Thanksgiving Turkey Tip Sheet
November 19, 2009
Here is a little Thanksgiving holiday gift from me to every cook who is preparing dinner for turkey day. Post them on your refrigerator. Follow them and next year everyone will want you to cook again!
- Buy a fresh, not frozen bird; advantage will be in the quality and taste. And there will be no guessing game as to how long a frozen turkey needs to defrost.
- For great moist flavor, try brining. A brine can be a mixture of water, or juices such as apple or cider, herbs, spices and salt. If you use this method, the bird should sit in the brine totally submerged and refrigerated for 24 hours. Try this really nice brine for capon that can be used for turkey or other poultry.
- Cook the stuffing separately to avoid cooking the bird too long. Most importantly, if you insist on stuffing the bird, do it just before roasting to avoid any bacteria buildup.
- Tie the legs together with kitchen string; this will hold the bird’s shape as it roasts
- Use a heavy duty pan with a roasting rack for cooking the turkey; the drippings will fall into the bottom of the pan and can be used to baste the bird as it cooks and for gravy.
- Season the bird in and out with fine sea salt and coarse cracked black pepper. Herbs can be placed under the skin.
- Use an instant read thermometer to tell when the bird is cooked and insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the bird, but not touching the bone. The breast meat should register 165F and the thigh 175F.
- After the turkey is cooked and nicely browned looking, let it rest for 20 minutes loosely covered with aluminum foil. This will allow the juices to re-settle in the meat.
- Place the turkey on a platter surrounded by garnishes such as whole sautéed mushrooms or tiny lady apples. Let everyone declare you the best cook that ever was but carve the bird in the kitchen so as not to make a mess on your beautiful table.
- Store turkey leftovers in aluminum foil and refrigerate as soon as everyone is done having seconds.