All Photos: Wendy Goodfriend
For as long as I can remember, I’ve played a big role in preparing Thanksgiving dinner for both family and friends. Growing up, we did turkey the way most folks did: stuff it, throw it in the oven, and roast it until the little plastic doo-hickey popped out. As I got older, and my culinary sense of adventure grew and matured, I started brining the turkey. Then one year, this was maybe 10 years ago or more, we got really crazy and threw the brined bird on the grill, slow grill-roasting and smoking it to a mahogany red.
After a number of years on Thanksgiving hiatus (due to the fact that we were traveling abroad), I finally found myself back home last year, and I couldn’t wait to host my first Thanksgiving in our new house.
I decided to take the entire thing on myself, something I’d not done for many years, and I was ready to do something new. So in that spirit, I thought I’d try a whole new and slightly blasphemous approach: I would dismantle the turkey.
This is not a new idea, it was actually suggested to me a few years back by a close friend who is also an amazing chef. The idea is simple. White meat and dark meat simply don’t cook at the same rate, so why not treat them the way they want to be treated? Braise the dark meat until it’s falling-off-the-bone-tender and roast the breast meat just long enough to keep it tender and juicy.