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The Science of Thanksgiving by Alton Brown

The Science of Thanksgiving by Alton Brown


What we love about Alton Brown isn’t hard to understand. After all, the man is not only extremely intelligent about food, but he is also very passionate (and a very snazzy dresser, too!). The best part? He is always eager to share his knowledge with interested learners. Not only does he offer The Daily Meal readers fabulous tips for managing their turkey on Thanksgiving Day, but he's also taking his know-how on the road! Be sure to check out Brown's second leg of his road tour, kicking off in the new year on Jan. 29. Until then, we give you a taste of some of his food wisdom:

Alton Brown's Turkey Tips

1) Bring it to room temperature an hour before cooking. This will actually cut down on the cooking time by making the bird's thermal trip shorter.

2) Let the cooked bird rest outside the oven for 20 minutes before carving. Remember, heat is like pressure and it'll squeeze the juice right out of the turkey if you cut it when it's still roasting hot. Resting will allow some of the juices to be retained in the meat.

3) Leave the stuffing out. Stuffing adds to the mass of the bird and therefor the cooking time. If you can't live without stuffing, cook it outside the bird and put it in while the turkey rests so it can absorb the juices.

4) Don't bother basting. Basting does not make meat juicy. After all, skin is designed to keep things out. It's like a raincoat. Basting only makes the skin taste good… nothing wrong with that but all that door-opening lets out heat and slows the cooking process which results in drier meat.

5) Buy Frozen. I find that a straightforward frozen "natural" Tom in the 16-pound range gives me the best bird. I don't mess with fancy "heritage" birds, or those injected buttery things or kosher birds which just make you pay for water weight.

Alton Brown’s Tips for Frying a Turkey

When it comes to frying something big like a turkey there are a few things to keep in mind. Always make sure your fry rig is in an open area and away from flammables. You should not do this in a garage or on a deck or under any kind of overhang. Never fill a pot more than half full of oil. Once the bird is in and submerged, the oil line will rise considerably and remember, when the turkey first goes in there will be a lot of foaming up and that could cause overspill, which is a bad thing. Make sure that the bird is completely thawed and dried off with paper towels, as water and oil do not mix. Use a thermometer to monitor the oil temp and always have a fire extinguisher handy. I've never needed one personally, but I know deep down that the first time I don't have one is the time I'll need it.

For more turkey talk, visit The Daily Meal’s Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving.


Alton Brown’s Top 10 Thanksgiving Recipes

If Food Network Star Alton Brown has one talent that stands out from the rest, it’s explaining what exactly it is about a particular recipe that makes it so great. He’s devoted a majority of his career to improving our collective culinary IQ and he’s definitely done some homework of his own. This is why people trust Alton Brown — especially his Thanksgiving recipes. Here are the 10 most-searched-for Alton Brown recipes that fans are looking for come Turkey Day.

1. Good Eats Roast Turkey (with Brine)

There’s no denying that Alton’s turkey recipe is highly sought-after. It has over 5,500 reviews on Food Network’s website, and a five-star rating to boot. Perhaps its sheer popularity comes from the fact that Alton has mastered the art of achieving a beautifully bronzed, perfectly crispy layer of skin. Our food team gave this recipe a spin and agreed that the skin is the star of this turkey.


TV Chef Alton Brown Shares Tips On The Science Of Thanksgiving Dinner

There are tons of tips on how to cook that Thanksgiving dinner, many of them rooted in science. Alton Brown, the showman of food TV, runs through why we stuff the turkey after it's cooked, why gravy should be kept in a thermos, and why canned cranberries are the devil.

We could give you some tips on how to properly cook your Thanksgiving meal, but frankly, it may be too late for that at this point in the day. So we're going to talk about the science behind cooking those traditional dishes with our friend Alton Brown. Welcome to the program.

ALTON BROWN: Thank you, Ari, for having me. Nice to talk to you again.

SHAPIRO: So you are currently on tour with a show called "Eat Your Science," which is on Broadway this week. Congratulations.

