Thanksgiving Turkey Tips
Pulling off Thanksgiving Day dinner for family and friends can be stressful. Especially if you are worried about how to manage everything being cooked at the right time and whether or not you should stuff the bird with your family’s heirloom stuffing recipe or just cook it separately in a casserole. The biggest concern seems to be bacteria looming in the cavity of the bird that could potentially make you sick. Best to be on the safe side and cook the stuffing separately.
Here are some more tips:
1) Don't rinse the bird. Wisdom now says rinsing the cavity and outside of the bird just splashes bacteria around the kitchen. Pat it dry with paper towels instead.
2) If you are buying a frozen bird, be sure to give it enough time to defrost in the refrigerator. Then let it stand at room temperature for at least an hour before putting in the oven.
3) Don't roast the bird on the lowest rack of the oven; instead place the pan directly on the over floor so that more heat is distributed and use a really heavy duty roasting pan
4) Invest in a meat thermometer; when it registers 160F in the thickest part of the thigh area, the bird is done
5) Try spatchcocking (butterflying)the bird for faster and more even cooking; to do this remove the backbone by cutting on either side of it with a good pair of poultry sheers; lay the bird flat in the pan.
6) Don't tie the legs with kitchen string; this will prevent the legs from cooking evenly
7) If you have an outdoor grill and only one oven, grill the bird over indirect heat and save the oven for cooking the sides.
8) A cooked bird needs to rest at least 30 minutes loosely covered in tin foil before being carved. This allows the meat juices to be reabsorbed into the bird and keeps the meat moist
9) What about people who don't like dark meat? Make this stuffed rolled turkey breast.
10) Baste the bird just before placing it in the oven but do not baste again; opening and shutting the oven door lowers the temperature and will result in time lost in cooking the bird.