Monday, November 10, 2008

How to Cook a Turkey: Part 2 - All About the Gravy

Gravy is the lifeblood of any real thanksgiving feast. It will moisten the driest turkey, and saturate the most solid stuffing. Lumpy mashed potatoes are no match for its slow-moving seduction. I like gravy, I like it a lot.

This is Part 2 in the How to Cook a Turkey miniseries. We join the turkey in progress, with about an hour left to cook. As you'll see, the f
oil is removed, the turkey browns beautifully, and then it’s time to get our gravy on. I hope this video recipe leads you to a nice boat of gravy at your holiday table, and even though your turkey will be moist and tender, you'll have this liquid love on hand just in case.

A few words for you advanced turkey chefs. These video recipes are intended for the novice chefs among us, which is why I tried to use a minimum of steps. There was no brining, frying, injecting, smoking, bagging, or upside-downing. That's not to say I don't appreciate all those techniques, and the endless quest for turkey perfection. So, enjoy your turkey no matter what you did to it.



Gravy Ingredients:
3 cups cooking liquid from turkey pan (fat removed)
4 cups turkey stock from the neck
1/2 cup cooked onions from pan
*2-3 tbsp turkey fat
*1 tbsp butter
*1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp chopped sage
*double for thick gravy

61 comments:

Skye said...

Thanks a lot John. You don't know what your site means to a novice cook like I am - every recipe or technique demonstrated on here is greatly appreciated; especially when you buy a turkey before Thanksgiving to show us how to cook it.

Chef John said...

Thanks! Happy to take one for the team.

Anonymous said...

will there be enough stock/juices to reduce to a nice sauce without a roux or is it necessary cuz every time i do a roux sauce it has a pasty and grainy texture.

Connie said...

Looks good but I want to bag it, smoke it, dip in in a boiling hot tub of oil and burn myself getting it out. (not really). You video is great, make me want to cook one.

Chef John said...

here you need a roux... a pasty roux is caused by not cooking the roux enough. It has to be cooked in the fat for at least 5 minutes, and then boiled in the stock for awhile and it will be great.

Jewels said...

Chef John this so great, thank you! You have just made my Thanksgiving better, and my future guests thank you (even if they don't know it yet), haha.

Anonymous said...

thanks =)

scallywag said...

how long did you cook those gizzards, heart etc? i'm guessing 20-30 min...

Chef John said...

they simmered in the turkey neck stock for the whole 2 1/2 hours.
I didn't chopped them up, just used to flavor the stock.

Angie ^i^ said...

I waited until you posted this video to see if you were going to do something with it in the gravy.. but since you didn't I must ask WHY didn't you boil the Liver with the neck, heart, and gizzard?

Chef John said...

I'm not a liver lover in stock. Way to strong of a flavor for most non-French people.

Charlemange said...

I'm good with making turkey, but I'm a flop with the gravy. This was really helpful. I'll try it next time I make a turkey.

jeff said...

"Listen to me now and hear me later."

That one really pumped...me up.

Jeff

Chef John said...

hans and franz to you too!

Jokes And Clips said...

Hey,

I check in here all the time. Love your videos. Is there any substitute for butter when putting under the skin and when making the gravy? I keep a kosher diet and can't mix meat and dairy...

thanks.

Chef John said...

Well, that's an odd rule. Sure, use olive oil. It will be fine. Enjoy!

Blood Red Roses said...

The gravy is honestly all I can remember when I think of last Thanksgiving. I'm glad you know who the real star of this holiday is. Thanks Chef John!

Hendra said...

Hello John,

I found your site through youtube while looking for recipes for the pizza dough and I want to say thank you so much on putting up this neat website where you demonstrate on how to cook it step by step. I have seen a lot of cook shows that is either go through each steps too fast or most of the stuffs has been prepped way ahead.

Thank You,
Hendra

Anonymous said...

I see myself making that gravy Chef John. The only problem will be not having enough to go around! Looks way better than my default use of cornstarch to thicken the turkey juices/chicken stock.

Anonymous said...

You can get a step ahead by roasting turkey legs many days (weeks even) and saving up pan juices in freezer for gravy later.
Luisa Vacaville

Great Oden's Raven said...

Youtube just used a clip of this video for a holiday how-to type channel featured on the main page.

Anonymous said...

Chef John-thank you soooooooo much. This was great simple info. for me. Except what is a roux? Your video on you tube was very interesting. Love it!!! Thanks.

Chef John said...

roux is the cooked paste formed by the butter and flour, usually equal parts.

GregJ said...

Thanks Chef! I'm doing my first Thanksgiving and I found my turkey and gravy recipe.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef I wanted to ask when you carve a turkey, where on the bird can you find the Turkey Bacon? I see it in the supermarket but I can never find it on the bird itself.