BROWN: Thank you very much. We're dark today. There's no show today, so I'm just sitting around thinking about turkey.

SHAPIRO: So we're going to work our way through the science of this meal, beginning with the centerpiece, the turkey itself.

BROWN: Excellent. The turkey - my number one thing that people don't get is take that sucker out of the refrigerator about three hours before you plan on cooking it. You know, my thing is I want to bring things up to room temperature, especially poultry, before I cook it because I want it to cook faster so that there's less moisture loss.

SHAPIRO: But I think a lot of people have been told that's dangerous, that'll promote bacterial growth, that's the way to make people sick.

BROWN: Well, you know what? Sure, it would if I took my turkey out of the refrigerator and, like, threw it in a dumpster or drug it down the street in New York for a while, yeah.

BROWN: I would have bacteria and, yeah, it would grow in what we call the danger zone, which is typically between 40 and 140. But if I'm getting something out of my refrigerator where it's been, you know, basically pretty clean and I'm putting it on my counter, what exactly is going to happen in that amount of time that going into a hot oven isn't going to kill? Nothing. I have been doing this for years. No one's ever gotten sick.

SHAPIRO: Well, we've got a lot of the meal left to go. Should we move on from the turkey?

SHAPIRO: I've got a question about cranberries.

SHAPIRO: If I want to make - I don't know - strawberry jam, I'm going to have to add something to strawberries to make it gelatinous and thick, right? I'm going to have to add pectin or something like that.

SHAPIRO: But if I want to make cranberry sauce, all I have to do is pop some cranberries in a little saucepan and when it cools off, it'll be thick and gelatinous. So what's up with cranberries?

BROWN: Cranberries contain a massive amount of natural pectins. They will gel all on their own, which is why you can basically make cranberry sauce out of filling, a pan with a little bit of water - I add honey to mine or sometimes maple syrup - a little bit of citrus zest and cook it till the berries kind of pop and start to fall apart. Stop, and that stuff will set up like Jell-O.

SHAPIRO: Yeah, it's amazing. Are there other fruits that do that?

BROWN: There are a few, but none that are as common at this time of year. There are other members.

SHAPIRO: Like quinces? Would quinces do that?

BROWN: Quinces do it - very good. And that's probably the only other one and kind of the classic American cannon. And it's funny, when you look back in history books or American cookery books, one of the reasons that the quinces and cranberries are used so often is because of their natural jelling properties.

SHAPIRO: All right, let's move on to gravy, which is persistently plagued by two problems. And I'd like you to tell us how science can solve either or both of them.

SHAPIRO: Problem number one - skin. And problem number two - lumps. Give us some wisdom.

BROWN: OK, lumps are caused by one thing and one thing alone - the improper addition of a starch.

SHAPIRO: Like flour or something.

BROWN: Like flour. And what tends to happen is that people will go - they've got hot broth, you know, they've added some liquid to their drippings, they've brought that up to heat. And then they try to add in a big clump of just kind of a handful of flour, and of course, it turns into library paste. What happens is that in each clump you've got the gelatinization of starches, which happens very quickly at the surface of the clump and it kind of forms a protective skin around this dry hunk of flour.

So what you've got to do is you need to either create a slurry in a cold liquid, which also works with cornstarch, or you've got to do your gravy in a very wide pan and kind of scatter the flour over the top and then very quickly whisk it in.

BROWN: The skin is forming because of proteins, just like if you cook milk or anything else that's got a coagulant protein in it. That's going to - nice, I hate using the word coagulant.

BROWN: . On Thanksgiving. I'm sorry, everybody. You know, this happens at the gravy boat stage - right? - or this happens when you're trying to keep it warm. So the way that I avoid this is I keep my gravy - the second it's done, I put it in a thermos, which will keep it hot and will prevent air from getting to the surface. And I keep it there till the last moment. The last thing that goes out to the table is the gravy, and I pour it out of the thermos and immediately move it in. And at that point.

