Capon for Thanksgiving
November 20, 2007 10:25 PM   Subscribe

Anyone have any tips for roasting a capon?

This year, my family only has 3 people for Thanksgiving. Thus, we bought a 12 lb capon instead of a tiny flat-chested turkey. A capon is a castrated rooster, if you didn't know. I was planning to treat it like a turkey, brining it overnight and then roasting it on a v-rack the next day under fairly high heat until the bird gets to temperature.

However, after a Google search, I found out that some sites claim that capons are naturally self-basting because of the bird's higher fat content. Is this true, and should I skip the brining? Some sites also claim a slow roast is best, but my experience has given me the best results using the Cooks Illustrated 2004 recipe for turkey when it comes to turkey.

Does anyone have any experience with this bird?
posted by mccarty.tim to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It has a higher fat content than turkey. I would say it probably doesn't need brining, but it will need basting with its own juices during cooking.

Here's a specific Thanksgiving recipe for capon.
posted by essexjan at 12:51 AM on November 21, 2007

As far as I know, you cook capon just like chicken. I would brine it but not baste it. I really like the flavor from brining, as well as the moistness.
posted by ottereroticist at 6:33 AM on November 21, 2007

Best answer: Alton Brown sez:

"Basting is evil. Skin is waterproof, so flavor and moisture will not soak through it. Besides, you have to open the door to baste, which lets heat out of the oven. That increases the cooking time of the turkey, which means dry meat-so don't do it."

I recommend a brine. If you are concerned about the meat being too tender, don't brine it as long. I would take a chicken brining recipe and cut a little time off of that.
posted by jedicus at 8:23 AM on November 21, 2007

I have roasted two capons and never found that the meat became dry - no comparison to a turkey breast, which really is in danger of drying out. One of the capons was fairly well wrapped in bacon, though. The other was just basted with butter and lemon juice and it turned out great.

I don't like brining because it makes the meat too salty for me and I don't think it's necessary.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:11 AM on November 21, 2007

I would slide some butter under the skin onto the breast meat and not baste. Having roasted a capon several times in the past, it does have more fat and more flavor than a turkey but you will be glad you put the butter under the skin. I adore capons, have fun!
posted by Foam Pants at 10:00 PM on November 21, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for your help, everyone! I brined it overnight using a turkey recipe from the 2004 December issue of Cooks Illustrated, and baked it like a turkey. The bird was incredibly tasty, moist, and tender, and the skin browned perfectly. My mother is almost 50 and she has braces, so she was especially thankful for a bird that was easy to chew. Also, I was amazed at how much meat was on the carcass as compared to a turkey of the same size. It's a wonder so few people cook these birds, because they work so well.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:01 PM on November 22, 2007

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