Thanksgiving Tips: The Turkey

21 Nov

Thanksgiving is only one week away so let the preparations begin. Last year I wrote about all the cooking my dad and I did: the turkey and stuffing in part 1 and all the side dishes in part 2. This year I thought I’d share some tips with you to help make your Thanksgiving dinner as delicious as possible, so here are 10 tips to make a great turkey. Share your own tips and tricks in the comments below!

Thanksgiving 2012, L-R clockwise: Turkey before being stuffed; basting the turkey; flipped the bird over before going back into the oven to finish; before flipping the bird-pretty right?

Thanksgiving 2012, L-R clockwise: Turkey before being stuffed; basting the turkey; flipped the bird over before going back into the oven to finish; before flipping the bird-pretty right?

  1. With the big day only one week away, be sure to get your turkey by the end of this weekend so you’re not stuck with one that’s too big or too small. Yes, turkeys sell out early.
  2. When buying your turkey, estimate 1.5 to 2 lbs for each person. So for a family of 8 I recommend buying a turkey between 12 and 16 pounds.
  3. Pull out an ice chest and store your turkey in there if your fridge isn’t big enough (especially if you’re like us and buy about a 20 lb turkey). And leave the ice chest outside (with something heavy on top) to help keep it cool and out-of-the-way. (Also, make sure you defrost your turkey if you buy a frozen one.)
  4. To get a moist turkey brine your turkey overnight (unless you purchase a turkey that is pre-brined).
  5. When prepping your bird for the oven be sure to separate the skin as much as possible, without tearing it,  and get your seasonings on as much of the bird between the skin and meat as possible.
  6. Put chunks of carrots, onions and celery in the roasting pan along with about a cup of water and some fresh herbs. This will be your basting liquid and later can be used as part of your gravy after deglazing the pan.
  7. Best advice my dad gave me was to roast your turkey breast side DOWN first. This ensures a moist breast because the juices run down over the breast. Then flip it over for the final hour.
  8. BASTE! Once an hour baste the turkey with drippings from the roasting pan. (It may sound obvious, but there are people who don’t baste, or don’t baste enough.)
  9. After it’s all done cooking, be sure to let it rest for about 15 minutes before carving (see photo below).
  10. And of course, ENJOY!!! (okay, so not a real tip, but still very important!)
thanksgiving turkey

Thanksgiving turkey from 2012

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