It’s the time of year where nearly every man or woman in the kitchen is searching on Google or Pinterest for how they can properly baste a turkey. Even if they’ve done it before, they’ve long forgotten since it’s usually only a once a year occurrence.
Nevertheless, it’s a step you can’t skip because it ensures that the bird stays moist and tender for consumption! Don’t panic – we’ve done the research to give you a step by step guide for how you can successfully baste a turkey.
Put the Turkey in the Oven
After you’ve prepped your turkey (thawed, washed, and stuffed), you’ll want to place the bird in a large roasting pan with a lid, preferably once that has a rack inside for it to sit on. Next, set a basting timer as well as a turkey timer: Your basting timer will be for thirty minutes, and your turkey timer should be appropriate for the size of turkey you’re roasting. You’ll do your first round of basting after your thirty minute timer goes off, and you remove the turkey from the oven.
Make Your Baste
There are quite a few methods and recipes to follow, so pick one that suits you. Some great options that we’ve enjoyed are chicken or beef stock, wine, butter, olive oils and gravies. There’s always the beloved option of using the liquid at the bottom of the pan, which has dripped off of the roasting bird in the oven. Feel free to get creative, to combine the drippings with another liquid and to baste that way, if you’d like. No matter what liquid you choose, the basting will help keep the turkey moist.
Using a small cup or a bulb baster to scoop or suck up some of the liquid from a bowl or the bottom of your pan. Gently and liberally pour the liquid over the surface of the bird, using a spoon or baster to keep it from dripping off to the bottom again. Be as thorough as you can, but bear in mind you’ll be doing this several times again. Once you’re satisfied with the moisture on the bird, put the lid back on the pan and put the turkey back in the oven.
Do It Again, and Again
Your bird will roast for as long as you need it to, depending on the size. After two rounds of basting, toss any liquid that you’ve created and only use drippings from the pan. Your basting will occur every 20-30 minutes, depending on your personal preference. Basting every 20 minutes may up the flavor, but it chains you to the oven for longer. If you notice the drippings grow to submerge the bottom of the turkey, spoon some out. You do not want the turkey to become soggy or liquid-logged; rather, you’re looking for a golden brown, moist yet crispy-skinned bird.
Save Those Juices
When the turkey is done, you’ll have quite a pan of turkey drippings to deal with – this is a great thing! Don’t toss the liquid; rather, save it for a gravy, or to season some veggies, or to pour over your stuffing. The juices are often the most flavorful part, so they’d be a shame to waste!