Turkey Throw-Down

What's the best way to keep the turkey's breast meat from drying out before the legs and thighs are cooked?

Stuffed Turkey Breast

Stuffed Turkey Breast

See the Stuffed Turkey Breast recipeAndré Baranowski

The question is older than Thanksgiving itself: How do you keep the turkey's breast meat from drying out before the legs and thighs are cooked? One of the easiest solutions we've seen came from New Orleans restaurateur Leah Chase, who encloses her turkey in foil to lock in moisture before uncovering the bird to brown it. The white meat-dark meat question ignited a little competitive spirit between me and Hunter Lewis, SAVEUR's test kitchen director, about our own techniques. He came out swinging, offering a persuasive case for cooking white meat and dark meat separately, brining the breast in an herb-and-salt solution while preserving the legs in duck fat, then crisping them in the oven. Against the ropes, I countered with my own secret tactic, which also involves separating the legs from the breast: I roll the breast around moist stuffing and bake it, then braise the legs in a wine-enriched stock. The decision? Both methods yielded darned delicious dishes.