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There are fewer things more daunting than staring at a gigantic, naked turkey on Christmas morning, especially if you’ve never cooked one before.
But it doesn’t have to be all Nightmare Before Christmas! We’re here so that when your guests start arriving on the big day, you aren’t flapping about your bird being raw or undercooked.
We’ve teamed up with our friends at Kelly Turkeys to put together a checklist of helpful tips, tricks, timings and advice to make sure that your centrepiece is a real showstopper.
- First things first, make sure your turkey is going to fit into the oven. Does it? Good.
- You’re going to need a roasting tin that’s big enough for the bird with room to spare, and deep enough to catch all the fat and cooking juices.
- Make a note of the weight of your bird, and check it again if you have scales big enough at home. Knowing the exact weight will ensure the cooking time is correct, and thus avoid an overcooked and dry bird, or a raw one.
- Get your timings right. And don’t forget to leave time for your turkey to rest when it comes out of the oven. Turkeys between 4-6kg should be rested for 1½ hours, and ones from 6-10kg can rest for two hours.
- Heat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4
4-5kg – cook 2¼ to 2½ hours
5-6kg – cook 2½ to 3 hours
6-7kg – cook 3 hours to 3½ hours
7-8kg – cook 3½ to 4 hours
8-9kg – cook 4 to 4¼ hours
9-10kg – cook 4¼ to 4½ hours
- Get your turkey out of the fridge 30 minutes before you cook it. You’ll get less shrinkage when it goes into a hot oven.
- Always preheat your oven for at least 20 minutes before cooking your turkey.
- Place a trivet of veggies and onions in the bottom of the tray to help make an epic gravy with all the juices.
- Cover the turkey loosely with foil, but remove it just under an hour before the timing is up to get the turkey nicely browned.
- Roast your bird for the calculated time, or until the juices run clear from the thigh if you pierce it with a knife or a skewer.
- Supermarket high-welfare turkey should be cooked to an internal temperature of 70ºC. If you have a dry-plucked, dry-aged, excellent quality bird, you can cook it to 65ºC, as it should be a safer product to eat.
- Once cooked, carefully lift the turkey out of the tray and rest on a board. Cover loosely with foil for at least an hour while you get on cooking your roast potatoes.
Watch Jamie show you his failsafe roast turkey recipe here:
And for more advice on buying, preparing and cooking your turkey, check out our ultimate guide.
How to Cook the Perfect Turkey
Cooking a turkey for the holidays is one of the biggest meal preparation projects most people tackle all year. Just the size of the bird itself can be intimidating, not to mention all of the horror stories associated with the ghosts of ruined turkeys past. Believe it or not, cooking turkey is easier than it used to be, and whatever your method of choice, you can prepare a bird that tastes and looks great every time.
Avoid Rookie Mistakes
Almost everyone falls prey to at least one turkey gotcha at some time or another. If you're a novice at preparing this traditional American dish, avoid these mistakes:
- Allow for Enough Thawing Time - Turkeys are big and take a long time to defrost. The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends thawing the bird either in the refrigerator (one day for every 4 to 5 pounds or 1.8 to 2.3 kilograms), immersed in cold water (30 minutes per pound), or in the microwave according to the manufacturer's instructions. Never leave a turkey out to thaw at room temperature [source: USDA].
- Remove the Innards - Whole turkeys come with either one or two packets, which include the neck and giblets. They'll be concealed in the cavities front and back. Be sure to take them out when you prep the bird.
- Don't Stuff the Bird - Stuffing the turkey is a time honored tradition, but it also makes it harder to cook a succulent bird when you have to cook it long enough to heat the stuffing, too.
Add Extra Flavor
Turkey is a mild flavored meat that lends itself well to extra seasonings. You can do this a number of ways. When you add flavor with moisture, you help to increase the chances that the breast meat will stay nice and juicy through the cooking process. You can add juices by injecting the turkey with a mixture of ingredients, like butter, water and honey. There are special injecting needles available that make this an easy proposition. You can also add juices and flavor by soaking the turkey in a brine solution. This is an immersion bath of salt water and sugar to which you add spices. If these options seem like too much work, you can always just slather some herbed butter under the skin around the breasts and anywhere else you can reach.
