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Old Nov 27th, 2009, 12:16 AM   #1
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When cooking a Turkey: What's the best [oil] coating to use?

I know this is late, and that I should have asked this question before Thanksgiving Day, but I'm now very curious as to what all of the other weekend chefs here use their turkey to give it that nice overall golden brown and crispy finish.

Normally, I coat the entire turkey with butter, but I wanted to try something a bit different this year and so decided on extra virgin olive oil. I then discovered today that some are now using duck fat. I would have never thought of using duck fat!!
I love duck, but to use it for basting...? It sound s intriguing though. Most of all, it's supposed to be healthier than butter; which is great because I've been on this serious health kick since this past February.

So the basic candidates are OLIVE OIL vs DUCK FAT vs BUTTER
(Or maybe you use some other oil or fat)

DUCK FAT IS A HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE TO BUTTER


Note: The melting point of Duck Fat is 14̊ C. The melting point of butter is between 32 ̊C and 35 ̊C (90 ̊F and 95 ̊C).

Duck fat contains 35.7% saturates, 50.5% monounsaturates (high in linoleic acid) and 13.7% polyunsaturated fats.(which contains Omega-6 and Omega-3 essential oils). This compares to olive oil which is: 75% monounsaturated fat (mostly oleic acid) 13% saturated fat and 10% Omega-6 linoleic acid and 2% Omega-3 linoleic acid.

So PLEASE PLEASE tell me what you use, and what the results were/are. And whether you’ve ever used duck fat...?
And what do you, or whoever cooks the turkey for your family, use to perfect that golden brown and crispy coating?




Aside:
I'll be taking my 18lb. delicious RVD turkey out of the oven in exactly 43 minutes to baste it.
I'll be using olive oil again during this stage, and will adjust the temp. to broil for about 3-5 1 minute increments...turning as needed for that all over even finish.
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Last edited by RVD : Nov 27th, 2009 at 01:19 PM.
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Old Nov 27th, 2009, 02:55 AM   #2
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Re: When cooking a Turkey: What's the best [oil] coating to use on turkey?

I've never been a fan of duck, but if you enjoy the flavor of it then you can use it although it really wont influence the taste that much. The oil/fat you use on a bird only really serves to crisp the skin and provide better browning during cooking. You could also use an infused oil. All you have to do is take a cold oil add herbs like thyme, sage, rosemary, marjoram, tarragon, cilantro or garlic and lemon zest or you could buy one. I myself like to put and paste of seasonings, garlic, lemon zest and olive oil under the skin of my turkey. I brush the outside with regular vegetable oil and sprinkle some seasoning on the top of the skin and it usually turns out fine for me. Butter can burn too easily and tends to brown unevenly. A light brush of oil/fat at the end of cooking may impart more flavor than basting during the cooking process.

As far as the health aspects go you are using only about 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil to bast an entire turkey and most of the fat will runoff into the pan drippings which you can skim after cooking, so the saturated fat and other factors of the oilfat aren't all that important because it really isn't going to be consumed in any meaningful quantity.

Just my take on it, I hope it was helpful.
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Old Nov 27th, 2009, 03:49 AM   #3
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Re: When cooking a Turkey: What's the best [oil] coating to use on turkey?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slammer7 View Post
I've never been a fan of duck, but if you enjoy the flavor of it then you can use it although it really wont influence the taste that much. The oil/fat you use on a bird only really serves to crisp the skin and provide better browning during cooking. You could also use an infused oil. All you have to do is take a cold oil add herbs like thyme, sage, rosemary, marjoram, tarragon, cilantro or garlic and lemon zest or you could buy one. I myself like to put and paste of seasonings, garlic, lemon zest and olive oil under the skin of my turkey. I brush the outside with regular vegetable oil and sprinkle some seasoning on the top of the skin and it usually turns out fine for me. Butter can burn too easily and tends to brown unevenly. A light brush of oil/fat at the end of cooking may impart more flavor than basting during the cooking process.

As far as the health aspects go you are using only about 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil to bast an entire turkey and most of the fat will runoff into the pan drippings which you can skim after cooking, so the saturated fat and other factors of the oilfat aren't all that important because it really isn't going to be consumed in any meaningful quantity.

Just my take on it, I hope it was helpful.
I have to say that today’s results proves your point, because for the first time ever, I didn't have to baste of broil the turkey.
And the skin and stuffing (at the opposing ends of the turkey) were also crispy.
Think I'll stick with olive oil in the future.

Your infused oil sounds incredible!!
Do you make your own?
I've wanted to try several types I've found at Cost Plus Marketplace but never found the time or courage.

Also, in retrospect, when baking, most of the oil does in fact drain from the bird anyway, so again, you nailed it and I'm smacking myself in the head. Also, I agree that butter does brown unevenly, hence my maintaining a vigil every 1 -2 minutes during basting. I didn't have to do it this time though. YAY!!
Incidentally, I made a 3 mushroom gravy sauce with the drippings this year. I wanted to do something different so I added fresh minced garlic, cilantros, sea salt and ground peppercorn. Wifie and daughter caught a scent and told me to hurry up and finish.

Thanks for the excellent reply slammer7.
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Old Nov 27th, 2009, 05:52 AM   #4
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Re: When cooking a Turkey: What's the best [oil] coating to use on turkey?

we always used Crisco vegetable oil in the gel/cream/lard form... always worked well for us.
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Old Nov 27th, 2009, 07:01 AM   #5
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Re: When cooking a Turkey: What's the best [oil] coating to use on turkey?

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Originally Posted by Rocketta View Post
we always used Crisco vegetable oil in the gel/cream/lard form... always worked well for us.
Sounds delicious Lard Vegetarian sausages here I come!!
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Old Nov 28th, 2009, 06:06 PM   #6
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Re: When cooking a Turkey: What's the best [oil] coating to use on turkey?

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Originally Posted by TalulaTrauma View Post
Sounds delicious Lard Vegetarian sausages here I come!!
not actual lard that's pig fat but its the consistency of lard but 100% vegetable oil.
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