Green Goddess Dressing Will Save Your Leftover Turkey Sandwich


Welcome to Never Fail, a weekly column where we wax poetic about the recipes that never, ever let us down.

In the pantheon of sandwiches, those made from Thanksgiving leftovers reign supreme. (Sorry fried chicken sandwiches. I’ll always love you!) My family takes our next-day sandwiches so seriously, we put the turkey basting and pie decorating on pause to whip up a condiment for the next day. Yes, we prep for our leftovers, and no, we’re not crazy. We just know a turkey sandwich enhanced with green goddess dressing is worth it.

Sandwich-ify Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

For the uninitiated, green goddess is a vibrant and garlicky dressing that (probably) originated in 1923 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. It combines a prodigious amounts of herbs like chives and parsley with salty anchovies and a creamy base, often mayonnaise and sour cream. The bright green hue suggests it is healthy. I assure you it is not. However, it is unquestionably delicious—and a recipe that’s been passed down in my family for at least three generations. (The food-spattered recipe cards suggest longer, but nobody can remember for sure.)

Once you acquire a taste for green goddess dressing you become insatiable, which is probably why a romaine salad drenched in the stuff became a staple on my family’s Thanksgiving dinner table years ago. One day, in a stroke of genius, someone added the extra dressing to their next-day leftovers sandwich. It was perfect! We collectively lost our minds.


Elizabeth Cecil

You could use the dressing for a crunchy Thanksgiving Day salad…or just save it all for sandwiches. Your call.

Turkey has a nasty habit of drying out even when beautifully brined and roasted. Constructing a sandwich with cut up, day-old meat on crusty bread only worsens the dryness, which is why true sandwich heads know that it’s critical to introduce something creamy to keep things delicious. Ross and Monica had the Moistmaker—an unholy marriage of turkey and stuffing joined by a thick slice of gravy-soaked bread. I admire their boldness, but frankly, green goddess dressing is the only way to go.

The Moistmaker introduces wetness and doubles down on flavors already existing in the sandwich, but green goddess adds herbaceous creaminess and the perfect amount of tang, fortified with some anchovy funk. It elevates Thanksgiving leftovers into something truly special—but of course, no one in their right mind wants to cook (or do dishes) the day after Thanksgiving. That’s why it’s important to carve out a small section of Thanksgiving prep time to make the dressing. Use it in a salad if you like, but my family hasn’t made that romaine salad for years. We save all that beautiful dressing for the leftovers. It’s worth it.

Get a green goddess dressing recipe here:



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If You Care About Thanksgiving Leftovers, You Need to Make an Extra Turkey Breast


If you want the best leftover turkey sandwich of your life, you have to make an extra turkey breast. That’s just how it works. It sounds like turkey overdose, but we promise you, you’ll thank us when you take the first bite of the sandwich that will change your day-after Thanksgiving tradition forever.

The ultimate flaw of the next-day turkey sandwich is that the turkey breast that was sliced from your beautiful bird has dried out even more in the fridge. Your mouth is going to be walking through a poultry desert no matter how much mayo you slather on that thing. That’s why you take out the ultimate turkey insurance policy. You roast a bone-in, skin-on turkey breast in addition to whatever else you’re making for Thanksgiving.

Wait, turkey breast that’s attached to the bone? But not to the turkey?

Yes, precisely. Cooking turkey breast by itself is the perfect move for turkey sandwich obsessives, because it lets you concentrate on cooking the turkey breast to perfection, without worrying about whether or not the dark meat off to the sides has finished cooking. And if you’re unfamiliar with the cut, have no fear, because a bone-in, skin-on turkey breast isn’t hard to find at your grocery store, especially around the holidays.

We like the breast to have the skin on and the bone attached, because it offers a bit of insulation for the meat, giving you a juicer, more tender turkey when you roast it. (You can definitely fry or grill the breast, but the evenly distributed heat of an oven will cook your turkey more gently—especially when you follow our method right here.) They also offer the meat an extra dose of flavor as it cooks, since they’re filled with fat, proteins, and collagen.



Always cut against the grain!

