Keeping your Turkey Moist
Another great way to keep your bird always moist is, instead of filling the cavity with stuffing, fill it with 4-5 Rome or McIntosh apples with the cores removed, but skin left on. Bosc or red bartlett pears work well. As they cook, they steam the cavity of the bird with the fruit's water. This keeps the inside nice and moist, and your stuffing doesn't end up all slimy because you end up cooking it on the stovetop. Hence the name..."stove-top".
Getting Quality Dark Meat from your Bird
Most people use the dark meat just from off the legs, thigh, and wings, but one of the most missed parts of the bird is the bottom, or the back of the bird. The best way to keep this meat cooked well is to make sure, first of all, that when you cook your turkey in the roasting pan, it is resting on a wire rack within the pan, this will allow the juices to drain from the bird and won't get the bottom (or back meat) all soggy from drippings. The drippings will actually steam upward to give the dark meat a great flavor.
Finding the Quality Dark Meat
To seperate the dark meat, you will need to get your hands dirty. When the carcasse is warm and not hot, and you have already removed the legs, thighs, wings, breastmeat, and (of course) the wishbone, turn the bird over and remove the skin from the bottom (or back) of the bird. This is the side that was resting at the bottom of your roasting pan. Use your fingers to pull the dark meat from the back of the bird.
Be sure to find the edges of the muscles where they meet the bone and blades (hip, shoulder) when you find these edges, dig in and pull. This way you will get nice chunks of dark meat. Keep this meat seperate from your white meat when storing it to keep the flavors of each type of meat distinct. The dark meat will get more of a pork flavor as it ages in the fridge for a day or so.
Just as with a cow or calf, some of the best meat comes from the extensor muscles right along the edge of the spine, so too does really good turkey dark meat. The white meat is of course the most prominent meat of a large keeled fowl, but the tender cuts of dark meat in the small muscles on the back, especially toward the neck, are really worth the effort. The legs actually tend to be the gamiest dark meat on a Turkey.
So, now that your bird has been mostly eaten by your family, the time has come
Dark Meat Recipe Extraordinaire: "Sloppy Gobblers"
Are you ready for an easy twist on all that leftover dark turkey meat? If your kids are anything at all like mine, they are not too keen on cold dark turkey meat. You can use it in things like Tetrazini and turkey salad, but that dark meat still retains some of the "gamey" flavor that kids aren't used to from cold-cuts. So what do do? What to do?
Our family came up with a great solution that we coined "Sloppy Gobblers". The name is patterned after the Manwich Sloppy Joes, but it has a true barbeque base.
One of the great attributes of the turkey dark meat I just taught you how to seperate (above) is that it has a consistency more like pork shoulder. Because of this, you can "Pull" it for an awesome BBQ sandwich that rivals any Pork Shoulder Sandwich for a fraction of the cost!
One advertisement on QVC showed 4 lbs of Pork Shoulder that cost $49.00!
Consider that you can get quite a large turkey for under $20.00. You will get all of the breast meat, and then if your turkey is at least 14-15 lbs, that should yield about 3-5 pounds of dark meat. For a roughly $20.00 bird, you are only paying $6-9.00 for all of that dark meat. Try getting that price at the deli section!
THE SLOPPY GOBBLERS RECIPE! (PREPARATION TIME, 10-15 MINUTES)
You guessed it, it's amazingly simple.
Especially since your dark meat is already pre-cooked and stored in the refrigerator.
1. Go buy a 12 pack of Bunny Brand Sandwich Buns (THE BEST)
2. Get the dark meat container from the fridge.
3. Take out as much as will feed your family.
4. Warm a skillet on medium high with a tsp of olive or canola oil
5. While the skillet is warming, take your dark meat and start pulling them into smaller strands of meat to
resemble pulled pork.
6. Drop them in the warmed skillet
7. Sprinkle a little water on them (tbsp?) to moisten the meat as it warms
8. Dump in enough BBQ sauce to cover all of the meat. (KC Masterpiece, Smoked?)
9. Stir until the sauce evenly covers all the meat
10. Spoon out onto the Hamburger buns and serve with your favorite condiment (slaw, veggies, corn, cornbread)
1. Rinse your skillet out right away after you serve all the meat because really, who wants to clean up caked-on
BBQ sauce anyhow?
2. Save the leftovers from THIS meal for later in tupperware to reheat in the microwave for a quick office lunch!
3. Yes, turkey IS the gift that keeps on giving. Ben Franklin wanted to make it our National Bird. Who wants Eagle
for Thanksgiving? Not me.
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