A perfectly cooked turkey can be the highlight of your Thanksgiving dinner. But how do you cook your turkey so that it turns out moist and flavorful? Some people prefer using the deep fryer, but they are unsafe and soaking your turkey in oil, may be the least healthy option available.
Steps to Cooking an Amazing Turkey
Thaw your turkey properly
Nothing ruins a holiday like food poisoning. If you defrost your turkey too quickly you can get everyone at your dinner table feeling a little bit like the infamous scene from The Exorcist. To avoid salmonella don’t stuff your turkey with stuffing.
If you don’t thaw it enough, you’re turkey will take eons to cook. And no matter how yummy that turkey tastes, no one wants to wait nine hours for it to cook.
Thaw it right
If you are defrosting your turkey in the fridge it will take a few days, depending on the size of your turkey.
If you cook your turkey at room temperature rather than just pulled from the fridge, you’ll significantly cut down on the cooking time. Cooking time can seriously impact the overall outcome of the quality of the turkey. You don’t want it to take too long to cook so the meat becomes dry, but you also want to make sure that the turkey is completely cooked. Like chicken, undercooked turkey leads to all sorts of health problems.
Season it right
A personal favorite is a quick rub down of a garlic and melted butter mixture. If you want, you can add more baste every hour or hour and a half. This will affect the cooking time slightly, however.
Set the right temperature
Cook your turkey at 400 degrees. Depending on the size of your turkey this will take somewhere between 3-6 hours. Naturally, larger turkeys will take longer too cook. Be sure to account for this when planning the sides you’ll include with your meal and when they should be prepared.
It’s a little known secrete but one of the most important parts of cooking a perfect turkey is having perfectly cooked side dishes.
Lift it up
Consider adding a roasting rack to the turkey pan to allow air and heat to flow evenly around the turkey, cooking it more evenly and giving your crispier skin all around. Not cooking the turkey in the juices makes sure that the entire bird receives the same temperature throughout the cooking process. It also helps leave clean and easy to use juices forgravy.
Let it set
After you pull your turkey out of the oven, let it set for about 20 minutes to ensure that the juices and flavors settle into the meat. After you cut the meat, let it set in the juices for a few minutes. The meat will be moist and flavorful. It’s important to remember that turkeys and other meat continue to cook after they’re pulled out of the oven. Just make sure that everything is cooked completely before you serve the bird to any guests.
Make sure to set the turkey on a tray and cover with foil so that the turkey sits in the juices so it can soak up even more flavor before you serve it. When you’re ready, present the bird and the sides to the dinner party and enjoy your amazing turkey dinner.