And while we’re on the subject of flavor, you should absolutely be seasoning your turkey breast with a dry-brine. A dry-brine will deliver flavor quickly and efficiently, while taking up less space than the large, turkey-sized tub of wet brine that would be sitting in your fridge. We’re really into the dry-brine from this dry-rubbed turkey breast recipe, which is packed with coriander, fennel, kosher salt, brown sugar, and black pepper. Plus, all that salt helps break down the tough turkey fibers a bit, again helping keep everything nice and moist.

Having an untouched, perfectly-cooked breast makes slicing up meat for a turkey club the next day effortless. But it also offers a couple other options: You can serve it the night of Thanksgiving as the star of your platter—or as backup, should the breast on your main turkey end up dry. Roasting a skin-on, bone-in breast is also a great move if you’re only cooking for a couple people, or have never roasted a turkey before. It’s a more approachable, less intimidating way to get that bird on the table.

Yeah, maybe the idea of roasting an extra turkey breast seems gratuitous. But this is Thanksgiving. It comes once a year, and you better be bringing your A-game. The turkey breast is insurance that you will. Do it for yourself. Do it for your guests. But also, more importantly, do it for the sandwich.

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Maybe You Shouldn’t Roast Your Turkey This Thanksgiving


Every Monday night, Bon Appétit editor in chief Adam Rapoport gives us a peek inside his brain by taking over our newsletter. He shares recipes he’s been cooking, restaurants he’s been eating at, and more. It gets better: If you sign up for our newsletter, you’ll get this letter before everyone else.

Don’t roast your turkey this year

If I could offer one piece of Thanksgiving advice, it would be this: braise your turkey.

I know, I know—am I insane! Am I really telling you not to roast your bird, to not present a Norman Rockwell-worthy centerpiece for your holiday table?

Yes, that is exactly what I’m telling you.

A couple years ago, I riffed on Bon App’s braised turkey legs recipe and it was a revelation—rich, tender, fall-off-the-bone meat, cloaked in a silky, oniony, wine-y gravy. It was like turkey carnitas.

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And I was even able to cook the entire dish ahead of time, so I never had to worry about frantically checking the doneness of the bird, or comparing the temperature of the dark meat to the white, or fretting about opening the oven door too often.

The the most important step in the braising process is your first step: Call your butcher or ask the meat counter of your go-to grocery store if they can break down a turkey for you. You want the legs and thighs removed (I like them separated, so you’re left with four large pieces), and then have the breast meat taken off the bone.


Christopher Testani

This will allow you to braise your dark meat in a Dutch oven early in the day. And if your butcher counter is a full-service type joint, they’ll roll and season and maybe even wrap your turkey breast in pancetta or bacon. Then you can roast it in the oven to pin-point doneness as a porchetta-style roast turkey, in far less time than it would take to cook a whole bird.

When my wife and I last hosted two years ago, the rolled breast was…good. Ideal for next-day leftover sandwiches.

But the braised dark meat stole the show. Just before sitting down, I hit the slow-cooked legs and thighs with the broiler to crisp up the skin. Then I pulled the meat off the bone, shredding it with a couple forks and set it on a large platter. I studded it with cipollini onions from the pot and bathed the whole thing with the fragrant braising liquid.

There were no leftovers. And what’s a better compliment than that?

Get the recipes:

Stock-Braised Turkey Legs
Porchetta-Style Turkey Breast


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This Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy Is a Savior


Thanksgiving week is what we call GO TIME. The flickering grocery store lights become too familiar. The fridge begins to lose every inch of free space. Printed recipes taped to different cabinets make the kitchen look like a war room on a crime show. Planning what to make ahead—from three days before to the morning of—is a home cook’s final exam. We waited all year for this! And usually, gravy is assumedly a day-of dish, made with scalding turkey drippings, frantically stirred with the one roux you make a year, maybe too thick or too thin but hurry and get that thing on the table!

Let’s make it ahead this year.

Andy Baraghani wanted a velvety, flavor-packed gravy that you can get over with days in advance, reheat on Thanksgiving, with no one ever knowing the difference. You can either use turkey stock or boxed chicken stock (the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen likes Pacific brand). But because store-bought stock lacks complexity and depth and can veer to the sweeter side, Andy doctors it up with a burst of umami—that savory fifth taste triggered by good Parmesan cheese and funky mushrooms. Here’s how he does it.

umami gravy

Photo by Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott, food styling by Rebecca Jurkevich, prop styling by Kalen Kaminski

Look who planned ahead.

