How to Carve a Turkey
Knowing how to carve a turkey can give you a leg up on one of the biggest food holidays of the year. Some chefs start by detaching the wings, but we prefer to leave them on the bird for added stability while removing the leg quarters. We also avoid turning the turkey breast side down during carving so as not to mar its crisp skin. Make sure to rest the bird, uncovered, for around 45 minutes before carving so it is cool enough to handle and its juices have time to redistribute.
How to Temp and Rest Your Turkey
Removing the turkey from the oven as soon as it has come to temperature is one of the keys to moist meat. Many supermarket turkeys come with a preinserted timer set to pop when the temperature of the bird reaches 178 degrees Fahrenheit. But if you wait that long your breast meat will be dry and overcooked. We recommend that you remove the bird from the oven when the breast temperature reaches 165 degrees and the thickest part of the thighs reaches between 170 and 175 degrees.
The Final (Thanksgiving) Countdown
How to Salt or Brine a Turkey
We recommend brining or salting a turkey to make it moist and flavorful. How can you choose which one is right for you? Salting turkey in advance is one way to season the meat and keep it juicy. Salting requires time, but it won't thwart the goal of crispy skin. We prefer to use kosher salt for salting because it's easier to distribute the salt evenly. Brining works in much the same way as salting. But note that brining inhibits browning, and it requires fitting a brining container in the fridge. Also, because it's soaking up liquid, achieving perfectly crisp skin with brining is more difficult. In these cases, make sure to pat the skin as dry as possible prior to cooking.
French-Style Mashed Potatoes
Chef Joël Robuchon’s indulgent recipe for ultrasilky and buttery mashed potatoes poses a number of challenges for the home cook, including peeling piping-hot whole boiled potatoes and passing the puree multiple times through a special restaurant sieve called a tamis. Our recipe eliminates all those challenges. Instead of using water, we cook peeled, diced potatoes directly in the milk and butter that will be incorporated into the mash. This approach also eliminates the need to laboriously beat in the butter after the fact and captures potato starch released during cooking, which is key to producing an emulsified texture where the butter doesn’t separate out.