question for bird roasting season

I made GF gravy very successfully in 2019 at our most recent Big Family Thanksgiving for a couple of GF cousins, using Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 flour. They were very happy after going gravy-less for years and honestly, it came out better than the batch of regular gravy. I did as @Thimes suggested and made very rich turkey stock ahead of time. You may want to go that route anyway because your drippings might be very salty from the brining.

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I make my gravy ahead of time too. One less thing to juggle in the last minute rush to service.

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Cornstarch actually has a cleaner flavor than a traditional roux. Another route is to blend some veggies into thicken the gravy (onions, carrots, maybe a piece of potato).

2c on the wet brining - its less messy to dry brine. I finally converted my aunt (the owner of all thanksgivings) to this plus slow roast the last pre-covid thanksgiving (Judy bird is a popular description for dry brine + low temp roast - maybe not the inventor of the method but definitely got the message far and wide.)

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Make the gravy in the pan and then strain, maybe? Squish the veggie remains in the sieve too.

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You might want to give the parsnips a miss. Great roasted, but they might add an odd flavour to gravy, especially for younger customers.

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Me too. This works:

Thanks for the tip!

If I toss a mirepoixish blend of onions, carrots and celery ribs into the pan, along with the turkey neck --strictly for flavoring the gravy, and not consumption – is it advisable to let them roast for the entire 3.5hrs at 350F, basically rendering them in the pan, or would they just overcook and impart a burned flavor to the gravy?

After the initial 20 minute roast at 475F, when I lower the heat and pull the pan out to tent it with foil, I was planning to stick the turkey neck right under the bird, along with 3 halved onions and 4-5 carrots & celery ribs. Does this timing seem right?

BTW, I greatly appreciate all the responses and the excellent advice, but I’m pretty set on doing a trad pan gravy with all the drippings on the day of. We’ve got the cabin booked for 4 nights and I’ll probably be serving on the 27th, to allow 2 full days of brining and one full night to air dry in the fridge. Our plans for the weekend involve drinking lots of red wine and smoking lots of reefer, watching a few old movies, and cooking good food! Saving time in the kitchen isn’t a concern; in fact, I’m really looking forward to spending time in the kitchen, since I haven’t used my own kitchen in 6 months. I moved into a small 1960s apt in the spring that has an electric glass stovetop and an in-wall easy-bake-sized oven that doesn’t even fit my standard sized sheet pans. We’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of Bay Area public park grills over the summer, but I miss cooking in an actual kitchen! :slight_smile:

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Oliver, if you add about a cup of chicken stock to whatever’s in the roasting pan, the probability of anything burning would be mitigated, for the most part. The only thing with wet brining the bird is hopefully avoiding an overly salty gravy with using the pan drippings. Perhaps bring several containers of homemade chicken stock as a “just in case”?

And :+1: on the drinking lots of wine. I’ll let others comment on the smokes as I haven’t done that in many many (MANY!) years. I’d advise having Scooby Snacks if you’re going to be smoking well ahead of the bird and sides being cooked on Birdy Day. Although I also suspect Scooby Snacks will be in great supply anyway. :wink:

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+1 on what @LindaWhit says above. Sometimes the bird doesn’t exude sufficient drippings to keep vegetables from becoming overly browned.

If I’m responsible for gravy making in a kitchen that’s not my own, I always include minimally 2 of those 32 oz cartons of chicken or turkey stock with any supplies I bring. It saves the day when roasting doesn’t produce adequate poultry drippings for gravy.

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“2c on the wet brining”

What does 2c mean?

2 cents

Slaps forehead.

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Thanks Linda! I’ve got 2 quarts ordered from the same place I get my turkey. :slightly_smiling_face:

I’m going to use the drippings to make a roux… I hope it won’t be too salty. Have you experienced that with wet brining? I guess I could simmer a few potato slices to absorb some of the salt if that happens.

Another question is whether adding broth to the pan early on would keep the bird from roasting extra crispy from the extra moisture in the pan? Would you add it from the get go or do it as needed, based on the amount of juices that accumulate in the pan?

Alternatively, if I were to really cook down the neck/giblets/veggies into the drippings, would that impart any burnt flavors into the gravy? I just came across some blog entry that insists burned (as opposed to caramelized) onions add a deep umami packed flavor and help to actually thicken the gravy. I’m not sure how the celery would fare, but I imagine the carrots would just cook right down to mush.

Btw, when I’m resting the breast and finishing the thighs/legs, I’ll be adding a separate tray of carrots & parsnips in duck fat to roast for the last 40-45 minutes. I’m not going to be serving the turkey pan veggies at all—they’ll get pressed through the sieve.

As for the scooby snacks, I’m picking up a 4lb slab of bacon along with boudin blanc w/ roasted chestnuts :yum: I’ll probably sauté those with leeks cabbage & apples

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I can taste the difference between burned and deeply caramelized onions (and so can most of my family, even when they are not visible).

ymmv

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When I used to wet brine, we didn’t get overly salty drippings. It does highly depend on your salt to water ratio in your brine, but assuming you are following a standard recipe you should be ok. I find salty drippings more likely with a dry brine.

If anything, I found that with a wet brine, I got a LOT of drippings and juices by the end. You will be fine if you have a deep enough roasting pan, but I certainly would not recommend it for someone who wants to roast on a sheet pan. It could overflow or make it quite tricky to pull the bird out of the oven without making a mess.

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I agree with @kobuta - depends on the salt : water ratio in your brine. But to answer your question - if I think about adding stock to the roasting pan so the veg doesn’t burn, I wait until I see if it’s even needed. And then maybe just a cup to “take the edge off”. But my birds are always roasted on a rack, and I never put veg underneath, so your mileage may vary on when it’s needed. The 1 time I did wet brine (a chicken, not a turkey) I found enough liquid/juices in the pan to not need extra chicken stock. After straining into a fat separator, I poured off the “good stuff” and dipped a spoon into it to taste how salty it was - I ended up using half the “good stuff” (maybe 2/3 of a cup?) and augmented with several cups of chicken stock to make a good gravy. It came out nicely.

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