By Ezra Klein
Like Matt, I have strong sectarian feelings against turkey. But unlike him, I’m a political realist, I believe in mitigation, not abolition. So as long as turkey is going to sit like a colossus atop the Thanksgiving meal, we may as well figure out a way to reduce its suck factor. Brining is certainly a player here, as are rubs, smaller turkeys, and aromatics. But we need to be bolder.
As Mark Bittman says, part of the problem with Thanksgiving turkey is that we insist on cooking it whole. This is a big bird. By the time the thickest, most protected meat is cooked through, Much of the rest has the pleasing texture of dirt cake. It’s true that a series of labor and time intensive techniques (like brining) can mildly counteract that, but you can only take it so far.
Bittman argues for a different approach. We have a technique for transforming tough, dry cuts of meat into meltingly tender meals. It’s called braising. But most of us can’t see our way to braising a whole turkey. So don’t. Cut the thing up. Then cook it with sausage and vegetables at a low temperature in a steaming broth. Bittman tells you how to do so here, or demonstrates the technique here: