At the Thanksgiving dinner table, a moist, delicious golden-brown turkey is the center of attention. The juicy perfectly cook met that is packed with flavor is what every cook is aiming for.
But many diners at the well dressed table are disappointed when the bite into a turkey taste bland, with meat that is dry enough to choke a hunger bear.
To make sure your Thanksgiving meal is memorable with a delicious as possible there are a few steps to take that will ensure a turkey that will be enjoyed by everyone.
Even the most experienced cooks can end up with a dry turkey if it is not cooked properly. Follow the steps below to make sure your Thanksgiving table is well-dressed with a turkey cooked to perfection.
Gather Ingredients and Equipment
– Cooking a turkey is relatively easy, as long as you have the right equipment.
– Items Needed
– One large V-rack (a wire, V-shaped rack that fits into a roasting pan)
– Large roasting pan
– Meat thermometer
– Aluminum foil
– Paper towels
– Basting brush
– Sea Salt
– One large onion
– Five sticks of celery
– Three carrots
– Fresh thyme
– One pound of butter
Cooking the Turkey
To make cooking your turkey an easy process, purchase as many of the non-perishable items as possible at least one week before the day the turkey will go into the oven. This can help to keep the pressure down when it is time to start cooking.
According to Cook’s Illustrated, most people prefer the taste of previously-frozen turkeys instead of a fresh turkey. It take one entire day to thaw four pounds of frozen turkey.
Brining can help to produce a turkey that is flavorful and moist.
How to Brine a Turkey
Let the whole turkey soak for several hours in two gallons of cold water and two cups of sea salt. The salt water will help make your turkey moist and juicy after it is cooked.
Remove the packaging, gizzards and inner parts of the turkey and set aside. Put the salt water in a glass or heavy plastic container. Metal is not recommended.
A self-basting turkey and a Kosher turkey do not need to be be brined. They are already pre-treated so that no additional salt is needed for tenderness.
Thoroughly rinse the entire turkey under cold water for several minutes and pat the turkey dry using plain paper towels.
If you plan to stuff the turkey, Do Not Over-stuff. The ingredients of the stuffing will expand during cooking and this cn cause uneven cooking and it can greatly increase the chances of a food-bourne illness or food poisoning. for safety, use no more than 3/4 cups of stuffing per pound of meat.
Stuff the bird right before it is time to put it in the oven, at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Some people like to cook their turkey overnight at a low temperature. This is not recommended and it the heat is not high enough to kill bacteria.
To kill the bacteria, make sure the stuffing inside reach an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F before taking it out of the oven.
Cooking the Turkey in the Oven
Once your turkey is brined and stuffed, it is time to put it in the oven to cook.
Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.
Place the aluminum foil over the V-rack.
Poke several holes in the foil to allow the heat to circulate.
Chop the carrots, onion and the celery. Put the chopped vegetables and the thyme into the bottom of the roasting pan. This will add a delicious flavor to the pan drippings and produce a delicious gravy.
Pour a cup of water or chicken broth on the chopped vegetables.
Place the foil covered V-rack in the roasting pan.
Melt the butter and brush the melted butter all over the dry skin of the turkey.
Place the turkey, breast-side down, into the V-rack.
Put the roasting pan in the oven.
Cook for 45 minutes.
Remove pan from oven (close oven door) and brush the pan drippings onto the back and the legs.
Cook for 45 more minutes.
Brush pan drippings over the skin of the turkey again.
Cook for 30 more minutes.
Remove pan from oven and turn the turkey over so it is breast side up.
Brush pan drippings over the front part of the bird.
Each time the oven door is opened, make sure to close it as soon as possible. Do not let the door stand open, this will reduce the temperature.
Cook the turkey until the breast temperature reach 165-170 degrees F, and the thigh temperature reaches 175-180 degrees F.
Once the proper temperature is reached, remove the turkey from the oven.
Place the hot turkey on a cutting board and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.