Cook's Illustrated

The Best Turkey You’ll Ever Eat

I know a lot about turkey—I’ve roasted hundreds of birds while developing two previous recipes for this magazine. I’m adept at keeping the delicate breast meat moist while ensuring that the longer-cooking legs and thighs turn tender. I have tricks for seasoning the flesh all the way to the bone, producing crackling brown skin, and maximizing the flavors of herbs and spices. But if I really wanted to wow you with a single unadorned bite—no drizzle of gravy, no sprinkle of flaky salt, no dollop of cranberry sauce—I wouldn’t bother with any of those techniques. I’d make turkey confit.

The term “confit” is derived from the French verb “confire,” which means “to preserve.” Before refrigeration, confit was used as a simple and effective way to prolong the shelf life of foods, including duck or goose parts. The poultry was cured in salt and then gently poached in its own fat before being buried beneath the fat and stored in an airtight crock. At serving time, all that was needed was a blast of heat to crisp the skin. Today, all types of dark-meat poultry, pork, and game are given the treatment (tender white meat

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