Chef John said...

It's right between the turkey hot dog, and the turkey jerky.

Anonymous said...

Chef John, I loved being able to watch you make the turkey and the gravy on You Tube. My husband and I are having Thanksgiving for the first time tomorrow...and we took off work last week to make a "practice turkey", you gave us all the right tips because it turned out great! Now one of my girlfriends is using your recipe as for Thanksgiving as well. Thanks for helpng the "cooking challenged"!

Tricia said...

Chef John, I loved being able to watch you make the turkey and the gravy on You Tube...it sure helped A LOT! My husband and I are having Thanksgiving for the first time tomorrow...and we took off work last week to make a "practice turkey", you gave us all the right tips because it turned out great! Now one of my girlfriends is using your recipe for Thanksgiving as well. Thanks for helpng the "cooking challenged"!
Tricia

Robert said...

Hi John, Will this recipe make enough gravy for twelve people for their turkey and mash potato? If not, how can I adjust the recipe to accommadate the desired serving size?

Chef John said...

it would be close, but to be safe, make a batch off gravy ahead and supplement. you can use this one http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2007/05/buttermilk-fried-chicken-why-didnt.html

Anonymous said...

I am making my first turkey for christmas this year. Your recipe sounds so wonderful I can't wait to try it. Hopefully I will blow away all the doubters in my crowd!

Chef John said...

relax and enjoy the process with no expectations for perfection or disaster. (btw - my basic philosophy for life)

Joyously cook without fear and [bleep] the doubters! ;-)

Deanna Norman said...

On Friday I started scouring the Internet thinking there must be a better way to cook a turkey than simply stuffing it and tossing it in the oven. Dinner was my responsibility this year and I wanted some "wow". I stumbled upon your "How to Cook a Turkey Part 1" on Youtube and followed it here to your blog. I'm hooked.

On turkey day, my family comes over early and my mother and I cook together. By the time mom got here, I already had two Apple Pies and your No-Knead Pumpkin Bread cooling on racks and the turkey in the oven. We started with the "Whole Wheat Flatbread with Mango, Jalapeno Cheese and Fresh Apple" appetizer. I had used your flavored butter and turkey prep on my turkey (dressing is a must with my family) and served it with your mashed potatoes, your 60 second brussel sprouts, and some other family favorites.

The brussel sprouts video was watched by 5 of my family and we all had to taste them before they made it to the table. They were a huge success, even to someone who has never liked them.

It is custom here to offer folks left-overs when your company leaves and most often the reply is "oh no I can't". There was little to no turkey left, no brussel sprouts and the remaining pie and pumpkin bread were quickly claimed as people left.

My brother told me I'd really stepped it up a notch and you now have a family of fans :) Thanks for all the work!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John,

Thanks for the fantastic turkey videos. Could you do one on how to carve a turkey? The slices at the end of the video look great, but I'm not sure how to accomplish that.

Anonymous said...

Chef John, you rock!

I found your website after viewing your brilliant tip on how to eat chicken wings--but to be able to cook a turkey would be an even greater trick to perform for my husband.

My biggest fear has always been related to the temperature: I'm never sure I've got the meat thermometer in the right place and so, with the fear of poisoning my husband (or worse, guests), I end up overcooking the thing.

Can you demonstrate the EXACT spot I should stick that thingy? I'd love to try once again to make a turkey--and I'm ready to try today so I can get it down before Thanksgiving comes and we end up eating nothing but appetizers all day.

Anonymous said...

A second question (after the temperature problem): I noticed in the first video that the turkey seemed so dry and manageable for you when you were prepping it. When I've tried to cook turkeys in the past, I've had them slipping and sliding all over the place. How'd you get yours to behave so well?

Chef John said...

I pat dry with paper towels. Use a turkey that has a pop-up thermometer if you are scared! (or make sure the tip of the thermometer is in the deepest part of the thigh. Besides you WILL NOT poison anyone unless it's a bad bird and you really leave it bloody.

Jenna said...

Chef John, I just stumbled upon your blog and am LOVING IT. Thanks so much for these videos! I've made many Thanksgiving feasts (some really great, some not-so-great) and usually spend a couple weeks prior to the day reviewing and rewriting recipe after recipe in search of the "perfect" bird. This year I wanted to keep it simple and go with a recipe I felt comfortable with. Thanks to you, I've found it and can look forward to making an awesome bird with (hopefully) less freaking out. Happy Thanksgiving!

Josh said...

I love to cook and am always seeking new recipes and techniques. These blog has been a great way for me to expand my cooking horizons,

Thank you!

