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Nov 20, 2013 03:15 PM

Food Lab Turkey Breast

So I'm planning to make this recipe for Thanksgiving: but I notice some comments say that 450 degrees is way too high. Any thoughts?

How much do you think I could do the day before?

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  1. High heat roasting is a very common and successful technique. It can generate a lot of smoke so expect that.

    Check out this info:

    1. High heat roasting sounds great in theory but after years of following Kafka's recipes, I've decided hers is the worst cookbook I've ever owned.

      Especially with something that can easily dry out, I've found that low & slow is the way to go. High heat roasting, no matter how scrupulously clean your oven is, invariably results in a smoky kitchen, scorched skin and dry meat. And I tend to cook to a lesser degree of doneness than she recommends. I like crispy skin as much as anyone, but I like juicy meat more, and given the choice between the two, it's no contest.

      The only birds I like roasted at high heat are game hens. But they're even better deep-fried whole.

      That being said, Kenji knows his stuff and his recipe looks great for a smallish Turkey breast and should result in nice crisp skin. I'd trust him and follow the directions exactly.

      Stick to his sizes and quantities because as you've seen, changing them around can be problematic.

      You could reduce the oven temp to 425 and increase the time a bit for more even cooking, as some of those posters suggested. You could prep the bird and stuffing the day before, but make sure they do not meet until you put them in the oven together.

      3 Replies
      1. re: acgold7

        Thanks so much for the advice. It's getting down to shopping time and I was waffling a little as to whether I should try this recipe or not. I'll do the lower temp at 425.

        As for prepping the stuffing the day before--how far can I go? Through his second step where you pour the egg mixture into the sausage mixture and add bread cubes?

        1. re: Thanks4Food

          Don't do 425.

          Either go for 450 or 500 or go down to 350 or 375.

          If you are going to follow a high heat recipe then you need to jack the heat up.

          If that makes you nervous than roast at a traditionally appropriate heat. IMO 425 is too hot.

          I've had fabulous and consistent results with Barbara Kaufman's high heat chicken. Won't do it any other way, But I have never done a turkey with that method.

          1. re: Thanks4Food

            If you don't already know....acgold7's daily professional life is centered around Turkey....his advice is solid and spot on.

            I roast my small turkeys at 275*...I'm never in a hurry....and it cannot dry out.

        2. We did this last year (two of them, due to unexpected increase in number of eaters). It was wonderful and we're doing it again this year (for just 4 people).

          We followed the recipe, except I swapped half the bread for cornbread and we didn't use any sausage. (I did a sort of mashup of my normal cornbread dressing and Kenji's recipe.)

          But, we followed the temps/times as stated in the recipe and it worked well.

          1 Reply
          1. re: onrushpam

            Oh, on doing ahead...
            I've already made my cornbread and stock to be used in the dressing and have bread cubed up ready to go. All that is in the freezer. Day before, I'll chop all the veg/herbs and have those ready to go in the fridge. I wouldn't mix any of the dressing up ahead of time.

          2. Okay, dinner's over, it came out fine--but I'm pretty sure I won't make it again. Mainly it was the dressing I didn't care for. Never had a sage sausage stuffing/dressing and it didn't grab me all that much--and it came out really salty. Plus it made enough for an ARMY. I'll have to make another turkey breast in order to use up all that dressing.

            I intend to go back to the ATK braised turkey breast recipe for my next turkey breast go-round. I can't really remember how it tasted, but I know we raved about and it was a lot less work.