then I remembered how often I had been told that you can think of a turkey as a big chicken, so I cut it into parts: wing, drumstick, thigh, and breast. It cut down the cooking time by two-thirds, and everyone really liked the way we rescued Thanksgiving. — Carla Hall
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If your oven fails this holiday, you can cook your turkey in the diswasher.
When and why did David first try this? In 1982, he was serving as a private chef for a family in Oslo. The group of chefs caught a 10-pound salmon — as per the request from the family to have cold poached salmon on the buffet that Sunday evening. After realizing they did not have a pot large enough to cook it in, David seasoned and wrapped the salmon and then hung it on the top rack of the dishwasher where the glasses typically go. Three cycles later, he was rewarded with a perfectly poached fish and has been experimenting ever since.
J. Kenji Lopez-Alt
As with butterflied chicken, cooking a turkey like this solves pretty much every problem that a whole turkey has, making the actual roasting process completely idiot-proof. As long as you’ve got good kitchen shears, an instant-read thermometer, and a few brain cells to rub together, you should be able to put a perfect turkey on the table any day of the year.
With a quick-cooking chicken, you can go straight on a rack set in a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Do this with a turkey, and the drippings will start to burn before the turkey is done. To solve this problem, and add some flavor in the process, I spread a layer of chopped vegetables in my roasting pan. The vegetables release juices as they cook, preventing the drippings from burning and creating a flavorful base for you to add to your gravy at the end. — J. Kenji Lopez-Alt
Winner of Bravo’s Top Chef All Stars, chef Richard Blais developed this roasted turkey recipe for Dannon using their Oikos plain Greek nonfat yogurt. If you can’t get your hands on Dannon, any Greek yogurt will do. The yogurt-based glaze makes the perfect basting liquid and gives a sweet, tangy flavor to the turkey’s skin.
For a fresh take on Thanksgiving turkey, try a turkey roulade. Lemon and orange zest, mixed in with fresh herbs like rosemary, tarragon, marjoram, sage, and parsley, bring bright flavors to the holiday meal. — Robert Irvine
For Todd English, Thanksgiving is all about having fun with ingredients, like mixing sweet potatoes with half and half cream and lavender, or honey and marshmallow. But his favorite part? Turkey sandwiches the next day. English makes the recipe below for his actual dinner and prepares the breast meat separately: roasting until it's about 150 degrees inside, with super crispy skin. He finishes it off with homemade giblet gravy and herbs for a hefty, savory sandwich. — Yasmin Fahr