There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it every day leading up to Thanksgiving to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to help you host the least stressful Thanksgiving yet. No promises on the crazy relatives.
Today: We're revealing all of our secrets for getting perfect skin (on your turkey, that is). Tomorrow we'll share our top turkey tips. (Hint: It needs a rest. You probably do too.)
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Perfectly golden, crisp skin: It's the best part of the bird. It's what makes you want to proudly present your turkey to a tableful of eager guests and carve your glorious bird while they all watch, eagerly anticipating their first bite. (Don't do that though. The carving at the table part. Carry the cooked bird around the room to show it off all you want, just take it back into the kitchen to carve it.) A flawlessly cooked bird with superb skin doesn't have to be a flight of fancy --this is the best advice we've feather seen:
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Nancy Harmon Jenkins recalls the best Thanksgiving turkey she ever had: "The skin was crisp, crunchy, sort of like crackling, while the meat on the inside, because it had been completely protected by the hot oil, was juicy and tender." She deep fried that turkey, but not in peanut oil. The secret was olive oil -- a cache of four-year-old olive oil. She says that the forgotten oil was "perfectly good oil, not at all rancid, though it had lost much (rather, all) of its youthful flavor and aroma." (If you're as intrigued by the versatility of olive oil as we are, you'll want to keep an eye out for her forthcoming book, Virgin Territory: Exploring the World of Olive Oil.)
Chef Ken Oringer recommends putting herb butter under the skin and brushing duck fat all over the outside: "A lesser-known trick, but it makes all the difference! Also season with a lot of salt and pepper and keep basting, and you're on your way to a turkey for the books."