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Feb 27, 2013 04:41 PM

non holiday turkey ideas

Have you ever served a whole turkey for a non holiday party? I have the "free" turkey that has been in my freezer since November. I've taken it out to bbq it this weekend for guests. We grill roasted our turkey this Thanksgiving. I think I would rather spatchcock this turkey and roast on our gas grill. Has anyone ever used Asian or BBQ sauces on turkey?

Also, any menu ideas that go with the spring season (I'm in AZ, it is really spring here) and a non holiday turkey would be welcome.

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  1. In college, I was in a sorority, and lived in house. Our "house mother" would do a turkey dinner about once a month for us. But, it was a pretty traditional meal.

    I keep seeing the "buffalo" turkey here on Chow and think it sounds really interesting.

    1. I have eaten, but never made, a hoisin glazed turkey. It was good, but whole turkey is a food memory I don't like to mess with. I probably would have enjoyed it more as leftovers in a lettuce wrap, purely for not messing with tradition.

      1. Divide and conquer.

        Spatchcock the bird.

        Steam or poach the breast and make turkey pot pie.

        Slow braise the thighs, legs and wings in a soy sauce, ginger, rock sugar, white wine and star anise reduction.

        Use the remaining turkey parts to make stock which you can then use to make congee.

        Eat the congee with the braised turkey legs and wings as a "starter" and then finish your meal with the pot pie.

        1. Yes!
          I like to grill (slow, indirect heat, more of a hot smoke in our weber) the thighs and legs, with a dry rub, chili, cumin, etc... it becomes like pulled pork. I make enchiladas, use it for tacos, tamales, serve it with polenta...
          I like to roast the breast with lemon, olive oil, and maybe some herb, your choice, thyme, rosemary, sage, keeping it simple.
          I tend to cut up the turkey when I cook it "off" holiday.

          8 Replies
          1. re: wyogal

            So you cut the turkey into quarters? I think I will do this for more even cooking. I had thought of a lemon rosemary turkey. Do you think this would work for the legs and thighs too?

            I like the idea of cutting up Mr Tom. I would really mess with a food memory as LP says.

            I love the ideas! Off to dry brine now. I will have the turkey on the grill in some form or another this time tomorrow. Thanks all!

            1. re: pagesinthesun

              Not quarters. Dismantled to separate breasts from thighs from legs from wings. I roast the legs and wings. Equal parts honey, soy sauce, and toasted sesame oil make a good
              baste/glaze. I make turkey a la king from one skinless breast
              (skin goes into stock made from carcass, giblets, and wings)
              and either slice the other breast into cutlets or poach it for use in salads and sandwiches. I use the liver in the stuffing that goes under the parts that are roasting. I do not care for turkey soup but 1:1 turkey stock to beef stock is my favorite for French onion soup.

              1. re: greygarious

                Even if I'm grilling (gas, indirect) the turkey...should I totally dismantle it?

                1. re: pagesinthesun

                  I would never grill a turkey so I can't comment on that.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    I'm curious why? I guess coming from TX and now AZ we cook more on a grill than in the kitchen year around.

                    1. re: pagesinthesun

                      You can absolutely grill a Turkey. Keep the heat low, take your time, and just don't let the internal temp of the white meat go above 150F or you're done for.

                      Spatchcocking, quartering or just splitting the bird is a good idea, and keeping the breast meat on the bone is good to protect the white meat from the intense direct heat of the grill to prevent it from drying out.

                      However, if you have a Big Green Egg, a Weber Smokey Mountain or other Vertically-Oriented cooker, cooking the bird on a vertical roasting rack is the best way of all.

                      1. re: pagesinthesun

                        In general, I avoid grilled foods since there's a fine line between seared and charred. I find the more even, overall sear of stovetop cooking preferable.

                    2. re: pagesinthesun

                      It depends on how you want it... I usually do separate applications, some lemon/garlic/herb for sandwiches, and the dark meat for Tex-Mex inspired dishes.
                      I've done a whole turkey, I've grilled the breast, it's really up to you and how you want to cook it. It is much easier to manage if it's a large bird, when it is cut into pieces.

              2. Sandwiches!

                Yeah, I sometimes like things pretty simple. White bread, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and turkey, and maybe lettuce and tomato, and, if I'm feeling extra fancy, maybe even bacon. That's it. I can eat three a day everyday.