Beyond moist flavorings, you can add any number of seasonings and rubs to the outer skin, or stuff the bird with aromatics, like sliced onions, celery, apples, sage, carrots, rosemary or anything else that strikes your fancy.
Review the Recipe
The good news is that you won't have to cook the turkey as long as your mother did. In 2006, the USDA changed the rules for how long you need to cook fowl in order to kill harmful bacteria. According to current guidelines, turkey should attain an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius). This is lower than lots of recipes you'll find on the web and in print. You also have more cooking options than ever before. Beyond simply roasting the turkey, you can smoke it, deep fry or grill it. Any of these methods will yield a moist bird if you take the time to deal with one of the biggest challenges involved in preparing a whole turkey, uneven cooking [source: USDA].
Don't Overcook the Breast
Turkey breast cooks faster than the leg or thigh. The biggest trick in preparing turkey is to keep the breast from overcooking while the thigh and other dark meat comes up to temperature. Adding moisture to the raw turkey, as with injecting and brining, helps, but you'll also have to employ a cooking strategy that protects the breast from drying out. The one exception to this is when you can effectively seal the bird so moisture can't escape, as with deep-frying.
The most common method, and the one you're probably familiar with, is to tent the breast with aluminum foil. This isn't the only way, though. Raising the temperature when the bird first goes in the oven can help partially seal in the juices too. You'll find this method in some recipes that require an initially high temperature of 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232 degrees Celsius) or more with a bump down to the USDA minimum recommended cooking temperature of 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 degrees Celsius) after a half hour to an hour. Another option is to start the bird with the breast side down and then flip it after an hour [source: USDA].
Other Tips and Tricks
To make monitoring the temperature of the bird as effortless as possible, place an oven thermometer in the thickest part of the raw thigh, away from the bone, before you stick it in the oven. This is the spot where you need to determine doneness. Take the bird out of the oven about three to five degrees shy of the desired temperature. It will keep cooking as it rests. Leave your masterpiece undisturbed for 20 to 25 minutes to redistribute the juices before carving.
That's it. With some spices, a reliable thermometer and a plan for keeping the breast meat from overcooking, you can prepare a perfect turkey every time. Just remember to make it look hard. That way you can get someone else to do the cleanup.
Every Thanksgiving, Americans eat more than 45 million turkeys [source: USDA].
10 Tips for Cooking the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey
Armed with our top 10 turkey tips, you'll come out looking like a pro on Thanksgiving Day. Whether you're hosting your first Thanksgiving dinner or your fiftieth, these indispensable tips will help you turn out a terrific turkey.
HOW TO ROAST A TURKEY Laura Wallis The Simplest Roast Turkey Food Network Kitchens Whole Turkey, Salt, Pepper, Onions, Lemons, Herbs
Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved
Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved
1. Choose the right type of turkey for you.
Heritage? Organic? Fresh? Frozen? There are lots of choices out there. A heritage turkey is right for you if you want to try an old-fashioned breed of turkey, often leggier and leaner and more flavorful, and don't mind paying a little extra for it. If organics are important, you may already have your eye on a turkey raised according to organic standards, and fed organic feed. If you'd prefer a traditional fresh or frozen bird, pick the healthiest-looking one in the weight range you need, and make sure it looks well fed for its size. And, remember, fresh may not necessarily be better than frozen frozen turkeys are snap-frozen just after butchering.
2. Figure on 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per person.
To buy the right size turkey for your party, simply tally up the turkey-eating guests. Add a few pounds on for bones and you've got your turkey weight. For example, 8 people will require a 12 to 14-pound turkey.
3. Cook the turkey on a rack of vegetables.
Create a natural roasting rack for your turkey by layering carrots, onions and celery on the bottom of the roasting pan. 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. And the vegetables add great flavor to the gravy.
4. Brining keeps it moist.
Brining is an easy, sure-fire way to a moist and flavorful turkey. A typical brining solution contains water, salt, sugar and a variety of spices and aromatics. Just be sure to follow a trusted recipe so you get the right proportion of each.
