Thanksgiving Turkey

Ingredients for turkey:

Serves 12

  • 1 (18- to 20-pound / 8.2- to 9.1-kilogram) turkey
  • 2 additional turkey wings
  • 2 additional turkey thighs


You can break down the turkey yourself or ask your butcher to do it. A very sharp knife is helpful here. First cut through the skin at the side of the breast where it holds the leg against the body. Gently pull the leg away from the breast, stretching it out slightly to expose the joint at the thigh. Hold the thigh firmly near the joint that connects it to the body and gently press the thigh backward, so that the joint moves up toward the breast and out of its socket. Cut the leg away from the body, being sure to keep the oyster (the choice piece of meat above the thigh, in the backbone) attached, and repeat with the other leg. Separate the drumstick and thigh by cutting straight through the joint that connects them. Pull each wing slightly away from the breast and cut around and through the joint that connects them to the body. Remove the wing tips by cutting straight through the joint that attaches them to the flat part of the wing and reserve the tips for stock. Separate the flat and the drummette by cutting straight through the joint. Reserve the drummettes for stock. Cut along both sides of the backbone and remove it and the neck, and reserve them for the stock. Separate the tips, flats, and drummettes from the 2 additional turkey wings. Add the tips and drummettes to the reserved turkey parts for stock. Put the flats with the reserved flats and thighs from the whole turkey and the 2 additional turkey thighs. Reserve the breast separately. Keep the turkey parts in covered containers in the refrigerator until ready to cook, for up to 24 hours.

Ingredients for braised turkey thighs and wing flats:

  • 2 tablespoons / 28 grams light olive oil
  • Reserved turkey thighs and wing flats
  • (4 each)
  • 1½ medium celeriac, cut into medium dice
  • 1 rutabaga, cut into medium dice
  • 1½ onions, cut into medium dice
  • 3 carrots, cut into medium dice
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup / 225 grams white wine
  • 8 cups / 1.8 kilograms Turkey Stock


Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).

Set a large (6-quart) sauté pan over high heat and add the oil. When it begins to shimmer, add 2 of the wings and 2 of the thighs and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until they are a deep golden brown. Flip the turkey parts and cook for another 5 minutes, or until browned on the bottom. Transfer to a large plate or platter to cool. Add the remaining 2 thighs and 2 wings to the skillet and brown on both sides in the same manner. Transfer to the platter with the other turkey.

Add the celeriac, rutabaga, onions, carrots, and garlic to the pan and stir them around to loosen the fond and deglaze the pan with their juices. Once the vegetables are translucent and tender, transfer them to a large plate or platter to cool. Once the vegetables are cool, transfer them to a covered container and reserve in the refrigerator.

Add the wine to the sauté pan. Let the wine come to a simmer and reduce to a glaze, about 10 minutes. Add the Turkey Stock to the wine and bring to a simmer. Return the turkey to the pan and cover with a lid. Transfer to the oven and cook for 2 hours, until the turkey is completely tender. Remove from the oven and stir in the reserved vegetables. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, gently rewarm the braised turkey just until the gelatin melts and you can easily remove the turkey pieces and the vegetables with a skimmer or slotted spoon and reserve them in a bowl. Set the braising liquid over medium-high heat, bring to a simmer, and reduce by half, 20 to 25 minutes. Reserve braising liquid and vegetables for Turkey Gravy.

Ingredients for gravy:

  • 2 cups / 600 grams turkey braising liquid
  • 1 cup / 240 grams heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon / 4 grams tapioca starch
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning
  • Reserved vegetables from Turkey Thighs, diced
  • Reserved liver, gizzards, giblets, and hearts, diced


Put the Turkey Stock in a medium pot set over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk together the cream and tapioca starch to make a slurry and whisk it into the warm stock. Continue to cook, stirring, until the gravy thickens and comes to a simmer, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the reserved vegetables and organ meats and simmer 2-3 minutes to warm through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with chopped parsley.

Bryan Voltaggio

Ingredients for turkey stock:

  • 3 pounds / 1.36 kilograms turkey parts (reserved back, wing tips, necks, tails)
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery rib, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons / 32 grams soy sauce
  • 8 cups / 1.8 kilograms cold water

Special Equipment:

  • Pressure cooker (optional)


Preheat the oven to 370°F (190°C).

Lightly grease a baking sheet. Lay the turkey parts on the baking sheet. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until the turkey pieces are golden brown. Let cool and transfer to a pressure cooker.

Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, soy sauce, and water. Cook at high pressure for 15 minutes. Let the pressure dissipate naturally. Remove the lid and skim the stock. Alternatively, you can put the ingredients in a large pot set over high heat. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, skim, and cook, skimming occasionally, for 2 hours.

Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve. Turkey Stock may be used immediately or cooled down and chilled in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours. The fat will rise to the top as it chills and may be removed.

Ingredients for smoked turkey drumsticks:

  • Reserved turkey drumsticks (if available)
  • Reserve liver, gizzards, giblets, and hearts
  • Coffee BBQ Rub

Special Equipment:

  • Stovetop or outdoor smoker
  • Wood chips


Rub the turkey drumsticks generously with the Coffee BBQ Rub. Season the liver, gizzards, giblets, and hearts on both sides with the Coffee BBQ Rub. Put everything on a rack set over a plate or baking sheet in the refrigerator overnight. Do not cover.

Preheat your smoker to about 225°F (107°C). Add wood chips, and when the smoke is going, put the turkey drumsticks and organ meats in the smoker and smoke for 15 minutes.

Reserve the liver, gizzards, giblets, and hearts for the Turkey Gravy.

While the drumsticks are in the smoker, preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).

Lightly grease a baking sheet. After smoking, put the drumsticks on the baking sheet and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until juicy, golden brown, and cooked through. Let rest for 5 to 7 minutes before serving.

Ingredients for roasted turkey breast and brine:

  • 1 cup / 225 grams Turkey Stock
  • 1 cup / 200 grams mayonnaise (I prefer Duke's)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon / 5 grams fresh thyme leaves
  • ¾ teaspoon / 4.5 grams fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon / 1 gram fennel seeds
  • ¾ teaspoon / 0.9 gram coriander seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon / 0.7 gram mustard seeds
  • ½ bay leaf
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Everything else:

  • Reserved turkey breast
  • 2 bunches broccoli rabe
  • 2 tablespoons / 28 grams light olive oil
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon / 6 grams fine sea salt
  • 4¼ cups plus 3 tablespoons / 1 kilogram apple cider


Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

Make the Turkey Brine:
Put all of the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute.

Roast the Turkey Breast:
Use a syringe to inject the Turkey Brine into the turkey breast in various spots so that the seasoning is evenly distributed throughout both sides of the breast. Cut the broccoli rabe into bite-size pieces. Put the oil in a roasting pan and rub it all over the inside of the pan. Put the broccoli rabe and the onions in the pan. Season with the salt and toss together to mix. Lay the turkey breast over the broccoli rabe. Pour the apple cider into the bottom of the pan. Roast, basting occasionally, for 2 hours, or until the breast is cooked through and the skin is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let the turkey breast rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the breast to a cutting board and the broccoli rabe and onions to a serving platter. Slice the turkey and arrange over the broccoli rabe to serve family style.