Some say that if a turkey's sense of smell were as acute as their sight or hearing, we would never be able to catch them in the wild. One reason why I hunt turkeys is the fact that they are one of the most illusive game birds -- the ultimate test for a seasoned hunter. They teach you many things--that the hunt itself is the great thing, not the amount of game you take home.
Sometimes you will get lucky, the mysterious rhythms of the wild will work in your favor and you will bring home a turkey for dinner. And nothing will ever have tasted as good as this turkey.
These are my tips on how to prepare a fresh turkey as well as how to cook and carve a turkey so that it stays moist, no matter where it came from.
Regardless of whether you bring your own bird to the table or buy one, I see often that turkey is something that many people make on Thanksgiving but really don't love to eat. They love the sides, the gravy, the dressing, the pies, the potatoes, the wine... but the turkey? It better have a lot of gravy on it.
There are two things you can do to make a fantastically moist turkey that elevate its status on the Thanksgiving table.
The first, which you've heard before I'm sure, is a brine. A great turkey starts with a great brine. Brining your turkey helps produce a moist, flavorful bird with minimal effort. The brine works to infuse the meat with flavor, and helps the bird retain moisture. Brining at its most basic is simply submerging the turkey in a large pan filled with a salt-water solution for several hours, in the refrigerator. You can brine for a few hours or overnight. The basic brine ratio: 1 gallon water to 1 cup table salt
This Turkey Brine is where to start with your bird. And you can get fancy with the recipe and add other flavorings that you love... orange peel, lemon peel, star anise, and other good things.
The secondthing that affects how moist your turkey is, is actually how you carve the turkey. Here is the order in which I carve:
Before too long, you'll have some very moist turkey at your table. And people will look at the turkey in a whole new way.