5. Keep the stuffing on the side.
Chances are the Thanksgivings of your childhood featured a stuffing cooked right in the cavity of the turkey. Go ahead and use your family recipe, but we suggest you cook the stuffing in a separate pan. Cooking the stuffing in the turkey can provide fertile ground for the growth of harmful bacteria. In addition, a stuffed turkey will take longer to cook, which could result in drier white meat. Instead, loosely fill the turkey with aromatics such as onions and herbs, and cook the stuffing separately.
6. To tie or not to tie.
To help ensure that poultry cooks evenly, many professional cooks like to truss their birds, which is just a fancy term for tying them up. While it's not a necessary step in cooking a terrific turkey, it can be fun to show off your culinary skills at home. Simply tuck the wings of the turkey under the body and tie the legs together with kitchen string to create a tight package.
7. Rub the turkey with butter or oil.
Before putting it in the oven, make sure the skin of the turkey is as dry as possible, and then rub it all over with butter or oil. For even moister meat, place pats of butter under the skin.
8. Skip the basting.
Basting means more oven door opening, resulting in temperature fluctuations that can dry out your bird. Instead, keep your turkey moist by brining it or by rubbing it all over with butter or oil.
9. Invest in a good meat thermometer.
Check for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the turkey around the thigh, avoiding the bone. At 165 degrees F, it's done. The turkey will continue to cook as it rests, so the temperature should rise another 10 degrees or so out of the oven.
10. Give it a rest.
To lock in juices, tent your turkey with foil and let it rest for at least 15 to 20 minutes before carving. Be sure you don't cover the turkey too tightly as you don't want the bird to steam under the foil.
Browse our best turkey recipes to find the perfect bird for your Thanksgiving feast.
Perfect Turkey. Tips, Recipes and Leftover Ideas
Thanksgiving was our busiest day all the years we had our Restaurant, Levana. I suspect the reason was, beside bringing many families together and offering complete and delicious Thanksgiving meals with bells and whistles, quite simply, some people are afraid of turkey.
Big Bird can really err on the imposing side!
Many people recoil from roasting turkey, even when they are promised a perfect turkey. And who could blame them? I often see in food magazines instructions for getting a tender turkey and priming it for roasting. One of those articles made me chuckle. It went something like, “Remove 2 shelves from your refrigerator, fill a very large square tub with very cold water, add 2 pounds kosher salt, leave the turkey in this brine 2 days, turning it over twice a day, etc.” Is it any wonder the public consumes turkey so rarely, if at all, besides during the compulsory Thanksgiving Day? My own comment about this utterly impractical little adventure is, simply, get a kosher turkey—end of story! My non-kosher food spies assure me: The difference in flavor and texture is like the difference between night and day. And the main reason is the salting process that follows the slaughtering.
Are you in search of the Perfect Roasted Bird? Good: that makes all of us!
Here are my tips for Perfect Turkey, including Turkey Leftovers Ideas and Recipes!
If only you would follow these very simple tips for perfect turkey, you would enjoy turkey all year round, without any trepidation or wariness whatsoever—and as importantly, without thinking about it as a day-long project:
1. Start with a very tender (meaning, Kosher) turkey:
Kosher turkey is the perfect turkey. It is my solemn duty to tell you that no turkey (or any poultry for that matter) will come anywhere close to a kosher turkey, as the salting step in the koshering process makes it ideally tender. Dear non-kosher readers, let me allay any fears that any danger of getting inducted into some mysterious order might be lurking just from buying a kosher turkey! The greatest danger it might get you into is a fabulous dinner!
2. Get yourself a real, not disposable, pan.
There is no possible comparison between the two. Food made in disposable containers tastes and looks hopelessly, well, disposable, beside being downright unhealthy. Need I say more?
3. Bake the turkey breast side down
so as to keep it very moist throughout the baking time, and turn it over only in the last hour of baking, to give the breast a deep amber color.
