Turkey is an essential for Thanksgiving; indeed, your feast would be incomplete without a golden bird at its centre. However, there are common misgivings amongst amateur cooks about roasting turkey.
From being raw at its centre to tasting « way too plain, » there are many things that could go wrong when cooking turkey. But, that doesn’t have to be your case this thanksgiving. Here are 5 simple tips that will help you cook flavorful turkey every time:
Ensure that the turkey is completely defrosted before cooking
To begin with, you can buy fresh turkey so that you don’t have to spend extra time waiting for the bird to fully thaw. If you only have frozen turkey, then you must give enough time for thawing to promote even cooking.
The best way to thaw your turkey is by placing it on a cookie sheet or pan to catch any dripping juices and then transferring to a refrigerator. Leave ample time for the process; calculate 24 hours in the fridge for every 4 lbs of turkey.
Brining is an essential step for flavorful turkey
Brining turkey before cooking ensures that it comes out moist and thoroughly flavoured. For optimum results, you can brine the turkey overnight. If you’re in a hurry, make sure to brine the turkey for at least 2 hours.
The standard turkey brine is a mix of apple juice, coarse Kosher salt, brown sugar, ice, and water. However, feel free to experiment to suit your taste palate!
Don’t forget to check the internal temperature
Turkeys are huge and therefore require more cooking time. However, there is no fixed time for this as cooking conditions vary for everyone. Pro chefs advise using a meat thermometer to closely monitor the internal temperature of the turkey to ensure that it’s thoroughly cooked.
The general consensus is that turkey is safe to eat at 165 degrees F but don’t forget to let the bird rest for a few minutes before carving.
Baste the turkey in its final few minutes of cooking
Basting is what produces that signature golden colour that we all love on Thanksgiving turkey. Your baste recipe can be as simple as butter and maple syrup, just make sure to apply within the last 15 minutes of cooking for best results.
Let the turkey rest before digging in
Resting promotes even redistribution of the juice and allows the meat to firm up in time for carving. The standard resting time for turkey is about 30 minutes, carve it any sooner and the turkey will turn out dry and chalky.
Now, you are ready to take on preparing a thanksgiving feast. Enjoy!