Last night with the 80 degree temperatures outside, I curled up in bed with the seasonal spirit to watch the Top Chef Thanksgiving. The chefs split into teams with Emeril Lagasse and Tom Colicchio to cook their family favorite recipes.
On team Emeril, returning cheftestant Josie used her immunity to cook her team’s turkeys for the FareStart organization which trains disadvantaged individuals to become chefs. At some point her birds started looking blackened and she deemed the ovens to be too hot. She dialed down the temperature and played a guessing game.
“Not recommended by the USDA.”
“Coulda cooked a little more, unfortunately, but well seasoned.”
“Good flavor from the outside, but the inside was practically raw.”
All the while, there were no thermometers anywhere. Given the feedback, I presume the judges ate the pink birds.
Back in the kitchen Josie commented, “I’ve had my ups and downs on Top Chef, but, I’m happy with the turkey over all. But the question is, ‘is it overcooked?’ ‘is it dry?’ ‘is it moist?'” Josie was shocked when the judges told her it was undercooked.
Had she used a tip-sensitive digital thermometer, she would have known the answer. Blackened skin does not mean the turkey is cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165F.