With a Turkey Neck

You know how your turkey comes with a bag of giblets and other turkey…innards? In this recipe, you brown the turkey neck, creating a fond—the French term for a layer of caramelized fat on the bottom of a pot. That fond (🙄) adds backbone and depth and turkey flavor. It’s the base layer of our umami gravy.

With Some Onions

We don’t normally think about onions as being sweet, but damn, they are sweet. In this recipe, you need to cook them until they’re tender and browning around the edges, a quick cook, not the low-and-slow caramelized onion method, which makes them waaaay too sweet. That almost burnt edge gives the gravy a deep savory note.

With Shiitake Mushrooms

These add mega-umami. Absolute must.

umami gravy process 3

Photo by Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott, food styling by Rebecca Jurkevich, prop styling by Kalen Kaminski

Spooning the stock into the roux.

With a Fortified Stock

Once all of the base aromatics and elements have browned and done their thing, you add the neck back in the pot with whatever stock you’re using and cook it like a stock, then strain. After that you follow the usual gravy steps: Make a roux with fine flour and butter, gradually whisking in the fortified stock. It’ll thicken into a smooth, dreamy gravy and we call it quits when it coats the back of a (very necessary) taste-testing spoon.

umami gravy process

Photo by Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott, food styling by Rebecca Jurkevich, prop styling by Kalen Kaminski

That final hit.

With a Final Drop of Soy Sauce

Just a teaspoon, at the end (so it won’t cook off). The final umami hit. The extra credit. Then you can refrigerate it two days before the big day, reheating and whisking it to perfection on the stove.

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The No-Fail Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe Is Here


In the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen, being assigned the Thanksgiving turkey is a big deal. It’s a right of passage, a responsibility earned with seniority. This year, Andy Baraghani got the call. “It’s an honor,” Andy told me, “like I’m nominated for an Oscar. It’s just an honor to be nominated. Well, in this case, I won the Oscar.” He started waving away tears (Andy watches a lot of Oscar speeches late at night.)

The Thanksgiving menu for 2018 focused on finding the best possible versions of classics; this wasn’t a moment to get kooky, but to get technical. And the bird was no exception. The assignment: Develop a foolproof, always-turns-out-right turkey recipe. Every element was considered to the nth degree. Golden, crackly skin. Juicy interior. Actual turkey flavor. In the end, we got this recipe from Andy, which I’ll break down one crucial point at a time. It’ll be fun, though—a real turkey ride on the way to optimal turkeytown. This is how you get there.

First, we dry brine

Andy’s recipe calls for a salt and sugar dry rub, massaged all over the bird 12 hours (or up to two days) before the big day. This is the key to a juicy, actually delicious turkey (and chicken too!). That’s because the salt pulls out the water from inside the turkey, creating some salty turkey juices (SORRY there’s no other way to say it) that, after some time hanging out in the fridge, soak back into the bird like the giant meat sponge that it is. The turkey loses a lot of water when it cooks in the oven, but the salt helps the muscles retain more moisture, meaning the turkey will stay moist-er by eating time. The salt also helps loosen up the stringy turkey muscles, making it possible for us to enjoy this thing. Beyond that, and if you like to throw around words like “osmosis,” I highly recommend reading the entirety of J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s The Food Lab, or just this article on brining. Regardless of what is going on beneath the surface of the flesh, the salt and sugar are amplifying flavor, and the sugar helps with that Norman Rockwell golden amber color once it caramelizes in the oven.

dry rubbed turkey breast

Photo by Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott, food styling by Rebecca Jurkevich, prop styling by Kalen Kaminski

Juicy turkey is possible, people. Let‘s make dreams happen.

Why dry is better than wet brine

Or maybe you enjoy filling a huge cooler or tub, Splash mermaid-bath-style, with salt water? It’s a pain, it’s a mess, and that bucket of brine takes up way too much real estate in the refrigerator. Plus, it ends up waterlogging the turkey and diluting the flavor.