4. Bake the turkey in a liquid:
No baking rack. In one fell swoop, the bird is super moist, and your gravy is all there. Reduce the cooking liquid on a high flame until it is the consistency of maple syrup, then strain it over the sliced bird. No thickeners or starches, heaven forbid! What could be better than a sauce reduction? That’s the whole story!
5. Perfect Turkey Leftovers:
I have listed several leftovers menu ideas here, but let’s start with the obvious: Did you know turkey bones make the best chicken soup? Don’t lose your head on a busy Thanksgiving Day and throw all those scrumptious turkey bones as you are slicing, thinking you are all maxed out: Throw them all in a zipper bag and freeze—they will make you the best chicken soup! If I might even push my luck a drop further, I would recommend that you put a large pot of water to boil and right there and then, even as you slice your turkey, throw all your bones and scraps into the pot, with some onions, carrots, celery, dill, parsnips ( just peel and throw in whole), and a couple teaspoons turmeric. Before you know it, you will have yourself a gallon of delicious chicken (all right, turkey: the best) soup, and strain the soup, pressing hard on the solids to extract all the good flavors. Or make a chicken vegetable soup: Throw all the bones and scraps in one of those fabulous Wrap’n’Boil Cheesecloth Bags (in this case no chicken necessary for the recipe: This will get you covered!
Turkey Salad, Turkey burgers, using my Mock Crab Cake Recipe, coarsely grinding the meat Pasta or Lasagna throw the minced scraps in a Pad Thai or Risotto dice it in a salad throw it in soup grind it with some shallot, Herbes de Provence and a little brandy for a delicious spread. Make a No Bake Tricolor Turkey Terrine that will take you five minutes and will make you look a pro!
I must tell you I don’t like stuffing turkey, but you will pleased to see I suggest plenty of side dishes that will go beautifully with the turkey: Pour a little turkey gravy over your side dish and you got yourself “stuffing”.
Now that we had this little talk, I have a major treat for you: My Thanksgiving Menu with Recipes Consider this whole chapter your induction into Thanksgiving Cooking! Plus: My New Cookbook is chock-full of turkey-based recipes: I hope you order it!
Just a thought on parting: It’s interesting: We observant Jews prepare sumptuous weekly Shabbos meals for family, friends and perfect strangers, without any fuss or any complaints. Every week is Thanksgiving week, with much much more than turkey. I confess I get quite impatient with the Thanksgiving frenzy that sets in weeks before the Big Turkey Day, an goes on practically until the following New Year. So come on people, get in that kitchen and roast that turkey, OK?
Tips for the perfect turkey
1. Buy a farm-fresh bird
Tierra Verde Farms Turkeys feed on pasture, gobbling up all the insects and grasses they can. They are supplemented with non-gmo feed and are never given antibiotics. These turkeys live a pretty nice life.
2. Brine your turkey
A good brine is the key to a juicy (ahem…not dry) turkey. Tierra Verde has a great recipe. Check it out here!
3. Don’t stuff your bird.
Stuffing your bird produces a delicious stuffing. But it also pulls moisture from the turkey, leaving it dry, with no amount of gravy capable of salvaging any hint of juiciness. Instead, stuff your bird with aromatic vegetables and herbs like onions, carrots, apples, thyme and rosemary.
4. Skip the basting and get under the skin.
Basting isn't all it's cracked up to be. The turkey doesn't actually absorb many of those juices, as they mostly roll right back down to the bottom. A much more effective strategy is to put herbed butter or ghee underneath the skin. Use about 1/4-1/2 cup of butter and mix in some chopped rosemary, thyme, sage, kosher salt and black pepper, then use your fingers to get underneath the skin and rub it all over the meat. Afterwards, rub your fingers over the skin to get rid of any air bubbles that may have formed underneath the skin. If you don't do this steam will collect in those areas and the bird won't cook evenly. This makes a huge difference.
5. Roast the turkey breast side down.
I know, I know. This sounds blasphemous, especially for all you crispy skin lovers out there (more on that below). But dry turkey breast is probably the most common Thanksgiving cooking blunder. That's because the breast and the thighs and legs cook at different temperatures. The thighs and the legs have more fat than the breast, so they take longer to cook. And by the time they're done, the lean breast is left dry and chewy. This can be alleviated by roasting it breast side down. Then the turkey rests closer to all the juices in the bottom of the pan, keeping it nice and juicy.
