Andrew Zimmern's Clever Turkey Tip For More Even Roasting

How many of us have been in the position where we've taken our turkey out of the oven and the white meat is overdone and dry, but the dark meat has yet to finish cooking? It's an all too common occurrence that happens because of the bird's construction. The leaner breast meat is more exposed to the oven's heat during roasting, while the fattier dark meat, being on the bottom half of the bird, is more insulated. And while you might not think there is any way around this, Andrew Zimmern will tell you otherwise. 

Despite sampling some of the world's most bizarre foods, Zimmern is anything but bizarre when it comes to his cooking advice. In a tip shared with People, Zimmern reveals that a turkey's white meat reaches its internal doneness at 160 degrees Fahrenheit, while dark meat needs to reach 175 degrees Fahrenheit. It tracks, therefore, that you'd need to cook the turkey a little longer in order for the dark meat to finish. However, since turkey breast is so lean overall, it will certainly dry out while it waits for the dark meat to finish cooking.

Zimmern's solution is a clever twist on the roasting process. Rather than covering the breast with bacon, flipping the bird halfway through roasting, or carving it up into different sections, Zimmern gives the dark meat a head start by boiling it in stock. 

Boil the dark meat before roasting

Zimmern suggests you boil the turkey's dark meat before stuffing it and putting it in the oven. What the boiling does is allow the dark meat to get a head start on the cooking process. As Zimmern notes, this head start ends up being just enough so that the white meat can catch up to the dark meat for a more evenly-roasted bird. 

To start, bring two inches of stock to a rolling boil inside the roasting pan. You'll then place the turkey into the roasting pan and boil the dark meat for 10 minutes. As all the dark meat is located in the underside of the bird, the stock will surround it and cook it gently, priming it for the roast ahead. Once the boiling is finished, reserve the stock to make gravy and continue roasting the turkey as normal. 

The end result should be a turkey that is moist, tender, and, above all, evenly-cooked. The tip is clever in that Zimmern isn't asking you to do anything overly complicated. The bird remains intact, which is good for roasting and presentation, and the tip all but guarantees a perfectly-cooked turkey.