The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Turkey Tips for Your Thanksgiving Day!

Posted on | November 26, 2014 | Written by David Bertot | No Comments

happy-thanksgiving-212x300A whole hog roast is out of the question in my downtown Manhattan apartment, so I am cooking a pterodactyl -sized turkey from a small farm in Vermont. When cooking a turkey from a special farm like Stonewood in Vermont, the turkey should be the star of the show, and that’s why I limit seasoning a generous rub of salt and pepper. Season at least 24 hours before roasting, so the skin will dry up and get crispy.

Thanks to some knowhow from one of our in-house chefs, Victor Garza, I was able to break down this colossal 20-pound-plus bird into neat, main pieces of white and dark meat. I highly recommend cutting up large turkeys pre-roast. This enables the cook to pull out the white meat at a prime 140 degrees and the dark meat at a prime 160, yielding perfect, juicy, tender, crowd-pleasing turkey. There is nothing worse than chewy, dry turkey; this technique produces the exact opposite. Always remember to let the meat rest 30 minutes in aluminum foil. In this resting process, the temperature will steadily increase 5-10 degrees before cooling, and it’ll help the meat “set” before carving and serving.

Young, lighter, entry-level wines from great producers work seamlessly with Thanksgiving food.  This provides guests the opportunity to be introduced some new styles and enjoy juicy, ripe wines, usually with nice acidity. I thoroughly enjoy the Bodega Chacra Merlot Manque 2009. The clean, pure characteristics from this wine clean the palate in between bites. The Antinori Cervaro della Sala Chardonnay 2011 is a gorgeous, round Italian Chardonnay that will go very well with the lean turkey, as well as stand up to the often heavy sides. With cured meats and cheeses pre-dinner, I enjoy the Graci Etna Rosso 2012, and if some leftover for dinner, well, that will also work.

Wishing a happy Thanksgiving to you and to yours. May your turkey ever be juicy and your wine always delicious!

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