I don’t know about your Thanksgiving dinners, but until I met my partner, mine were a blend of chaos, stress-induced pit stains and a mediocre bird. Maybe it’s the multiple components that go into a turkey dinner or perhaps it’s simply my panicky personality that’s to blame, but the festive gatherings were enough to make me want to breathe out of a freakin' paper bag. Luckily, that’s a thing of the past thanks to my main squeeze. Since that faithful day half a decade ago when he discovered that it was far easier to just cook the damn thing himself rather than watch me unravel, Thanksgiving dinner has never been the same. Now, the turkey is delicious and my sanity is in check. This being said, while I no longer do the cooking of the bird (hallelujah), I like to think that I learned a thing or two through observation/ osmosis. It is for this reason that I’m sharing my (his?) 7 Tips on How to Roast a Turkey. I figure since you can’t have my spouse physically cooking in your kitchen, then these tips can prevent you from sobbing into your roaster the way I use to (unless your turkey’s under seasoned, in which case salty tears may help).
Scroll below for 7 Tips on How to Roast a Turkey and if you haven’t already, don’t forget to subscribe! 😉
- Size Matters
When buying a turkey, choosing the right size is mucho importanté. A ratio of 1 pound per person is considered the norm. This being said, I never like to chance running short on food so depending what kind of eaters your entourage is comprised of then it may be worth going with 1.5 pounds per person instead.
- Brine, Baby, Brine
One of the secrets to a moist and flavourful turkey is to brine it. Brining a turkey basically means submerging your bird in a solution made of water, salt, sugar and spices for a set amount of time. It’s a relatively easy step to add and there are tons of recipes to be found online, so no excuses.
- Use a Rack
To avoid your turkey sticking to the bottom of your pan, use a rack like this one. A cool trick that I’ve observed is creating a bed of carrots, onions and celery under the rack for extra flavour (these turkey/veggie drippings make for an awesome gravy base too).
- Give Your Bird a Good Rub
Before putting the bird in the oven, pat the skin dry as best as you can with a paper towel and then rub it thoroughly with butter or oil. This will create the sexy crisp golden brown skin we all know and love.
- Don’t bother basting
Back in the dark ages, before I’d witnessed my spouse cook a turkey, I use to baste the crap out of my bird. What I’ve learned is that this does little to help the meat stay moist. Also, by opening and closing the oven, I've read that basting can actually affect the internal oven temperature which prolongs cooking time. This prolonged cooking time potentially dries out the bird… which defeats the purpose of basting altogether.
- Take its Temp
One of the biggest takeaways from years of watching my man cook meat is to use a thermometer. All the doneness tricks in the world can’t beat the science of numbers. All you need to do is insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey while avoiding the bone. By cooking your turkey until the thermometer reads 165°F, you can be sure you’ll be serving juicy meat without the risk of making everyone sick with salmonella.
- Let it Rest
When your turkey has reached 165°F, take it out of the oven, cover it with foil, and then walk away (this is a perfect time to grab a glass of wine – just sayin’). By allowing the bird to rest for 15 or so minutes before carving, the juices will redistribute into the meat. This is an important step or you risk dry meat.
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