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Tips for Your Best Holiday Roast Ever

December 15, 2013

Tips for Your Best Holiday Roast Ever

Written by guest blogger and Chef
Signe Langford

  1.  Brine before roasting. Deli Brine or Brine for Birds
  2. Always start with dry skin – pat dry or even break out the hair dryer before seasoning and roasting!
  3. Always moisturize. Slather the now perfectly dry skin (or surface) with your favourite fat – butter, duck fat, bacon fat, olive oil, coconut butter.
  4. The breast skin of most poultry is fairly easily separated from the flesh. Get in there with some fat and flavour. Think: butter and herbs, or oil and lemon zest, even truffles and duck fat.
  5. Roast a bird upside-down. Well, actually, it’s the right way up, if you think about it, you know, like a bird. Most of us roast a turkey with that big, beautiful breast facing up, right? And very often it dries out. Well, the brining is going to really help that out a lot, but just one time, try roasted the bird breast facing down. Here’s what you’ll need to do: add a turkey rack or even a cookie cooling rack to the bottom of your roasting pan. Place the bird in breast-side down. You might need to prop it up some. About 45 minutes before it’s due to come out of the oven, flip it back the normal way – breast-side up – and let the skin get all golden and crispy.
  6.  Cover the parts that burn or dry out – wing tips, drumstick ends – with foil.
  7.  Let the cooked bird rest under a loose tent of foil for at least 15 minutes before serving.
  8. Sadly, there’s never enough dark meat. If you’re feeding a gaggle of dark meat fans, buy some extra drumsticks and thighs to add to the roasting pan. And they don’t all have to be turkey parts; chicken parts are easier to find and are just as delicious, especially roasted around a juicy turkey. Make sure you add any extra pieces to the brine at the same time!
  9. Do the stuffing in a separate casserole dish – for a number of very compelling reasons: a) Stuffing is more delicious with a crispy, crunchy, top. You can’t achieve that inside the bird. b) Doing the stuffing in the bird deprives the vegetarian at the table of the delights of baked, buttery, herby, bread. c) With the cavity free of stuffing, it’s available for other things that add flavour and/or juiciness, such as: a can of beer, citrus fruit, whole onions and garlic.
  10. And the biggest mistake: don’t overcook the bird. Many folks do, mostly because they are nervous about bacteria. Invest in a meat thermometer and follow a recipe or minutes-per-pound formula from trusted source. Don’t be this guy:

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