The first thing you have to do, if you want to cook a Thanksgiving turkey the way Jacques Pépin thinks you ought to cook it, is to reach way back into your kitchen cabinet and haul out the sort of caldron you might use to steam lobsters. Next, adjust your expectations.
We understand if your first instinct is to resist. But proceeding with his recipe will yield a bird with an incomparable balance of crispness and moistness; we’re talking about white meat so moist that it stays tender even after a few days encased in Tupperware in the fridge.
So, yes, you’re reading this right: Jacques Pépin wants you to steam your turkey. He wants you to put that bird in that big pot (you can buy one for about $40 at a kitchen supply store), where hot vapors will melt off its fat. (If you prefer, use a large covered roasting pan.) Slicing deeply at key joints — between the drumsticks and thighs, and between the wings and breast — will help ensure that the meat is cooked through.