Talking Turkey with Executive Chef “Wild” Bill Ranniger
Forget fancy, let go of perfect for the holidays. Our executive chef “Wild” Bill has the best advice. Take it away, Bill!
By Bill Ranniger
First things first: my advice to having a great holiday turkey dinner is to go to Duke’s for several days before Thanksgiving or Christmas, eat good food and mentally prepare to be away from Duke’s until your turkey is gone.
Buy a great bird. Most of us only do it a few times a year. Make sure to buy more then you need, leftovers can be the best part.
Use a meat thermometer (one that goes to 165 degrees)
If you are thawing, do it in the refrigerator, slowly. A 20-pound bird can take 4 days . . . make sure no juices can drip on any other foods (not good). Wash bird before you cook, then clean and sanitize your washing, cooking, and prep areas . . . keep yourselves healthy and happy.
Do all the prep you can on the days before the big event. Stay organized and watch or play football.
You might try “breaking down” your bird BEFORE you roast it by cutting and cooking it in smaller sizes. This allows a more even cook, so you are less likely to dry it out. It won’t be as pretty out of the oven, but it will taste better.
When roasting, add veggie stock, fresh sage, and poultry seasoning with veggies and herbs to the bottom of the roasting pan to make a flavorful stock. Then make a “foil tent” airtight over your roasting pan and steam-roast turkey until about 120 degrees.
Then take off foil to brown the meat. Baste while roasting.
Use the drip/stock from roasting to make your gravy. To make your gravy, cook out your roux (equal parts butter and flour) until it starts to brown, on medium heat for around 8 minutes. Removes the raw taste of flour.
Drink wine while cooking; its the holidays, have fun!
Be thankful for what you have; food will taste better.
If you don’t have enough leftovers or went to family or a friend’s house, go buy a bird and make your own leftovers. The day after Thanksgiving and Christmas there are great deals on turkey.
After you’ve had enough turkey for a least 3 months, celebrate and go to Duke’s, we don’t serve turkey.