We are in the full swing of Thanksgiving prep, so we wanted to share some of our top turkey tips. We hope these help you out with your upcoming prep. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions.
Thawing in the fridge is the safest method to avoid any bacterial growth. This is your reminder that if you haven’t pulled your turkey out of the freezer or bought it yet, that you need to. It takes roughly 24 hours per 5 lbs for your bird to fully thaw in the refrigerator. We are 5 days out from Thanksgiving, so plan ahead to not have frozen turkey the day you need to cook it.
This is a great way to add big flavor and moisture to your turkey. Brining is a process of soaking your turkey in a saltwater solution with different herbs and spices. Depending on the size of turkey and containers you have you may want to use a brining bag to make the process easier. That also helps lessen the possibility of making a mess in your fridge. If you use a bag, we would also still recommend having it sit in a pan just in case.
Use a Meat Thermometer
With so much time spent on your turkey, you definitely want to make sure its fully cooked. A meat thermometer is a huge help with this and is the most accurate way to check your turkey’s internal temperature. Chek it at the thickest part of the thigh and avoid hitting the bone.
Truss Your Bird
This is a process of using butchers’ twine to tie your turkeys’ wings and legs tight to the body. Doing this will help your turkey cook more evenly and it also helps it maintain its shape.
Rub or Marinade for Flavor
Adding a rub or marinade to your turkey is another layer of flavor added to brighten the flavor of your turkey. We recommend rubbing this on the outside and underneath the skin. Other processes you could use would be injecting your turkey. For injecting your turkey, make sure your mixture is smooth and liquidy so that it can easily go through your injector needle.
To get crispy golden skin, you will want to make sure to baste your bird strategically. A good way to do this is to baste every 30 minutes for roughly the last hour of cooking. Use the drippings from the turkey or additional marinade that was set aside before using on your raw turkey (remember to think about cross contamination).
Let Your Turkey Rest
Resting your turkey helps the juices redistribute throughout the meat, so make sure not to rush cutting into your turkey. Try to let your turkey sit for about 20-30 minutes for best results.
Roasting Pans for Success
This is not only good for even cooking, but also for safety. You want to make sure that your roasting pan is large enough and sturdy enough to hold you turkey and the juices it releases. If you don’t select the right pan it could cause spillage in your oven, which could cause a flare up. It could also cause spillage or even pan collapsing when pulling out of the oven which could be a huge burn risk. We also recommend using a rack underneath your turkey to help elevate it to get the best air circulation.
Tent Your Turkey
If you turkey is getting to browned, use foil to tent your turkey. This will help your turkey skin stay golden and not get too dark. This is also a good step to do halfway to two thirds of the way through the cooking process, before working on the basting.
Make sure that you have a sharp knife for carving your turkey. This will help give you even, clean and smooth cuts versus a dull knife that will tear your turkey. Make sure your turkey has rested long enough, otherwise the juices will make a mess on your cutting board.
While we get everything finalized in the kitchen at Two Chef Mission, we hope you all find some great value from these simple but useful tips. If you haven’t joined our Facebook group Meal Planning for Busy Parents yet, please check it out HERE. That is where you can find our community and easily chat with us. We also go live every Friday to answer your questions and talk about all kinds of cooking and meal planning topics. Our most recent live was all about these tips. We hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!