tips for the perfect turkey
DON’T RUN OUT-
Figure on 1 to 1 ½ pounds of turkey per person. Don’t forget to add a few pounds for the bones. Ex. 8 people will require a 12 – 14 pound turkey. If you have a large crowd, you may consider cooking two smaller turkeys instead of 1. This will allow for faster cooking times and will allow you to prepare them differently if you wish.
|Ample Servings with Leftovers||Turkey Weight (in pounds)|
MAKE SURE IT’S THAWED-
Don’t wait until the day before Thanksgiving to thaw out your turkey! Frozen turkey needs at least 3-4 days to completely thaw.
BRINING IS BEST-
Skip basting which causes more oven door opening and the drying out of your turkey, and keep your turkey moist with a simple brining. The typical brining solution contains water, salt, sugar and a variety of spices an aromatics. Just be sure to follow a trusted recipe so you get the right proportion of each.
SKIP THE STUFFING-
An old Thanksgiving tradition may be providing fertile ground for harmful bacteria inside of your turkey. Also, your stuffed turkey will take longer to cook which will result in drier meat. Instead, save your stuffing for a separate pan and leave the turkey to cook alone.
GIVE YOUR TURKEY A GOOD RUB-
Make sure the skin of your turkey is as dry as possible and rub it all over with oil or butter
RAISE IT OFF OF THE BASE-
Raising your turkey off of the pan will help with hot air circulation around the entire turkey. Even better, try roasting vegetables underneath!
LET IT REST-
To lock in the juices, let your turkey rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. Lightly place tin foil over the bird while it rests but not too tight to avoid it from steaming up
COOK AT A STEADY TEMPERATURE-
A low, steady temperature of 325°F from start to finish is the best option for your bird. Some people prefer to cook at a high heat for the first half hour or so but what if you forget to turn it back down?
Average cooking time (add 20 to 40 minutes for a stuffed turkey)
|8 – 12||2 ½ to 3 ½|
|12 – 16||3 ½ to 4|
|16 – 20||4 to 4 ½|
|20 – 26||4 ½ to 5 ½|
You will know your turkey is done when you place an internal thermometer into the turkey’s thigh, let it rest for a few seconds, and get a reading of 170°F
POSITION THE LEGS-
If your roasting pan allows it, cook with the turkey legs pointed backward. The legs usually take the longest to cook so this allows it to get easier access to the spot in the oven that is typically the hottest. If it doesn’t not fit that way, just rotate your pan half way through to ensure both sides get an even finish.