Thanksgiving is a celebration of the most important things in life: health, family, and food. However, cooking a turkey can be a tall and tedious task. We have compiled this list of ten quick and tenacious turkey tips to make your family thankful for you:
1) Thoroughly Thaw Your Turkey
A partially frozen bird will not cook well. In the refrigerator, turkeys require 4 to 5 days to thaw. If you have not started defrosting your turkey, don’t panic. Thaw your turkey in a tub of cold water. Make sure you wrap your turkey in something waterproof; otherwise, it will soak up the water and become a soggy bird. Make sure you cook the bird immediately after it is defrosted.
2) Stuffing on the Side
A stuffed turkey cooks unevenly, leading to dry meat. Instead of filling the turkey with traditional stuffing, consider using flavorful, aromatic vegetables. You may also consider cooking your turkey over a rack of vegetables.
3) Brine, Don’t Baste
For a moist turkey, brine your bird. Basting often leads to an uneven cooking experience, but brining does not require opening the oven during the cooking process, so your bird will be cooked evenly and thoroughly.
4) Resist Opening the Oven
One of the cardinal sins of turkey-baking is checking on the bird too often. Plan on cooking your turkey 10 to 15 minutes per pound. A 16-pound turkey will require approximately three hours of cooking time. Once in the oven, avoid checking on your turkey. When its time, measure the temperature with a meat thermometer. Your turkey’s ideal temperature is 165 degrees.
5) Butter or Oil
You may rub the bird with butter or oil to help keep it moist. Make sure the skin is as dry as possible before applying the butter. Additionally, if you wrap the turkey in foil, remove it 45 minutes for it is finished cooking. This will help the skin brown evenly.
6) Tie Your Turkey
Truss your turkey by tying the wings under the body of the bird. There is not necessarily a pronounced difference in a tied up bird, but your family will know you’re the head chef of your kitchen.
7) Don’t Start Cooking Too Soon
Resist the urge to put the turkey in the oven too soon. You never want your guests to be waiting on the main course, but if you follow these principles, you’ll pull your bird out of the oven right on time.
8) Big Enough Bird
Plan on serving a turkey big enough for your guest-list. A pound to 1.5 pounds of turkey per person should be plenty for all of the kids and cousins.
9) Safety First
When working with poultry, make sure you wash your hands frequently. Keep your knives and sharp tools out of the reach of children and crazy cousins. If you’re frying your bird, make sure you know what you’re doing.
10) Everything is Better with Bacon
Wrap something in bacon. Wrap everything in bacon. If you’re not using bacon, we’re disappointed.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!