HOW TO COOK THE PERFECT TURKEY SO YOU CAN MAKE THIS INCREDIBLE LEFTOVER SANDWICH
Thanksgiving dinner is nice and all, but let’s face it—it’s the leftovers that we’re truly thankful for. And while we’re perfectly happy with the standard turkey-stuffing-cranberry-sauce sandwich, a trip to Stacked Sandwich Shop made us wonder: Could we improve on the classic?
We took the question to Gabe Pascuzzi, chef and owner of Stacked. His answer: Absolutely—but before you even think about the sandwich, you have to get your turkey just right.
Lucky for us, Pascuzzi was generous enough to share both his no-fail Thanksgiving turkey recipe and his recipe for what we’re going to go ahead and call the BEST Thanksgiving leftover sandwich ever.
THE BEST-EVER, NEVER-DRY, FULL-OF-FLAVOR THANKSGIVING TURKEY
1 whole turkey
1 1/2 cups salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 gallon water
1 cinnamon stick, toasted
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs of thyme
4 cloves of garlic, cut in half
2 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns, toasted
1 Tbsp. coriander, toasted
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
Toast all your spices (peppercorns, cinnamon, coriander) in a 12-quart pot.
Pour in vinegar, plus 1/2 the water. Add salt and sugar, and stir.
Cut the orange in half and the grapefruit in quarters. Squeeze juice into the pot, then drop in the rinds as well.
Bring to a boil.
Remove from the heat and add the other half of the water (cold)—this will help cool down the brine faster. You can also make the brine a day or two ahead of time.
Brine the turkey in the refrigerator for 4 – 7 days (ideally, at least 6).* Pull the turkey out of brine the night before to air dry on a rack.
Preheat your oven to 330F. Pull the turkey out of the refrigerator an hour before you’re going to start cooking it. This lets the meat come to room temperature, which helps the inside cook evenly with the outside.
Cook the turkey until the internal temperature on the thickest part of the breast is 155 degrees* Fahrenheit, Pull the turkey out and let it rest for at least 20 minutes. You can then carve and serve your perfect turkey.
*Gabe suggests putting a garbage bag in a large bucket, putting the turkey in, and then pouring in the brine and tying the bag tightly.
**The turkey will carry-over cook after you take it out of the oven, eventually reaching the recommended 165F degrees for poultry.
THE LEFTOVER SANDWICH THAT’S SO GOOD IT WILL MAKE YOU FORGET ABOUT BLACK FRIDAY SALES
NOTE: We love Pascuzzi’s unfussy approach to this. “Use all of these ingredients as inspiration, but use whatever version of them you have on hand. If you have raspberry jam instead of apricot, go for it. If you have a different leftover salad than the one on this list, use
Bread (leftover rolls from the big feast, sandwich bread, gluten-free—whatever you have on hand)
Leftover turkey, sliced
Goat cheese, softened for easy spreading
Roasted delicata squash
Apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Spread one side of the bread with apricot jam and the other with goat cheese.
Pile the turkey on one of the slices of bread, and then layer the roasted squash on top.
Prep your arugula mix. First, whisk two parts olive oil, 1 part apple cider vinegar, and a bit of whole-grain mustard together. In a separate bowl, add arugula, apples, and pomegranate seeds. Season with a sprinkle of salt, and toss in the dressing until well combined.
Pile arugula mix on top of the turkey, add the other piece of bread, slice, and enjoy