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stock in turkey roasting pan

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I am seeing several recipes suggest putting two cups of stock in the roasting pan for the roasting period. Wouldn't this prevent the formation of the brown drippings that are necessary for a flavorful gravy preparation. I have a butterball turkey defrosting so it should presumably be moist with their moisturizing injection. I am using the big green egg but their instructions call for the broth as well. Thoughts?

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  1. Considering that most turkeys will cook at least 3-4 hours, 2 cups stock will easily concentrate and evaporate in the dry heat, contributing to flavor of the drippings.

    1 Reply
    1. re: amyzan

      My concern is that having a pool of liquid would prevent the drippings from caramelizing in the bottom of the pan which would require temperatures greater than boiling point, closer to 350 degrees.

    2. Without anything on the bottom of the pan to start with, the fat and other drippings could/would scorch before there is sufficient juice collected on the bottom of the pan.

      1. I have a komada, I use inexpensive non stick bakeware from the grocery store instead of a roasting pan, my komada isn't large enough to cook "indirect", so the coals are under the pan. I have also used disposable aluminum.

        I use liquid, I have used: broth/stock, wine, beer, and water....I do not use the drippings for gravy, the smoke flavor is too strong for me, I haven't noticed a difference based on the liquid so I now usually use a combo of water and wine. The liquid will burn off before the turkey is done, you may have some drippings, but my drippings are dried on to the pan.

        Your concern; "having a pool of liquid would prevent the drippings from caramelizing in the bottom of the pan" is the opposite of my experience.

        I cook at ~375-350 with mesquite.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Alan408

          Thanks for the input. Hadn't thought about the smokiness affecting the pan drippings. I just use the lump charcoal so the smokiness is not strong but I was thinking of throwing some hickory chunks in to give some smoke. I might start with plain water and let her run dry to catch the drippings, then taste carefully as i go. I have to use a disposable aluminum tray as my roaster pan is too big, I do have the indirect option which I will use.

          1. re: dijon

            I actually like a the smoke flavor that permeates the drippings when I smoke/roast my turkey on the grill. Since I brine, the drippings would be too salty on their own anyway -- in addition to being too smoky if used solo. So what I do is buy some prepared turkey gravy (not the canned stuff -- homemade from a good market/gourmet store) and cut it half and half with my smoky/briny drippings.

            1. re: sbp

              Thanks. I think I am going that route and glad to hear others have done so. Do you start with the broth/other liquid in your roasting pan?

              1. re: dijon

                Yes, otherwise the drippings WILL scorch. It still caramelizes, in that the broth and drippings all evaporate (you do have to replenish after it gets glazy but before it scorches), and the gelatinized material seem to "fry" in the pan (you see them floating in darkened clumps in the broth). I guess the trick is don't use TOO much liquid. Enough to full cover the bottom of the pan and then a bit more.

        2. My mother makes gravy in the roasting pan using the following method (which utilizes the brown drippings):
          After turkey is done, place the roasting pan on the stove over one or two medium burners. Add 1-2 cups of chicken/turkey stock (if you have a large group- add more) to the pan and scrap the bottom to loosen the yummy brown bits. In a separate container- she uses the 2 C pyrex measuring cup- mix approx. 1/4 cup flour with cold water and stir until there are no lumps. Once the liquid in the pan starts to simmer ,slowly add some of the flour mixture while whisking constantly to avoid lumps. It should start to thicken at this point. Simmer for a few minutes until the flour "cooks" and it reaches the desired consistency.
          If you want it to be thicker- add more of the flour/h2o mix. If it gets too thick- add more stock.
          This method allows you to use the brown bits, the stock gives you a larger quantity of gravy while adding flavor.

          1. I hate to even bring up her name or admit I was watching her show, but Sandra Lee did a Thanksgiving show on Saturday which I watched while I was home in bed sick. (I swear I was sick!!). In her roasting pan, she made a bed of celery stalks, carrots and chopped onion and poured 2 cups of chicken stock over it before placing the turkey on top. The vegetables act like a platform for the bird. Afterward, she removed all the vegetables and used the remaining liquid to help make her gravy. I thought this was a really good idea and I'll bet the drippings with the vegetables and stock were very tasty.
            My mother would also put the roasting pan over two burners and heat up the drippings, adding stock as needed. Sometimes a little white wine, but she uses corn starch mixed with broth to thicken the gravy.

            1. Okay, wait, I didn't see any mention of grilling the bird in your original post. Are you roasting the bird or grilling it? Is this a continuation of an earlier thread discussion--I feel I'm missing out on some important details here!

              3 Replies
              1. re: amyzan

                I totally missed that grilling issue as well; just read the original post.

                1. re: amyzan

                  Sorry, but my reference to "big green egg" refers to a kamado style, charcoal fueled, slow cooking grill. So I do intend to "roast" the turkey in the "grill" and not in the oven. I know the process of preparing the gravy from the pan drippings, what I question is whether a pan with broth in it would develope any browned bits?

                  1. re: dijon

                    Ah, sorry, I didn't get the reference to the big green egg, even though I've seen them. Please disregard my earlier post, in this case, because I have little experience with grilling turkey. Sorry! Hope you find what you need.