SHAPIRO: You don't bring your "ThunderCats" thermos to the Thanksgiving table?

BROWN: I do not. Well, I keep the "ThunderCats" thermos safely in the kitchen.

SHAPIRO: All right. Let's go to dessert, and let's talk about pie crust.

SHAPIRO: And there have been long family feuds over butter, Crisco, lard, what to use in the pie crust.

BROWN: I am firmly in the lard camp. It must be what we call leaf lard, which is a specific kind of lard that resides around certain internal organs in the pig.

SHAPIRO: Like around the kidneys.

BROWN: Yeah, that's considered the jewel box of the fat.

SHAPIRO: The jewel of the lard.

BROWN: Yeah, the jewel of the lard is right around the kidneys. But this is a fat that has a very specific crystalline formation and a high melting point. OK, now butter typically melts around, you know, 90 Fahrenheit, as opposed to about 20 degrees higher for lard. So what that means is is that when you're working with it, the lard is going to stay more solid, which is great for flakiness. And it also means that it's going to stay in a solid form as it's baking a little bit longer, so that's why you get a much flakier crust.

SHAPIRO: All right, Alton Brown, thank you so much.

BROWN: Thanks, Ari, for having me.

SHAPIRO: That's Alton Brown of the Food Network, who is on Broadway this week with his show "Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science."

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Alton Brown

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NEW Good Eats: Reloaded Videos

Alton's heading back into the kitchen to tweak some of his most-popular recipes ever . and he's giving you a front-row look at the what's, why's and how's. Get his best tips over at Cooking Channel now.

Alton's Latest Cookbook

If you've ever wondered what your favorite evilicious host cooks for himself on a day-to-day basis, Alton's newest cookbook, Alton Brown: EveryDayCook, has the answer.


Alton Brown Fruitcake Recipe / Why Fruitcake Is One Of The First True Global Recipes Kitchn

Alton Brown Fruitcake Recipe

Cakes fruit desserts other desserts sweet breads. Recipe notes for alton brown meatloaf: Baking times for small loaves are mine. My husband makes homemade fruitcake every year using dried fruits soaked in rum. What you don't want is all that baking magic happening on top of your best baking dish. Cakes fruit desserts other desserts sweet breads. Yeah, this recipe sweet and spicy sugarplums recipe | alton brown. Recipe courtesy of alton brown. Fruitcake may get a bad rap, but alton's may make you change your mind.

This foolproof recipe isn't just good, it's certainly the juiciest turkey you'll ever have! Since spices are the backbone of the fruitcake, according to alton, use whole spices and grind them in a coffee grinder. Recipes » calories » good eats. Alton brown has been teaching us the science behind cooking, making us laugh, and giving us amazing recipes for more than 20 years. Thoroughly sear the roast on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Baking times for small loaves are mine.

Bong Mom S Cookbook Alton Brown S Fruit Cake For Christmas And New Year from 4.bp.blogspot.com Plus you can make them. Cooking time for the large loaf pan is his Recipe notes for alton brown meatloaf: French toast recipe courtesy of alton brown level: This foolproof recipe isn't just good, it's certainly the juiciest turkey you'll ever have! Søtpotet, sjalottlott og timian suppeoppskrift. Cake flour, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, vanilla and 7 more. Alton brown's classic brined and roasted turkey. Alton brown's classic brined and roasted turkey. This is sincerely the best fruitcake recipe around.

Ingredients 1 cup golden raisins 1 cup currants 1/2 cup sun dried cranberries 1/2 cup sun dried blueberries 1/2 cup sun dried cherries 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped zest of one lemon, chopped …

We've been combing through some of the best alton brown recipes of all time. This roasted turkey recipe stays moist, thanks to a genius, simple brine. Alton brown's fruit cake recipe, free range fruit cake, is simply the best. Kamala harris' thanksgiving turkey recipe is going viral: Alton brown's classic brined and roasted turkey. From alton brown, this wonderfully moist, one layer carrot cake recipe is simply topped with a thick layer of cream cheese icing. Cakes fruit desserts other desserts sweet breads. About fruitcake, my take on alton brown's. Søtpotet, sjalottlott og timian suppeoppskrift. Alton brown's free range fruitcake.

