10 Turkey Tips You Need This Thanksgiving

If you’ve been tasked to take on the bird this Thanksgiving, you might feel just a little pressure. After all, the entire family is going to be eating it, and any picky eater will tear apart the slightest mistake. You might be worried about a dry turkey, or not cooking it thoroughly, or even getting it to look just right. Don’t worry! Just make sure you follow our 10 turkey tips, and you’ll be good to go, no matter what may happen.

  • Don’t buy a frozen turkey the day before. Frozen turkeys take time to defrost, and the method of defrosting in a warm sink is actually dangerous for you and your family. It helps bacteria take root in the flesh, and might make your turkey the sickness-bearer of the season. Make sure to allow at least 4-5 days of defrosting in your refrigerator for best results.
  • Make sure you’ve got the right amount of turkey for you and your family. Plan on about a pound to a pound and a half for each person, just in case.
  • If you have a large family, don’t be afraid to cook two smaller turkeys, instead of one big one. This gives everyone plenty of turkey, while avoiding struggling with a giant and finding yourself unable to store it in the fridge or fit it in the oven.
  • Prepare the turkey the night before. Rather than rushing on Thanksgiving and stressing out, get the turkey in the pan and prepared before you go to bed. This includes stuffing, tying the legs, and covering with aluminum foil. On that note…
  • Use aluminum foil! To keep the moisture in with the turkey and avoid drying the meat out, cover the turkey in aluminum foil for a majority of the cooking. Towards the end, you can remove the foil to perfectly brown the skin and finish off cooking.
  • Baste the turkey before putting it in the oven. Add pats of butter in various spots on the turkey, or cover with your oil of choice before setting it in the oven.
  • Don’t continually check on the turkey. There are windows in the oven door for a reason. Opening the door for too long will let heat escape and will cook your turkey unevenly for a longer period of time.
  • Know how long to cook the turkey. While you may have heard of a specific amount of time, say 4 hours, it varies with weight. Stick to the rule of thumb of 20 minutes per pound of defrosted turkey, or 15 minutes per pound of fresh turkey.
  • Use an instant-read thermometer towards the end to ensure your turkey is cooked through. It should be reading an internal temperature of 165F, in order for it to be completely safe to eat.
  • Let it rest! Once you’ve pulled out your fully cooked turkey, add a tent of aluminum foil to it again. Ensure that there is a slit at the top for the steam to escape, and let it sit for about 10 to 15 minutes to allow the juices to truly seal in.

Do you have an turkey tips?