ATK Turkey 2020

America's Test Kitchen. What's done here requires you read at least as early as the day before and that you understand what needs to happen when.


Thighs and Legs
3 onions, chopped
4 ribs celery, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
10 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, plus extra as needed
3 bay leaves
10 sprigs fresh thyme
10 sprigs fresh parsley
1 tbsp black peppercorns
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1 cup dry white wine
3 tbsp kosher salt
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 (5- to 6lb) bone-in turkey breasts, trimmed
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp kosher salt (just before roasting)
7 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, divided



1. Braise leg quarters and make gravy (4-4½ hours plus 1 hour cooling). Make the braise from the list of ingredients above, but follow order here.

2. Use a large, but flat roasting pan. Put pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until vegetables are softened, lightly browned and fond formes.

3. Add chicken stock, water and wine. Bring to a simmer, scraping fond. Remove from heat.

4. Cut leg quarters at joints into thighs and drumsticks, sprinkle with salt and season with pepper. Place pieces skin-side up in braising liquid which should come up only ¾ of the way on the meat. Cover pan (inside, on the braise) with parchment paper. Cover also with foil. Put into oven at 325° until thighs register 170°, about 2½ to 3 hours. Transfer turkey to shallow container. Once cold, cover and refrigerate.

5. Scrap up brown bits from braise. Strain braise to remove large bits pressing on solids with spatula to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids.

6. Separate fat if you like; set aside enough (8 or 9 tbsp) to make a roux for 8 cups liquid. Make the roux and set aside for gravy.


1. Butcher the breasts to isolate them from the bird; remove backbone, pop wings from shoulders, etc.

2. Salt the underside of the breasts. Refrigerate for 24 hours on rimmed baking sheet. (I do mine in gallon zip bags.)

3. 3 hours before eating, adjust oven rack to middle and heat to 325°. Measure 20" sheet of foil and crinkle, then flatten out. Put it in the wire rack with a grill over it. Put the breasts skin-side up on the wire rack. Brush with butter and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt. Roast until breast registers 130°, about 1½ hours.

4. Remove breasts from oven, increase temperature to 500°. Once there, roast breasts until skin deeply browned and breast registers 160°, 20-30 minutes. Transfer to carving board and rest for 30 minutes uncovered. Save juices.

Back to thighs and drumsticks

7. Adjust oven rack to upper middle. Place thighs and drumsticks on wire rack (from white meat) and brush with butter. Reheat until skin well browned and thighs register 110°, 18-22 minutes. Transfer to large platter for serving.

Back to gravy and breasts

5. Make gravy while thighs are warming. Simmer in sauce pan with roux, wisking occasionally including all juices gathered and seasoning with salt and pepper.

6. Carve breasts to ¾" slices across breast leaving skin intact. Transfer to platter for serving.