One of alton brown's all star recipes, once you try it, this quiche will be a favorite for sure! Alton brown has been teaching us the science behind cooking, making us laugh, and giving us amazing recipes for more than 20 years. About fruitcake, my take on alton brown's. Add the trimmings to the skillet and brown alongside the roast. Amazon best sellers best fruitcakes. Luckily, we've found an amazing way to make sure your whole turkey is tasty and sensational. There are no fancy layers to this cake, so it might feel a little more approachable to bake than other homemade cake recipes that are out there. If food network star alton brown has one talent that stands out from the rest, it's explaining what exactly it is about a particular recipe that makes it so great. This version is adapted from alton brown's recipe.

How To Make A Fruit Cake With Pictures Wikihow from www.wikihow.com What you don't want is all that baking magic happening on top of your best baking dish. Rump roast recipe, as found here: Thoroughly sear the roast on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Recipe courtesy of alton brown. Alton brown's fruit cake recipe, free range fruit cake, is simply the best. This is sincerely the best fruitcake recipe around. This is a recipe from alton brown that we really wanted to take on as it sounded so much fun and similar to the other mvk tries to date such as the gordon so for the pancake recipe themselves, take 2 cups (so roughly 250g) of the pancake mix out of the container and have it ready to one side.

This roasted turkey recipe stays moist, thanks to a genius, simple brine.

From alton brown, this wonderfully moist, one layer carrot cake recipe is simply topped with a thick layer of cream cheese icing. My husband has made it for years and has tweaked it just a bit. Alton brown has been teaching us the science behind cooking, making us laugh, and giving us amazing recipes for more than 20 years. Recipe courtesy of alton brown. Luckily, we've found an amazing way to make sure your whole turkey is tasty and sensational. Recipes » calories » good eats. Amazon com the fruitcake special and other stories. Alton brown's classic brined and roasted turkey. There are no fancy layers to this cake, so it might feel a little more approachable to bake than other homemade cake recipes that are out there. About fruitcake, my take on alton. Baking times for small loaves are mine. Best alton brown fruitcake from fruitcake a tasting and review alton brown s free. A large cooler is necessary for the brining, but you'll also use it to thaw your turkey if it's frozen.

Baking times for small loaves are mine. About fruitcake, my take on alton. Recipes » calories » good eats. From alton brown, this wonderfully moist, one layer carrot cake recipe is simply topped with a thick layer of cream cheese icing.

Rich Rum Fruit Cake For A Very Merry Christmas Ecurry The Recipe Blog from www.ecurry.com My husband makes homemade fruitcake every year using dried fruits soaked in rum. Cooking time for the large loaf pan is his Søtpotet, sjalottlott og timian suppeoppskrift. About fruitcake, my take on alton. From alton brown, this wonderfully moist, one layer carrot cake recipe is simply topped with a thick layer of cream cheese icing. Amazon com the fruitcake special and other stories. About fruitcake, my take on alton brown's. Alton brown revamps classic fruitcake with his free range fruitcake recipe, packed with dried fruit, a trio of spices, and a brandy soak. Kamala harris' thanksgiving turkey recipe is going viral: Thoroughly sear the roast on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Alton brown has been teaching us the science behind cooking, making us laugh, and giving us amazing recipes for more than 20 years.

Luckily, we've found an amazing way to make sure your whole turkey is tasty and sensational.

