Two Ideas for Finger-Licking Turkey This Thanksgiving
On Thanksgiving, turkey is always in style. A juicy bird with salty, crunchy skin is the pièce de résistance of this highly anticipated meal. But if you’re looking to shake up your usual turkey prep method — add some spice or brine to the table — ICE Chef Instructor Ted Siegel has some ideas for you.
Below, Chef Ted shares two different methods for preparing your turkey when it’s time to give thanks this year, plus his expert roasting tips.
A Caribbean kick: try a Jamaican jerk turkey marinade.
Marinating delivers the double benefit of infusing meat with flavor and keeping it tender.
- 6 scallions
- 6 habanero or scotch bonnet chiles
- 2 medium onions
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
- ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
- ½ cup fish sauce
- 1 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 bunch dried thyme leaves, minced
- 1 bunch dried oregano leaves, minced
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves and stems, minced
- ½ cup butter
- For the marinade, finely chop and combine: scallions, habanero or scotch bonnet chiles, onions and garlic. Add tamarind paste, Worcestershire sauce, fish sauce, fresh lime juice, fresh orange juice, olive oil, brown sugar, dried thyme leaves, dried oregano leaves and fresh cilantro leaves and stems.
- Prepare the marinade, dividing into two halves: 1/2 for the turkey and 1/2 to make a compound butter. Marinate the turkey for two to four days, depending on its weight (two days for an 8-12 pound turkey, three to four days for a 13-30 pound turkey). Remove turkey from marinade. Make the compound butter by mixing remaining marinade with butter. Separate the skin from the breast and thighs and gently rub the compound butter onto the flesh without ripping the skin. Roast immediately.
Brine time: give your turkey a multiday brine bath.
Like marinating, brining will add flavor to your turkey, and make it exceptionally juicy and tender. Here’s how to brine.
- 1 pound kosher salt
- 2/3 pounds sugar (granulated, brown, molasses, maple syrup, agave syrup, honey or any other kind of solid sugar or syrup will work)
- 2-3 gallons water
- 25 juniper berries
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon white peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon star anise pods
- 2 tablespoons dried thyme
- ½ cup liquid smoke (which you can find at most grocery stores)
- To make the brine, combine kosher salt, sugar, water. Add the juniper berries, dried herbs and liquid smoke.
- Brine your turkey for two to four days by either submerging the entire bird or injecting it with brine. If you choose the latter, do not brine the turkey for more than two days.
For roasting, I always begin by browning the turkey. In an oven preheated to 450°F, cook the turkey for about half an hour or until golden brown. Then, turn the heat down to 325°F and roast about 18-20 minutes per pound until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.
Want to sharpen your culinary skills with Chef Ted? Click here to learn more about ICE’s Culinary Arts program.