Turkey parts cooking question

Hi all! I had this sudden brainstorm, two days before Thanksgiving, that since I am cooking a whole skin-on boneless breast (~5lbs) and drumsticks (probably 2-4 of them, depending on what I get in the package) that maybe I want to do a “Turkey with 40 cloves of garlic” kind of thing. Would you cook the light and dark meat on separate pans? Should I just treat the whole thing as an “x number of minutes per pound at 375F covered” (for example, the chicken recipe on the NYT has 8 pieces, presumably about 4lbs worth of chicken, cooking in 1/2 c. vermouth, some herbs, and the garlic, covered for 90 minutes at 375F)? My mom really digs dark meat and garlic, so I’m trying to do her a solid. Thanks!

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This guy talks too much and integrates his sponsor’s product into his show in a way that (irritatingly to me) makes you have to watch through the sponsor portion if you want to catch the set temps.

But he also gives a good overview of cooking turkey as parts, relative cook times, relative pull temps per part, and does cook breast on one pan and leg/thigh quarters on the other.

He seems popular (1.7 million subs) but I’m not sure I like the idea of a relatively quickly cooked breast being done at 145°F (1). And he runs the thighs all the way up to 185°F.

His recipe is an herbed salt slather, though, so no help on your specified 40 cloves approach. Which sounds good to me, having done it for chicken several times.

As time-stamped, this skips over the turkey breakdown, salt herb mix, broth etc. It’s all interesting too. I also noticed that YT sidebar started offering up some other vids on parted-out turkeys; hopefully yours gives some other options.

(1) As opposed to a long-cook, like sous vide, to 145°F which I wouldn’t be as concerned about.


Thanks! When I am home and not on my work computer, I will see if there is a transcript in the side menu so I can scan to the relevant bits (I read faster than I watch videos!). The 40 cloves is a braise, so I think I can just split this across two roasting pans and put a probe thermometer into the meat in each one to keep an eye on it (I have one with probes for up to four pieces of meat and giving me alarms at different temps on those pieces). Or, I might just 40 cloves up the drum sticks (tomorrow - then reheat) and roast the breast separately (day of).


Sounds like a plan; I’ve never minded gently reheated dark turkey meat. Don’t forget to let us know how it turns out!


Will do!

If you can fit it all, I think you’re fine in one pan for a braise, which has much less chance of frying out than a roast.

If you have the time, I’d lower the temp and go longer. (Bittman below at 300, though I’m surprised it’s uncovered, and BA is at 250, covered.)


I would not braise the breast. Dark meat is better suited to long, moist cooking than white.

I’ve been braising turkey thighs for Thanksgiving for a few years now, at least since the lockdown. Garlic, onion, red wine, chicken stock, 300F.

DRYING out. Jeez!


So, dinner ended up working out well! I browned the leg (just slightly under 2lbs - turkeys really are domesticated velociraptors) and the boneless, skin-on breast (a little over 4lbs) in some olive oil. A minor mishap occurred when I wasn’t completely paying attention and the breast slipped out of my tongs when I was flipping it during browning and the oil splashed up right under my eye. I have a little scabbing now, but it could have been SO MUCH WORSE. It’s really important to be properly caffeinated before undertaking kitchen tasks. And, usually, I take care of a lot of this the day before, which didn’t happen this year due to other, mom-related errands. C’est la vie.

The browned legs went into a disposable roasting pan. I added an entire bag of peeled garlic cloves (approximately 43 of them, according to the bag), some bay leaves, fresh thyme, rosemary, a blade of mace, and a half cup of rosé. This was covered tightly in foil, put on a baking sheet for stability, and popped in a 275F oven with a probe thermometer in the breast until the breast hit 165F. About an hour in, I added a bit more wine, but that was out of paranoia. The finished turkey gave off about 2.5 cups of liquid, which was the base for the day’s gravy. Somehow, the leg had hit about 180F in the time the breast got to its temp, probably because it was smaller? I strained the herbs and mace blade out and reserved the garlic cloves aside.

In a pan, I added about 3 T. of the fat from the drippings and liquid I had strained out. I added about 8 oz. of quartered cremini mushrooms and browned them. Then I added the reserved garlic cloves and the defatted liquid from the braise. I thickened it following the directions on the back of the Argo cornstarch tub - 1/4 c. cold water mixed with 2 T. cornstarch, which I added to the simmering liquid in the pan. After checking for seasoning (needed a pinch of salt), it went great over the turkey, mashed potatoes, and roasted vegetables we had for dinner! Thanks, everyone, for your help!