Chef George Duran shares his top turkey tricks

If you need a shorter cook time, try spatchcocking the turkey.

November 24, 2021, 8:54 AM

The countdown to Thanksgiving is on with less than 24-hours to go so celebrity chef George Duran joined "Good Morning America" Wednesday morning to share solutions from brines to browning to help make the main ingredient shine.

First, he shared a simple brine that's best started the day before and calls for one hour of brining per pound of turkey.

Once fully brined, he said to "remove it from the bath, dry with a paper towel and set on a baking sheet in the refrigerator overnight so the skin dires up to give it a super crisp skin when you roast it."

Duran's basic wet brine recipe: 2 cups kosher salt for 2 gallons water, plus 1/2 cup sugar and a choice of herbs and aromatics. Add a ton of ice to let cool down and place in the bag with the turkey.

Next, he said don't forget to wash the turkey post-brine, especially if you want to use the drippings to make a gravy. "Otherwise it will be way too salty," he said.

For inside the bird, Duran said when cooking the stuffing in the cavity to make sure it reaches at least 165 F. If it doesn't and the turkey is ready, remove the stuffing and microwave it until fully cooked.

If you don't want to remove stuffing from the turkey with a spoon, Duran suggests adding a lining of cheesecloth inside the turkey then add the stuffing and loosely tie it. Once cooked, gently pull out the cheesecloth and serve.

Lastly, Duran explained how to get the perfect cook with crispy skin.

"The best way to get your skin crispy is to let your turkey air dry for 24-hours in the fridge after brining," he said. Putting butter or oil on the skin before cooking will also help acheive this. "The breasts always cook before the thighs, to time the cooking perfectly, shape aluminum foil around the breast of the turkey before cooking it. Once the breast reaches temperature, use that molded foild to perfectly fit over the breast while the thigh finishes cooking."

Finally, for a hack to cut down on cooking time if home cooks get in a crunch, Duran suggested the spatchcock method. Removing the backbone of the bird and laying it flat will also ensure more even cooking.

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