Then we glaze

Thing we all want: a turkey with a cover-worthy sheen and golden color. Get it with Andy’s simple sweet-punchy-herby glaze made of vinegar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, garlic, orange zest, and butter. (Can also be accomplished by covering it with butter and leaving it on your roof, Kramer-style??). You paint the glaze on every 30 minutes, which might only be two or three times because…

What you need to know about timing

The recipe is timed so that you go hard at the beginning, 450° for 30 minutes, to get some color on the skin, and then go down to 300° for 65-85 minutes (this is for a 12–14-lb turkey). This isn’t your wake-up-at-the-crack-of-dawn all-day turkey marathon recipe.

What you need to know about pans

Ring a bell or something! I have an announcement. This recipe calls for a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack. Like this one. Without the high walls of a roasting pan, the turkey is able to get color ALL OVER, which we skin-stealers like. But yes, you can still totally do this in a regular roasting pan. (Especially if you’re the clumsy type—it’s a big, heavy turkey on a wire rack.)

dry rubbed roast turkey process

Photo by Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott, food styling by Rebecca Jurkevich, prop styling by Kalen Kaminski

So yeah, we used a roasting pan in this photo shoot.

Pro tip: Add a cup of water in the bottom of the baking sheet to mix with the turkey juices (AGAIN, MY APOLOGIES). The water keeps the juices from burning and making the turkey taste burnt, even if it technically isn’t. Too much water will steam your turkey though, and while a turkey sauna sounds like some kind of Black Friday wellness deal, we DON’T WANT IT. Steam = soggy skin.

What you need to know about the turkey’s internal temperature

Stab the turkey with your trusty Thermapen in the thickest part of breast near the neck, and when it registers 150°, you’re done. If that sounds low, don’t be alarmed, it’s going to keep cooking outside of the oven. It’s so big, it’s become a turkey oven itself.

Rest that turkey!!!

This might be a duh for SOME of you but we gotta repeat: Let the finished bird lie there. On the cutting board, away from prying uncles and sniffy dogs. For at least 30 minutes, to an hour. This thing is an animal. The muscles tighten while cooking, and we want to be able to slice it and shove it into our faces, as animals ourselves. Let it rest to let those muscles relax, to let the inner juices (SORRY x3) redistribute. Will it cool down in that time? NO. It retains heat like an industrial sleeping bag.

Any further questions? Ask us. Seriously. Email bonappetitfoodcast@gmail and Carla Lalli Music will be answering all Thanksgiving queries on the BA Foodcast this month.

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This Thanksgiving, Put Your Turkey on the Grill


Every Wednesday night, Bon Appétit food director Carla Lalli Music takes over our newsletter with a sleeper-hit recipe from the Test Kitchen vault. It gets better: If you sign up for our newsletter, you’ll get this letter before everyone else.

The best turkey is grilled turkey

I got a message from a friend last night asking for my all-time Thanksgiving hit list, and since we are officially within the three-week training period leading up to the holidays, I figured we should just jump right in.

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There are a lot of recipes that Bon Appétit has published over the years that have weaseled their way into my family’s holiday menu, and some of them have even been invited back. There’s the famous salted butter apple galette; the already-legendary-even-though-they-were-just-published burnished potato nuggets (check them out below); the world-famous hasselback butternut squash; and these sticky, garlicky sweet potatoes that my father now demands every year. But the one dish that I will literally never not make—even if it means we have two competing birds on the table—is a barbecue-inspired, spiced, brined, and smoky grilled turkey. It is, as the kids say, legit.

This recipe wins at everything because it optimizes every element of turkey cookery and fool-proofs the entire process. I can prove it!

burnished potato nuggets

Photo by Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott, food styling by Rebecca Jurkevich, prop styling by Kalen Kaminski

True or False:

Turkey is bland
False! Turkey is bland when you don’t season it. This turkey is blanketed with hot paprika, mustard powder, ground cumin and cayenne, light brown sugar, and salt. (Okay, fine, I skipped one ingredient: dried savory. With all due respect to Rick Martinez, the ace food editor who created this edible creature, dried savory is ridiculous and no one is going to go buy it. I prefer to use dried oregano. My house, my rules!) This spice mix sits on the turkey for a half-day, but I’ve done it overnight to no ill effects.

