Most people only think about cooking turkeys whole. They treat the turkey breast, thigh, and leg the same, whether roasted, smoked, or fried.
I, on the other hand, am a huge fan of cutting up the bird and giving each piece the respect it deserves. Legs can be smoked and grilled like you might find at a country fair. Thighs can be given the star treatment, utilizing the fat content to braise them down in wine. I fry the wings and treat them like oversize chicken drums and flappers.
As for the turkey breasts, I roast them with some homemade barbecue butter. The skin stays crispy while leaving the meat juicy and flavorful, which is much easier to accomplish while cooking the turkey breasts on their own rather than the whole turkey at once! — Jay D. Ducote
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- 8 cups water
- ½ cup plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 (3-pound) bone-in skin-on turkey breasts
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup BBQ Butter, recipe follows
- In a large stockpot, add 8 cups water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer. Add ½ cup salt, sugar, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and white pepper; whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a large bowl or 1-gallon resealable plastic bags. Add turkey breasts, making sure to completely submerge; refrigerate at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 325°.
- Remove turkey from brine, and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides with remaining 2 teaspoons salt and black pepper. In a large roasting pan with rack, place turkey breasts skin side up.
- Roast turkeys, basting with BBQ Butter every 15 to 20 minutes, until skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 165° when inserted into the thickest part of the breast, about 2 hours. If skin browns too quickly, cover loosely with foil and continue cooking.
- Transfer turkeys to a platter, tent with with aluminum foil, and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing diagonally. Serve with pan juices.
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup barbecue sauce, such as Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add barbecue sauce, and whisk to combine. Keep warm until ready to use.