No stuffing, nor basting?! Wheeling chef nixes tradition for juicy turkey


Here's how to impress your mother AND mother-in-law this Thanksgiving... And it starts with not following their recipes.

OHIO COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) – Grab your aprons and that turkey! 7NEWS was in West Virginia Northern’s kitchen cooking up a story with one chef on how not to ruin your Thanksgiving meal.  

“A million different things you can do with it. I usually like to take compound butter and rub it underneath the skin. The butter will melt down into the breast and keep it from drying out. Normally, the breast is going to dry out faster than any other part of the bird.” 

Gene Evans, Assistant Professor of Culinary Arts at West Virginia Northern 

Gene’s rule of thumb: 38 minutes per pound of turkey, cooked at 350 degrees. He says *turkey jerky* should be avoided at all costs, even if it means not actually stuffing in the stuffing! 

The one thing I don’t do is stuff my turkey. The reason I don’t do that is because the internal temperature of the bird has to be 165 degrees. That includes the stuffing. So, by the time we get through this entire bird, and get a thermometer reading on the stuffing, the bird might be 180 degrees which is way hotter than we want it to, which is just going to dry it out.

Gene Evans, Assistant Professor of Culinary Arts at West Virginia Northern

“I try not to baste either,” added the chef. “Because every time we open the door, we’re losing 25 degrees of temperature. The best thing to do is put it in, set a timer, and enjoy some football for a while.”

But, if you want to get fancy, we mean impressing the mother-in-law, meet the turkey roulade:

We actually took the whole bird, broke it down from the carcass, pounded out the breast really thin and then took it, wrapped it in the skin and put the stuffing inside of it.

Once we got this nice little tube, then we just wrapped it in some foil really nice and tight. What we did with these is we actually poached them. So, just a simmering pot of water. Just drop this in. About 45 minutes to cook this little guy, with the plastic wrap on.

We take it out of this pack, let it rest a little bit, and then brown it in some butter.

Gene Evans, Assistant Professor of Culinary Arts at West Virginia Northern

Once cooked, however which way you cooked it, let your turkey rest for 10-30 minutes before cutting.

Chef Evan’s biggest piece of advice is to peel the potatoes, bake the pies, and get all other prep done on Wednesday so you can spend more time with your family on Thanksgiving.

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