The turkey hogs all the oven space
Not when it’s grilled, it doesn’t! Cooking your turkey over live fire is a brilliant decision on so many levels. For starters, it puts you, the cook, in the great outdoors, where you can both appreciate nature and avoid pesky family members and guests that you’ve had enough of. It’s the holidays, after all. If you love everyone who’s coming over, then they can join you at the grill. Maybe they’ll bring you a hot cider or a beer. Between you and me, you don’t even need to stay out at the grill the whole time, since the turkey cooks with the grill lid closed, and doesn’t need to be flipped once. Don’t tell anyone that, make them think you’re doing extremely important pitmaster stuff that only you can do, and it would be a lot better for everyone’s dinner if they could fetch you another beer, thanks. Smoke and turkey meat are a match made in heaven—there’s a good amount of richness in turkey meat (especially in the legs and thighs) that makes it particularly well suited to wood-charred flavor.

Cooking turkey takes all day
Not true this time! Giant whole turkeys take a long time to roast, no doubt, a problem that is worsened when Great Aunt Jeanette puts a still frozen bird in the oven. Our cooking process is hastened dramatically because we call for a split turkey, and those halves, with all their exposed surface area, only need an hour on the grill. One. Hour!

Turkey is dry
Gigantic turkeys that roast for a million hours are dry. Split turkeys that are brined, then cooked over moderate heat for 60 minutes, are juicy to the bone, with tobacco-colored skin and smoky-spicy meat.


© Peden and Munk LLC

Everyone will get mad if I do something “non-traditional”
Extremely false. There is plenty of butter, parsley, sage, rosemary, cranberry, sweet potato, white potato, and stuffing on the table. This particular turkey has some spice, yes, but it’s 100 percent complementary to everything else on offer, and if my own personal focus group is any indication, absolutely no one will have a problem with having one new thing in the mix. If someone you love really wants a classic bird, that’s fine, too. Give them this crowd-pleasing recipe and let them have at it. After all, the oven’s free!

Get the recipe:

Barbecue Spice–Brined Grilled Turkey


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Turkey won’t ‘allow a coverup’ of Khashoggi killing


ISTANBUL—Turkey will “never allow a coverup” of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, a senior official in Turkey’s ruling party said Saturday after Saudi Arabia announced hours earlier that the writer died during a “fistfight” in its consulate.

The critical reaction by Numan Kurtulmus, deputy head of the Justice and Development Party, suggested that Turkey, which started its own investigation amid pro-government media reports that a Saudi hit squad killed Khashoggi, was not prepared to go along with the Saudi version of what happened to the writer.

“It’s not possible for the Saudi administration to wiggle itself out of this crime if it’s confirmed,” Kurtulmus said. He also said that Turkey would share its evidence of Khashoggi’s killing with the world and that a “conclusive result” of the investigation is close.

Another Turkish ruling party official also criticized Saudi Arabia, saying the kingdom should have given its explanation “before the situation reached this point.”

Leyla Sahin Usta, a human rights official in the ruling party, said it would have been “more valuable” if Saudi officials had earlier admitted that Khashoggi was killed in its diplomatic post.

Saudi Arabia initially denied any knowledge of the disappearance of Khashoggi, who vanished after entering its consulate on Oct. 2. But early Saturday, it admitted that he was killed there and said 18 Saudi suspects were in custody and intelligence officials had been fired.

The overnight announcements in Saudi state media came more than two weeks after Khashoggi, 59, entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul for paperwork required to marry his Turkish fiancée, and never came out. They also contradicted assertions in Turkish media leaks that Khashoggi was tortured, killed and dismembered inside the consulate, claims the kingdom had rejected as “baseless.”

But growing international pressure and comments by U.S. officials up to President Donald Trump forced the kingdom to acknowledge Khashoggi’s death.

While it fired officials close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia stopped short of implicating the heir-apparent of the world’s largest oil exporter. King Salman, his father, appointed him to lead a committee that will restructure the kingdom’s intelligence services after Khashoggi’s slaying. No major decisions in Saudi Arabia are made outside of the ultraconservative kingdom’s ruling Al Saud family.