Yes, there is such a thing as sugarplums and they really are good eats. One of alton brown's all star recipes, once you try it, this quiche will be a favorite for sure! Baking times for small loaves are mine. Best alton brown fruitcake from bong mom s cookbook alton brown s fruit cake for. Add the trimmings to the skillet and brown alongside the roast. World s best fruit cake moist fruit cake recipe a. Alton brown's free range fruitcake. Cooking channel serves up this free range fruitcake recipe from alton brown plus many other recipes at cookingchanneltv.com. Since spices are the backbone of the fruitcake, according to alton, use whole spices and grind them in a coffee grinder. Recipe notes for alton brown meatloaf: He uses alton brown's standard recipe for free range fruitcake, but over the years, he has put a bit of his own spin on it by changing the spicing a little. Alton brown's classic brined and roasted turkey.

This one uses naturally dried fruits.

Søtpotet, sjalottlott og timian suppeoppskrift.

Thoroughly sear the roast on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.

Alton brown's classic brined and roasted turkey.

Alton brown revamps classic fruitcake with his free range fruitcake recipe, packed with dried fruit, a trio of spices, and a brandy soak.

This foolproof recipe isn't just good, it's certainly the juiciest turkey you'll ever have!

13 of alton brown's most popular recipes from the original good eats.

About fruitcake, my take on alton.

Recipe courtesy of alton brown.

About fruitcake, my take on alton.

The only fruitcake recipe that deserves to exist.

Notice, please, that there is no candied fruit in this recipe.

About fruitcake, my take on alton.

Best alton brown fruitcake from bong mom s cookbook alton brown s fruit cake for.

Alton brown has been teaching us the science behind cooking, making us laugh, and giving us amazing recipes for more than 20 years.

Søtpotet, sjalottlott og timian suppeoppskrift.

Cooking time for the large loaf pan is his

Amazon com the fruitcake special and other stories.

About fruitcake, my take on alton brown's.

Capellini suppe med rik kylling brodo oppskrift.

About fruitcake, my take on alton.

Since spices are the backbone of the fruitcake, according to alton, use whole spices and grind them in a coffee grinder.


Directions

Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 450°F/230°C (or 400°F/200°C if using convection). Heat 2 quarts (2L) water in a large pot over high heat until boiling. Add 2 tablespoons kosher salt (about 1 ounce 25g), baking soda, and potatoes and stir. Return to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until a knife meets little resistance when inserted into a potato chunk, about 10 minutes after returning to a boil.

Meanwhile, combine olive oil, duck fat, or beef fat with rosemary, garlic, and a few grinds of black pepper in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Cook, stirring and shaking pan constantly, until garlic just begins to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Immediately strain oil through a fine-mesh strainer set in a large bowl. Set garlic/rosemary mixture aside and reserve separately.

When potatoes are cooked, drain carefully and let them rest in the pot for about 30 seconds to allow excess moisture to evaporate. Transfer to bowl with infused oil, season to taste with a little more salt and pepper, and toss to coat, shaking bowl roughly, until a thick layer of mashed potato–like paste has built up on the potato chunks.

Transfer potatoes to a large rimmed baking sheet and separate them, spreading them out evenly. Transfer to oven and roast, without moving, for 20 minutes. Using a thin, flexible metal spatula to release any stuck potatoes, shake pan and turn potatoes. Continue roasting until potatoes are deep brown and crisp all over, turning and shaking them a few times during cooking, 30 to 40 minutes longer.

Transfer potatoes to a large bowl and add garlic/rosemary mixture and minced parsley. Toss to coat and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.


What Are You Doing For Thanksgiving?: Alton Brown

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Alton Brown is a celebrity chef who has hosted several TV series, including Cutthroat Kitchen, Iron Chef America, Feasting on Asphalt, and Good Eats, which he created, produced, and hosted on the Food Network for 13 years. He has also authored multiple cookbooks, including I’m Just Here For the Food. Popular Science spoke with him about his Thanksgiving plans for this year.

What are you eating and/or cooking for Thanksgiving?

All I eat on Thanksgiving is congealed salads… aka jello molds. It’s all I actually want.