Kevin said...

Thank you! This year was my first time cooking a turkey, so I was a bit nervous. I followed your recipe, and it was amazing. Easily the best gravy I've ever had. So thank you again for helping make this a great Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

Chef John, in your knead-not bread video, you had asked viewers to send in the definition of cornicione, which your family called the "end piece" of a loaf of bread. Amazingly, I stumbled across the definition while reading a review of the NEW Domino's pizza recipe a couple hours later. Here is the quote: It's almost like the end crust, or cornicione, has now become a sort of complimentary built-in order of lightly seasoned breadsticks. If you were previously inclined to leave the end crusts as "pizza bones," maybe you should now order an extra cup of marinara sauce (50¢) and dunk 'em.
Thanks for the fun and funny cooking lessons, Chef John. You are saving my family for botulism for sure. I look forward to the cookbook that you promise.

Austin said...

Hello everyone! I'm very excited to try this recipe next week, but I was wondering if I could use whole wheat flour instead of white flour? I heard you would use more flour like 1/3 cup instead of 1/4 cup. I don't know, but if anyone does know or even Chef John please reply.

Chef John said...

that will work, but why? its such a small difference in nutrition for that amount and the white tastes better.

Austin said...

I buy a lot of whole stuff so I don't really buy white pasta or white rice or anything white. But for this I shall use a white flour. Thanks for replying I didn't know whether to use a white or whole.

Anonymous said...

How do you buy balsamic vinegar? I bought a bottle but then looked it up online and realized I had a "fake" version. Is that alright or should I switch it for the aged kind? (not sure if I know what I'm talking about)

Anonymous said...

I love how you have "truck" stock instead of turkey stock in the ingredients -- spell checkers! Anyway, cornstarch would work instead of flour, Austin.

margaret said...

John!! It seems the video for part II of your turkey miniseries is missing..can you re-post it? I appreciate it :)

Chef John said...

Sorry, but I just check and it's playing fine. Try again!

Adrian said...

We're cooking the same picture perfect (not to mention awesomely delicious) turkey since we found this method in 2008. And every time we're spicing things up with new ingredients. Thanks again, Chef John!

Dawn said...

I followed your recipe and method for our turkey this year and I have to say it was amazing! I was nervous buying a 25lb turkey that the breast would be dry after cooking for 5 hours but with the fresh herb compound butter rubbed under the skin made the breast moist and very flavorful. I'm not just saying this but everyone said it was the BEST turkey ever!

Anonymous said...

Chef John,
I just have to comment, which I have never done before, the recipe and directions for the turkey and gravy are MONEY!!! This was not my first time making a turkey. I have been cooking turkeys for years. However, this year I followed your directions and I had rave reviews! Everyone LOVED it! My husband even volunteered to clean the bones off for me to make sure he got every delicious morsel.
Thank you for taking the time to make your videos. This was the first recipe I have tried but I will definitely be using others!

Margaret said...

This looks so good! I must try this very soon!

Sarah said...

Hi Chef John

I am making a turkey and gravy for the first time this year. The problem is that I can neither get ahold of the innards of the bird nor on turkey stock. Can I substitute chicken stock? Also, I am terrified of making roux! It always clumps up on me! Any emergency advice on when it clumps?

THX in advance and for your great recipes!

Chef John said...

Sure use chicken broth. Just follow our gravy recipe. You will get no lumps. This is from too dry rouxs.

chef dejanaise said...

Chef your the best i use your recipes all the time. One question is it okay to brine the turkey before i user your recipe??

Thanks Much!!

rhaasan said...

Chef thanks for all the great recipes. One question can i brine turkey before using your recipe??

Thanks

Kim Asher said...

This was the best tasting turkey I have ever made.. It was a huge hit with the family and friends as well... Thanks so much!!

Scion said...

Simple, elegant, delicious. John you should be on an episode of the tv show "Food Network" as a judge!

Matthew McNiel said...

Chef john,

I am grateful for your work. You have taught me so much.

Today i cooked a 24 lb turkey to perfection for my family of 26. It turned out super well because of this guide.

Also, my family is big into gardening. We grew 400 lbs of heirloom tomatoes this summer which turned into 30 quarts of spaghetti sauce in our freezer. I based this recipe on your simple tomato sauce recipe and havent found anything i like better. We have done this same practice for 3 summers.

My family also loves your cheese sauce on macaroni. My boys love your nacho cheese joke.

My wife now knows what a roux is because of you! She also makes your apple pie recipe every year

Thank you so much. Matthew

Chef John said...

Thank you!! Happy holidays!

Frank Schmalz said...

Can you stuff a brined turkey or will the stuffing turn out too salty?

Thanks- michelle s