It’s no secret the quality of the turkey can make or break Thanksgiving dinner. All the sweet yams and cranberries in the world won’t mask the taste of an overcooked, dried-out bird, but fear not – here we’ve shared with you some helpful tips and tricks to ensure your turkey comes out smelling and tasting like a moist, delicious turkey fit for a king! Here is how to cook the perfect Thanksgiving turkey!
See also: Most Popular Thanksgiving Pies
1. Brine the Turkey
According to The Food Network, brining is “an easy, sure-fire way to a moist and flavorful turkey.” Pre-soaking your turkey in a mixed solution of salt, sugar, and spices will help the turkey retain a significant amount of moisture during cooking. For a simple brining mixture recipe with outstanding results, check out Fine Cooking’s guide to Brining Basics.
2. Rub the Turkey with Butter or Oil Before Cooking
3. Cook the Turkey on a Rack of Vegetables
Cooking your turkey on a rack of vegetables, according to The Food Network, “creates a natural roasting rack. Lifting the turkey off the base of the pan helps to increase hot air circulation around the whole bird so that it will get crispy all over.” Using vegetables as a roasting rack will also save time, as vegetables no longer have to be cooked separately.
See also: Holiday Safety Tips
4. Easy on the Basting!
Contrary to popular belief, frequent basting can actually dry your turkey out more, as the frequent opening and closing of the oven door can create temperature fluctuations detrimental to the turkey’s ability to retain moisture. Rather than over-basting, rely on brining and pre-rubbing (see steps 1 and 2) to keep your turkey nice and moist, and trust in your oven to do its job!
5. Invest in a Good Meat Thermometer
Having an accurate temperature reading is crucial for any kind of meat preparation; turkeys especially due to the lean nature of their meat and the ease with which they can be unintentionally overcooked. To obtain the most accurate readings, “use a premium thermometer and stick it in the thickest part of the turkey, near the thigh” confirms The Food Network. Once the turkey reaches 165 degrees F, it’s good to go!
6. Kick back Some Eggnog And Give the Turkey a Rest!
“Loosely tent your turkey with foil and let it rest for at least 15 to 20 minutes before carving” says the Food Network. Doing so will help lock in the vital juices necessary to ensure the turkey’s moisture, bite after bite. Also be sure the foil tent is loose – having it too tight will cause steam to be locked in, compromising the turkey’s taste.
This Thanksgiving, impress your guests and loved ones with a perfectly cooked turkey they won’t soon forget! With these helpful tips, your turkey will come out tasting like a million bucks every time. Happy Thanksgiving!