The kingdom also offered a far different version of events than those given by Turkish officials, who have said an “assassination squad” from the kingdom including an official from Prince Mohammed’s entourage and an “autopsy expert” flew in ahead of time and laid in wait for Khashoggi at the consulate. Beyond its statements attributed to anonymous officials, Saudi Arabia offered no evidence to support its claims.

Khashoggi, a prominent journalist and royal court insider for decades in Saudi Arabia, had written columns for The Washington Post critical of Prince Mohammed and the kingdom’s direction while living in self-imposed exile in the U.S.

“God have mercy on you my love Jamal, and may you rest in Paradise,” Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, tweeted following the Saudi announcements.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “deeply troubled” by the confirmation of the violent death of Khashoggi, a spokesman said.

Guterres “stresses the need for a prompt, thorough and transparent investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Khashoggi’s death and full accountability for those responsible,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

Standing outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the head of a media group said the “authority that gave the orders” in the killing of Khashoggi should be punished.

Turan Kislakci, president of the Turkish Arab Media Association, said Khashoggi was “slaughtered by bloody murderers” and that his group wants “true justice” for its slain colleague.

In a statement Friday night, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the U.S. will closely follow international investigations into Khashoggi’s death and will advocate for justice that is “timely, transparent and in accordance with all due process.”

Trump meanwhile called the Saudi announcement a “good first step,” but said what happened to Khashoggi was “unacceptable.”

The announcements came in a flurry of statements carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency early Saturday morning.

“Preliminary investigations conducted by the Public Prosecution showed that the suspects had travelled to Istanbul to meet with the citizen Jamal Khashoggi as there were indications of the possibility of his returning back to the country,” the statement read. “Discussions took place with the citizen Jamal Khashoggi during his presence in the consulate of the kingdom in Istanbul by the suspects (that) did not go as required and developed in a negative way, leading to a fistfight. The brawl led to his death and their attempt to conceal and hide what happened.”

There’s been no indication Khashoggi had any immediate plans to return to the kingdom.

The Saudi statements did not identify the 18 Saudis being held by authorities and did not explain how so many people could have been involved in a fistfight. The statement also did not shed any light on what happened to Khashoggi’s body after his death.

“The kingdom expresses its deep regret at the painful developments that have taken place and stresses the commitment of the authorities in the kingdom to bring the facts to the public opinion, to hold all those involved accountable and bring them to justice,” the statement said.

The kingdom at the same time announced the firing of four top intelligence officials, including Maj. Gen. Ahmed bin Hassan Assiri, a one-time spokesman for the Saudi military’s campaign in Yemen who later became a confidant of Prince Mohammed.

Saud Qahtani, a powerful adviser to Prince Mohammed, also was fired. Qahtani had led Saudi efforts to isolate Qatar amid a boycott of the country by the kingdom and three other Arab nations as part of a political dispute.

On Twitter, where Qahtani had launched vitriolic attacks against those he saw as the kingdom’s enemies, he thanked the Saudi government for the “great opportunity they gave me to serve my country all those years.”

“I will remain a loyal servant to my country for all times,” he wrote.

Assiri had no immediate comment.

Earlier this week, the Turkish pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak, citing what it described as an audio recording of Khashoggi’s slaying, said a Saudi assassination squad seized the journalist after he entered the consulate, cutting off his fingers and later decapitating him. On Thursday, a leaked surveillance photo put Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a member of Prince Mohammed’s entourage on trips to the U.S., France and Spain this year, at the consulate just ahead of Khashoggi’s arrival.


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Dry-Rubbed Roast Turkey


Our never-fail turkey produces a holiday centerpiece that is excellent in every way that other turkeys often fall short. It’s not bland, thanks to a sugar-and-salt dry rub. It’s juicy as heck, because we nailed the optimal target temperature. And cooking the turkey on a rimmed baking sheet is great for all-over browning.


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Dry-Rubbed Turkey Breast Recipe | Bon Appetit


Place turkey on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. (If you don’t have this setup, place your turkey on a V-shape rack set inside a large roasting pan.) Sprinkle dry brine all over both sides of turkey breast, patting to adhere. You won’t need all of the dry brine, but it’s good to have extra since some of it will end up on the baking sheet as you season the turkey breast. Chill, uncovered, at least 12 hours and up to 2 days.