But wait, I have one more blasphemous comment for you. I have a theory that crispy skin is actually a myth. Just hear me out! The skin is only crispy right after you take it out of the oven. But you have to allow the bird to rest so it can seal in the juices, and you want to keep it tented with aluminum foil while it's resting. So by the time you're ready to carve it up, the skin has been sitting underneath all that condensation and it isn't crispy anymore. So for those of you who claim that crispy skin is why you don't want to roast it breast side down, I'm sorry to tell you that is a moot point. Just try it. I dare you.
How to brine a turkey: Recipes, times
Brining is similar to marinating, but is primarily focused on moistening the meat as opposed to adding flavor. Brining your turkey prior to cooking will help ensure you end up with a deliciously moist and flavor-packed turkey for your next gathering.
The first step in the process is selecting your brine recipe. Savory Turkey Brine made with Kikkoman Soy Sauce is a simple and versatile choice that works for any occasion. Once you've selected your brine you'll need to:
Purchase a fresh turkey to eliminate the need to thaw, or completely thaw a frozen turkey.
The night before roasting, remove the giblets and turkey neck. Rinse the turkey inside and out.
Prepare your brine. Be sure to mix ingredients until all of the salt is dissolved. If your brine is heated, be sure to cool it to room temperature before brining.
Place your turkey, breast down, in a large container made of food-grade plastic, stainless steel, glass, or a brining bag. Be sure the container will fit in your fridge.
Add brine, covering the entire turkey.
Place in the refrigerator for the specified period of time.
Remove turkey from brine after recommended time. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Cook turkey as desired.
Perfect Brine Time
12 lbs. or less - 8 to 12 hrs.
12 to 14 lbs. - 9 to 14 hrs.
20 lbs. and over -15 to 20 hrs.
Savory Turkey Brine Recipe
2 gallons cold water
10 ounces Soy Sauce
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons dried sage
2 tablespoons dried celery seed
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 16 - 24 lbs. Butterball Whole Turkey
Mix all ingredients until the salt is dissolved and follow our Brining Steps.
Did You Know.
As a rule of thumb, you should brine your turkey 45 to 60 minutes per pound.
Oven: This is quite simply the best way to cook bacon: no spattering, no burning, minimal shrinkage and best of all, lots of clean rendered fat that you can store in the fridge for a rainy day.
Line a sheet pan with a large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil, then place a roasting rack or wire cooling rack on top of it. Lay out your bacon out on the rack, and don’t worry about leaving any spaces in between, or even overlapping a little bit if you need the room. The bacon shrinks as it cooks, so there’s no need to worry.
Roast at 400ଏ degrees for at least 15 minutes before checking—the exact cooking time will vary depending on how crispy you want your bacon to get. Once it’s done, carefully remove it from the oven and, using tongs, flip the strips over to allow any grease that may have pooled on top to drip off.
After you’ve had your way with the bacon, carefully lift up the foil like a sling and pour the liquid fat into a clean jar, because wasting bacon fat is a sin.
The water hack:America’s Test Kitchen gave the world this “hack” a few years back and it’s a total game changer for you folks who hate turning on the oven. Arrange your bacon strips in the widest pan you have in your kitchen𠅏rying pan, pasta pot, doesn’t matter as long as it’s got a lot of surface area. Pour enough cold water over the bacon to just cover and place over high heat.
As the water comes to a boil it will slowly render excess fat from the bacon. Allow it to completely boil off, then reduce heat to medium and fry the bacon in its own grease, flipping often to make sure it cooks evenly.
Brick: Cast-iron purists may balk at adding water to their precious pans. If you’re one of them, make your bacon they way they do at the diner by weighing it down on a rocket hot surface. Heat that pan on high for at least three minutes, add your bacon in flat strips, then put a foil lined brick (or two) on top to hold it down. Sprinkle a bit of kosher salt over the non-brick areas, which will help keep the grease from popping out of the pan onto your delicate forearms. Check bacon after two minutes to monitor its progress, flip when you feel it’s ready.
