There will be no fowl play this year. Large gatherings may be frowned upon for the immediate future, but there’s no shortage of inventive recipes and hot takes on creating a feast that will carry your immediate family through the pandemic blues. Clevelanders may have their own tried and true traditions, but we hunted down three local chefs to find ways to spruce up the big bird for the upcoming holiday season.
Use A Spiced Brine: Two days before the big feast, Adam Lambert, co-owner of Ohio City Provisions, suggests submerging your turkey in a spiced brine. “It makes for a juicier turkey and gives you a little bit of leeway,” says Lambert. “If you overcook your bird, it’s still going to be juicy.” For a 20-pound turkey, Lambert suggests submerging it in a brine with 9.6 ounces of salt, 8 ounces of sugar and assorted spices such as peppercorns or bay leaves. Refrigerate for 48 hours before removing the turkey and drying it off completely. Then, season with salt and pepper before oven roasting. “If you have wet skin, it will take away from the crispiness of the skin,” he warns.
Stuff The Turkey With Apples And Oranges: Natasha Pogrebinsky, executive chef at Southside and Hi and Dry, suggests going all in on warm fall flavors by stuffing your turkey with 3-4 large Granny Smith apples cut in half, 2-3 Mandarin oranges cut in half, rosemary, salt and pepper. The idea, which Pogrebinsky pulled from her father’s recipe for apple-braised duck, gives the meat a tangy chutney-like flavor. “It’s a cool trick and it’s something different,” says Pogrebinsky. “You can then take them out of the turkey and use it as a side, or if you want to get very technical, you can pick out the seeds and cores, and puree them into an actual sauce.”
Flip The Turkey Upside Down: Once your turkey is ready to go in the oven, president of Spice Hospitality Group Ben Bebenroth suggests putting the turkey in upside down, which allows the fat to render toward the white meat. Put a few gobs of butter along the side facing up to add additional fat and then put the turkey in the oven at 425-450 degrees. “If you’re starting your roasting process upside down, that allows that [fat] to render out a little bit in that first super-hot push,” Bebenroth says. After the first 25-30 minutes, flip the turkey over and continue roasting at 325-350 degrees.