Chef Mark Hittle of Bobby Q provides tips for preparing the most delicious meats and veggies for your Christmas holiday.
Tips for Turkey
– Always Brine. To keep my turkey moist, I always make my brine with apple juice. The apple juice in the brine gives it a sweet taste that balances out the salty flavors.
– Prepare Properly for the Last Step: Carving. Carving the turkey can be a little bit stressful, but it is important to learn the proper way to carve it so that you don’t waste any meat. A key thing to keep in mind is to begin with the turkey breast side up and with the legs facing away from you. Make sure that your knife is sharpened and you have a carving fork to help steady it on the cutting board. Then, cut through the skin and cut as close to the leg as possible. Focus on cutting the legs off first before cutting into the body. You’ll want to cut straight through the joint with the knife so you can easily pull it away from the body. I recommend watching some YouTube videos to help you feel more comfortable.
Tips for Roast
-Use Your Vegetables. When cooking a roast, I have learned that it is great to utilize vegetables. Layer vegetables on the bottom of the roasting pan to keep the skin from becoming soggy, and help impact the flavor of the roast throughout.
– Flavor is Important. Now, as far as seasoning goes, make sure that if you want to marinate your roast, you do it a couple of days in advance so the seasoning can penetrate past the surface of the meat. However, if you don’t want to marinate your roast, I recommend pre-seasoning at least a few hours ahead of time to make sure it catches all the flavors that you want. You can get creative with your seasoning and combine different flavors to create a unique and flavorful combination.
Tips for Ham
– Use Glaze. I like using glaze with my ham. I always advise people to make their own and avoid those pre-made glazes. One of my favorite glazes I have made has a little bit of cinnamon whiskey mixed into it. I encourage everyone to get a little creative with their glazes this holiday season. Make sure you don’t burn your glaze, so apply it about 20-30 minutes before taking it out of the oven.
– Understand Your Ham’s Needs. When cooking ham it is to make sure you understand how long your ham needs to bake ahead of time. The cooking time of a ham can vary based on its weight, cut, and whether it is cooked or uncooked. EXPERT TIP: Loosely cover your ham with foil to help ensure that it doesn’t dry out and will cook evenly.
– Cook in Batches. I have learned that the biggest mistake people make when preparing their food is having too much food in the oven. Sometimes patience is required when cooking and while it may be faster to put a lot of food in the oven, it will take longer for everything to cook and can affect the quality and texture. To ensure you don’t make this mistake, cook in batches and put in the extra time… it will be worth it.