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Canadian turkey sales are plummeting. B.C.’s industry thinks it may have a solution


VANCOUVER—The familiar odour of ammonia wafts through the air as fourth-generation farmer Derek Edwards swings open the wooden doors to one of his heated barns, greeted by 4,000 juvenile turkeys, several of which dash over to peck at his feet.

The Edwards farm in Richmond is more than a century old, and Derek, 43, is the latest in a line of turkey farmers, with roots tracing back to the British Isles. Turkey is involved in nearly every aspect of his family’s lives. It’s their protein each day for their meals and it’s the family’s source of income. Even his twin daughters’ pets are turkeys: Blackie and Whitie, named after the black and white colours of their plumage.

But there are fewer birds in the Edwards barn compared to five years ago. The industry as a whole is shrinking, with Canadians consuming fewer whole turkeys per year and nowhere more so than in Vancouver.

“Not as many people are eating turkey for holidays,” Edwards said, as he listened to the distinctive chirps of his four-week-old Christmas flock, wary of signs of distress. “The families aren’t as big as they used to be. For a lot of new Canadians, I don’t think we really have broken into that segment of the population.”

The Canadian turkey industry is in trouble. Retail sales have decreased steadily: Industry figures show that more than a quarter of annual sales at grocery-store checkout counters — the equivalent of 22 million kilograms of turkey — have disappeared over the past 15 years.

In British Columbia, the province hit hardest by the decline (annual grocery-store sales in the province are down by more than six million kilograms since 2002, according to Turkey Farmers of Canada), industry leaders are grasping at possible explanations, such as lack of advertising by grocery chains and lack of appetite among a growing population of Asian and South Asian customers.

“That’s just another sign of our times,” said Trevor Allen, who raises about 12,000 free-range turkeys each year at his farm in Chilliwack, B.C. “You know what, I did see a real spike in my whole-bird sales when we had 9/11. People were screaming for it. I think what happened is people suddenly realized family is important. Then, it slowly, started going to wherever it is today.”

The losses have been difficult for an industry that relies so much on holiday retail sales, said Michel Benoit, general manager with the B.C. Turkey Marketing Board. With Thanksgiving and the winter holidays rapidly approaching, the marketing board has been working furiously to find new customers among the Asian and South Asian customers who have traditionally shied away from the festive bird.

“This weekend, we had in-store demos where we were sampling turkey with some Asian sauces in five different locations that were highly Chinese or South Asian populated,” Benoit said in mid-September. “We wanted to show them it’s a good protein source, it’s a tasty product and it’s something they should try.”

Asians and South Asians have, in recent decades, been among the fastest-growing immigrant populations in B.C. According to the 2016 Census, the population the two ethnic groups have grown by nearly half a million since 2001.

Henry Beh, a Chinese-Malaysian immigrant who moved to B.C. four decades ago, said festive options for the Chinese community tend to involve barbecued chicken, pork or duck, meats that are perceived to have a more tender and juicier profile.

“Whenever there’s a festival, Autumn Festival or Chinese New Year, there will be 30 to 100 people lining up just because they want to buy the barbecue. But turkey, I don’t see any turkey barbecued at the Chinese stores. It’s seen as not desirable,” Beh said.

Even if the Asian and South Asian communities were to buy in, a systemic problem would remain: an enormous amount of turkey purchased for Thanksgiving and Christmas is priced at a loss. At most grocery stores, it’s common to see whole-turkey deals for 99 cents a pound or less. That leaves virtually no room for retailers to make a profit, since B.C. turkey producers wholesale their live birds at a market-controlled rate of about 91 cents a pound.

“It’s great for us — we get to sell a bunch of turkeys,” said Benoit, of the marketing board. “But, on the other hand, the rest of the year, there’s a reluctance by people to pay $4 (per pound). It fixes in the consumer the mindset that 99 cents a pound for turkey is a fair price and anything over that is not.”