For others, I’ll be roasting a turkey with a new method I’ve been tinkering with, which I cannot yet discuss other than it’s stupid fast and amazingly tasty. Along with that I’ll be making a nice quinoa salad with roast vegetables. Oh! And sweet potato meringue pie.

Do you have any tips for readers?

Organization will set you free. And remember, coolers can keep things warm too! I usually rest my turkeys inside a cooler for an hour before carving.


2. Good Eats: The Early Years (2009)

True Good Eats fans will appreciate the entire Good Eats book collection (here’s the three-volume set), but for classics — like Alton’s turkey, biscuits, and mashed potatoes — this is the only volume you should need or want. Plus there’s tons of juicy behind-the-scenes details from the first 60 episodes of Good Eats.

The best recipe: MaMae’s biscuits recipe, which is credited to Alton’s late grandmother, is the basis for my own personal biscuit recipe that I bake at least once a week.


Rotisserie Turkey Recipe

Smoked turkeys are so juicy and flavorful, they put oven-roasted birds to shame. Ever since getting a smoker, no turkey has been cooked using any other method in my house. There's one big catch though—the smoke leaves the skin tough and leathery, and although I've known a few people willing to exert the extra effort needed to eat it, for the most part, I consider it inedible.

With the addition of a rotisserie to my arsenal, I could finally fix this conundrum and get an extremely flavorful bird with some self basting rotisserie action, and a delicious skin by avoiding the use of smoke.

After an incredibly successful turkey at last year's Thanksgiving using Alton Brown's recipe (which I know many of you use too) I gave this one the same initial treatment: brined in a mixture of salt, vegetable stock, pepper, allspice, and candied ginger, then stuffed with some aromatics before cooking. It then went onto the spit and slowly turned until the breast meat hit 165°F.

While I was right on with the skin, which turned out undeniably delicious, the meat did not quite live up to my standards set by the smoker. It still beat out the oven-roasted version in terms of juiciness and overall taste, but it lacked that little extra imparted by the smoke which raises a turkey to great new heights, leaving me a new challenge for next year: smoked rotisserie turkey!


Why I’m Still Brining After All These Years

There are plenty of ways to prep a turkey, and even more wonderful ways to cook it.

There’s nothing wrong with simply roasting the darned thing, given that you take care with the cooking — there’s nothing is worse than dry turkey except maybe … well, I can’t think of anything right now.

My personal favorite method of turkey prep is to spatchcock the bird (cut out the backbone and flatten) the bird, quickly cure it by rubbing with kosher salt and spices, and refrigerate it for a day or two. The cure gives me flavor and the spatchcocking allows for fast cooking ergo, reduced moisture loss.

But this year, like so many years, I’m not only wet brining, I’m brine-thawing.

Here’s the situation: Let’s say you wake up Monday or even Tuesday morning facing the reality of a frozen turkey, as in hard-as-Plymouth-rock. You need to have this critter on the table by noon Thursday. Even if you could somehow bend the rules of thermodynamics and thaw it in the fridge in your less-than-ideal time frame, who wants to clear out room in there for a 20-pound hunk of ice? Not I! And even if I did, there would be no time remaining to augment the flavor other than to inject the bird with some kind of “self-basting” solution — that is, assuming you haven’t purchased an augmented bird (i.e. Butterball), which I hope you haven’t.

The solution (see what I did there?) is to thaw the bird by unwrapping it and submerging in a brine contained in a large bucket, cooler, or other food-safe vessel, covered and tucked away in a closet or garage or … wherever. I slap a probe thermometer in the brine with an alarm set to go off if the temperature of the solution rises above 40°F.

That said, I typically go with a two-day soak and have never had an instance where that temperature has been reached. By the time the bird is thawed, the brine has done its job (two jobs, actually) and I’m ready to roast.

Is the flavor as good as the dry cure method? It’s not quite as intense but on scale of 1 to 10, I’d still give it 8.7. And when it comes to leftovers (can you say “sandwich”) I don’t think a brined bird can be beat.


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