Thanksgiving is on it’s way and everyone is looking forward to that beautiful bird on the dinner table. If you want to have the best tasting and moist turkey in town, follow these tips for Thanksgiving heaven on a plate.
Tips for a Perfect Turkey this Thanksgiving
- Make sure your turkey is completely thawed before putting it in the oven. It will cook more evenly and correctly. It is also vital to do this for food safety as well.
- There are several ways to thaw a bird. The first way is in your refrigerator. Note that it will take several days to thaw using this method, but it is the safest. The second way is in the sink with running water. You can do this if you are in a pinch for time, but it may still take several hours. The water must be cool and running. If you use the sink method, make sure to clean and sanitize your sink before and after.
- Choose the proper size roasting pan. You want to make sure you won’t have an overflow of liquids and that your bird will fit in the pan.
- Remove the giblets if they are included and set them aside in the fridge if you plan to use them. They must be cooked separately.
- To give your turkey a wonderful taste and appearance, brush on melted butter on every area inside and out. It will also help seasonings stick.
- Try a variety of seasonings. Nutmeg is wonderful for poultry and will give it a flavorful nutty taste.
- If you plan on making gravy afterwards from the drippings, give yourself a good start. Instead of water in the bottom of the roasting pan, try chicken broth. It will help your turkey remain moist as well as an extra layer of flavor to your gravy. For a cheaper broth, use bullion cubes. Just add them to hot water and stir.
- Never put stuffing inside the bird as it can be a food safety issue because it will be done before the bird and if you remove it, you will still have potential bacteria that has not been cooked out. It is much safer to make it seperately.
- Cover your turkey with a lid or at least aluminum foil. This will help keep the moisture in and allow the outside to not burn.
- The general rule for cooking time is 20 minutes to every pound, so if your turkey is 16 pounds, expect it to take at least 4 ½ to 5 hours at 350 degrees F.
- Check your turkey at regular intervals once it gets well on it’s way to cooking. This is when you will want to baste. Add more liquid if it appears that it is running low.
- Keep in mind that a turkey will often appear cooked on the outside, but still be raw inside.
- To check if your turkey is done, insert a meat thermometer into the breast, just behind the leg. This is the densest part of the bird and if it is done, you can be assured that the rest is done. The thermometer must reach a temperature of 165 degrees F and stay at that temp for 15 seconds.
- Allow to cool for a few moments with the lid removed before carving to allow it to set.
- Do not allow your turkey to sit out on the counter at room temperature for too long after your meal. It must be taken apart and cooled quickly to ensure it is safe to eat at a later time.