I’m not easily impressed with Thanksgiving turkeys. In fact, I’m fine with skipping traditional turkeys altogether in favor of venison, duck or goose, which are more traditional in terms of Thanksgiving table fare. For round 1 of Thanksgiving (hosting a work related party), we kept things pretty straight forward and offered turkey and ham. (our personal Thanksgiving meal will be centered around a elk roast).
After years of experimenting with Thanksgiving birds, I believe we have cracked the code. Dry brine the bird for 2 days then rinse lightly to remove excess salt. No additional salt needs to be added. Roast the bird per standard oven instructions, though, instead of basting, wrap the bird in cheese cloth that has been thoroughly soaked in a mixture of melted butter, maple syrup and bourbon.
Serve with giblet gravy, wash down with bourbon, let those that don’t know any better feast on the breast meat while you patiently wait your turn for a whole drumstick, discarded pieces of skin and dark meat from the underbelly.