Listen, I’m all about making beautiful dishes. And I love the look of a whole roasted bird. But I always break whole turkeys down into their parts now—even for the Thanksgiving feast. Here are my three great reasons for it: First, it’s much easier to brine and refrigerate cut-up parts than to cram a whole bird in the fridge. And yes, you must brine the turkey for juicy, delicious meat. Second, when you break down the bird, you can use the back and carcass to make homemade stock or gravy on that same day. If you do have leftover stock, you can whip up a quick soup or pot pie the next day. Third, and most important, cooking the bird in parts ensures that the pieces will all be cooked perfectly. The white meat will stay just as juicy as the dark.
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