Quick Tip – Cooking Your Thanksgiving Turkey

Just sharing a couple quick tips for those of you cooking the turkey on Thursday – lessons learned after many years of trial and error.  Happy Holiday!!

Be sure to brine for an hour or less!
  • The first step is to brine your bird.  Turkey is a relatively light flavored meat, so you will want to add flavor before serving.  Here are some of my favorite brines:
  • It is fun to play around with brine recipes, adding some local flavor or just adjusting spices to better fit your eaters.  I prefer brines, which do not contain oil, to marinades, as the fats block the liquid water-holding capacity in the meat, thus inhibiting the addition of flavor.
  • Allow your turkey to brine on Wednesday, then rinse off and store in your refrigerator uncovered overnight.  It is best to place it on a rack with a pan underneath.  Any access moisture is removed from the skin of the bird and the result is very crispy skin – a big favorite in my house.
  • Remove the turkey and allow it to approach room temperature before cooking – do not allow meat, particularly poultry, to sit unrefrigerated for too long however – 90 minutes at most.
  • Do not cook your stuffing inside the turkey – instead, add some fresh herbs, garlic and cut lemon to the cavity.  This adds some flavor to the meat and it will also create wonderful aromas.
  • During cooking, rotate the turkey.  With a 12-15 pound bird, start with the bottom side up (45 minutes), rotate so one drumstick is up (15 minutes), then the other drumstick (15 minutes), then finally breast side up (30-50 minutes).  The turkey will be evenly browned and look absolutely beautiful at your table.
  • Roast until the thickest part of the breast reaches 165 degrees and the thickest part of the thigh reaches175 on an instant-read thermometer.
  • Allow your turkey to rest for 30-90 minutes before carving.  This allows juices to redistribute to the external portions of the meat.

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