In response, some producers, including Derek Edwards in Richmond, have diversified their flocks so as to include “specialty” and organic birds that, because they’re given better feed and more space to roam in, go for as much as $20 a pound at high-end grocers like Whole Foods.

But, at the moment, premium, specialty and organic products make up just seven per cent of all turkey production in the province.

Dion Wiebe is CEO of Rossdown Natural Foods, one of B.C. main producers of organic turkey. Wiebe said his primary customers tend to purchase exclusively organic foods, representing a limited niche that shows slow signs of growth.

“There’s all kinds of debate why the whole-bird consumption is down. I think the whole demographic is shifting and changing,” he said. “I think there’s a generation — you give them a whole turkey and they go, ‘What? I don’t have anything to put that in.’ ”

Wiebe’s company has been recently focused on trying to market turkey products outside of the October and December rush, but progress is limited, in part by consumer demand and in part by the amount of shelf space retailers are willing to offer year-round

There are also extra risks associated with raising organic and specialty birds. For example, while the certification standards generally prohibit medications, turkeys that roam in open pastures can be exposed to disease-carrying wild birds. With a bird-flu outbreak in the province still in recent memory, farmers like Edwards have to monitor the health of their flocks multiple times every day.

One such disease, blackhead, has recently resurfaced as a topic of concern after the only legally permitted treatment in Canada was withdrawn in 2016. The disease, which can be contracted when birds eat infected worms, is named after its symptom of turning turkeys’ heads black. A single infection can wipe out entire flocks. To compound matters, outbreaks of the disease generally occur more in B.C.’s temperate climate compared to the rest of Canada.

Two years ago, Benoit said, a farmer who attempted to start a large-scale organic farm had his efforts completely dismantled by blackhead.

Allen, the Chilliwack free-range turkey grower, said he worries about blackhead every day.

“When I go in and pick up one or two mortalities every couple of weeks, I start wondering, ‘Is this the start?’ ” he said. “I wouldn’t even want to think about what would happen if that came on my farm.”

Luke Nickel, an associate veterinarian with Alberta-based Poultry Health Services, said farmers are now restricted to preventative techniques such as restricting public access and changing shoes and clothes before entering barns.

Nickel, who comes from a B.C. turkey-farming family, said the PHS petitioned Health Canada to approve a new anti-blackhead medication used in Europe, but were rejected. Health Canada said it rejected the medication in part due to concerns that the antibiotic would create additional resistance in bacteria harmful to humans.

Back at the Edwards farm, its patriarch wonders how secure the turkey business will be in the future as he turns over the sawdust used as the birds’ litter. The young turkeys obediently move out of the way, in a semicircle expanding from Edward’s pitchfork, before returning to nest in the hills and dips created by the churn. Looking at his birds, Edwards’s hopes remain high for a push in the industry to market easier-to-prepare processed turkey products to the elusive Asian and South Asian markets.

“Living in Richmond, you have Asian friends, South Asian friends,” Edwards said. “My buddies — I was like, ‘Why don’t you eat a turkey?’ They said, ‘Well, we don’t know how.’ I said, ‘You can buy it as ground turkey instead of ground chicken or ground beef.” They said they hadn’t really thought of that.”

Benoit at the marketing board said ground turkey has been the one true area of significant growth in the industry. The key is the additional processing, whether the turkeys are segmented, made into sausages, or sandwich patties. And while it’s unclear whether marketing efforts will succeed in selling the non-traditional, prepared products, it seems many in the industry are on board.

“What’s going to make it on the centre plate? I know a whole turkey won’t. Is it a cutlet? Is it marinated? Is it a value-added item that people can learn to use within their protein for the week?” Wiebe, the organic processor, said.

“That’s where our industry is going … They need it cooked in less than 30 minutes and it needs to complement everything else around the plate.”

Beh also suspects ground or cut-up products may be the only way to break through his Asian culture’s reluctance for the big bird.

“If you take the whole turkey and make them into smaller portions, maybe that’s the way it sells better,” he said. “More packaging. That might be able to sell.”

However, this Thanksgiving, Beh’s family will be dining out, likely at a Chinese restaurant.

Michael Mui is a Vancouver-based investigative reporter. Follow him on Twitter: @mui24hours


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