Your holiday bird: A guide for making the perfect turkey

Your holiday bird: A guide for making the perfect turkey

The Denver Post
By Tucker Shaw

Jon roasts 200 turkeys a year. That’s about 199 more than the rest of us.

So when Emanuel — the executive chef at Project Angel Heart, a nonprofit organization that delivers meals to homebound folks across the Front Range — lays out his system for a moist, picture-perfect Norman Rockwell-style Thanksgiving roast turkey, it pays to pay attention.

“I use what I call the BATTT method,” Emanuel says. “Brine. Air dry. Truss. Turn. Temperature.” He swears that this progression, from seasoning to serving, results in an impeccable turkey every time.

Emanuel isn’t the only one with a set of foolproof turkey-roasting rules. Noah Stephens of Vert Kitchen in Denver (who cooks about 500 birds a year for his restaurant’s famous turkey sandwiches) and Mark Monette of Boulder’s Flagstaff House (who ships hundreds of complete Thanksgiving dinners for his national dinner-by-mail program) also lay claim to the secrets of a flawless bird.

A survey of each expert’s playbook reveals some similarities and some differences. But each was emphatic, confident and clear about his own unique method.

One rule all three experts agree on: Start with a natural turkey, preferably organic and never one that’s been pumped with saline. Check the label if you’re uncertain. (Best bet: Call a local independent butcher and order ahead of time instead of shopping the grocery store bins. You’ll pay a little more, but your turkey will be much, much better. And, being the star of the Thanksgiving show, it’s worth it.)

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