Bird Brainstorm11/20/19 By Katy Peetz
Roasting a turkey is easy. Roasting a juicy turkey with perfectly blistered golden brown skin? Not so easy. But it can be. Follow these five tips, and you'll be responsible for a flawless Thanksgiving turkey your guests will always remember.
① Brine and Dry
You must brine your bird using either a wet or dry brine. Both produce a seasoned, juicy turkey, but in different ways.
A wet brine is a salt solution in which you submerge your turkey for four to 48 hours. As the turkey soaks, the salt draws out moisture and replaces that lost moisture with seasoned brine, adding flavor and tenderizing the meat. Meat-centric restaurant titan Vinny Dotolo likes using a wet brine for his turkey, saying the lean meat really benefits from the brine's flavor. His L.A. restaurants depend on classic aromatics like rosemary, thyme, lemon, bay leaf and garlic.
Photo: Katie Foster/Tasting Table
A dry brine refers to a salt cure that you slather onto the bird and then let sit overnight in the fridge and/or at room temperature for one hour before going into a hot oven. The salt works like the wet brine, but because there is no additional liquid, the bird's own juices yield a more pronounced meaty flavor and a crispier skin. Matt Lambert of The Musket Room swears by dry brining but admits that the finished product may not be as moist as a wet-brined turkey. His key to victory is to never add water and sugar. "Sweetness is not a flavor I'm ever trying to impart on meat. Turkeys aren't dessert."
② The Perfect Rack
DIY your rack instead of buying one, like George Mendes of Lupulo does for his Portuguese Roast Turkey. Layer the bottom of your roasting pan with carrots, onion, celery and bay leaf. As the vegetables cook, they release steam, helping keep the turkey juicy and preventing the bird from being overcooked. Get creative with your rack and add dried herb bunches, sturdy vegetables like squash and potatoes, and even halved citrus.
③ Tricks to Avoid Overcooking
Never put a frozen turkey, or even a refrigerated one, directly into a preheated oven. Let the turkey sit at room temperature for at least one hour to raise its internal temperature. This will ensure even cooking from skin to bone.
Always use a meat thermometer to take the temperature of the thickest part of the turkey, located around the thigh, avoiding the bone. The ideal final temperature for a juicy turkey is 165°. The meat will cook an additional 10° as it rests, so remove the turkey from the oven when the temperature reaches 155° to 160°.
Photo: USDA via Flickr
Now, this is important: Breasts cook faster than the legs. Different tactics can be used to avoid overcooking the breasts. Food science writer Harold McGee puts ice packs onto the turkey breasts while letting the bird sit at room temperature before roasting. Mendes removes his turkey from the oven when the breasts reach 155°, lets it rest for 20 minutes and then carves off the breasts. Then he returns the turkey to the oven and continues to roast it until the legs reach a slightly higher temperature, around 160°.
If you own a grill, create a double oven with coals lined in a half-moon shape along the outside edge of one side of the grill. This will create two different cooking temperatures for each part of the turkey. You can spatchcock the turkey and throw it on, allowing the legs to cook closest to the fire (around the outside edges) and the breasts further away from the fire (in the center).
Photo: Dave Katz/Tasting Table
④ Start Hot, Then Double Drop
Always start with a hot oven. To achieve perfectly blistered, golden brown skin, preheat the oven to 475°. After the turkey goes in, immediately reduce the oven temperature to 425° and cook for 20 minutes. Drop to 350° and continue to roast until done. Oh, and you'll need to invest in an oven thermometer to know the exact temperature of your bird as it cooks.
⑤ Give It a Rest
Resting a turkey is not optional. It's as necessary as any step in this process. Let the turkey rest for at least 20 minutes and up to one and a half hours after taking it out of the oven and before carving. This ensures maximum flavor and juiciness. Covering with foil isn't necessary and risks steaming the skin and overcooking the turkey, which, of course, is very bad.
- One 20- to 21-pound fresh whole turkey, giblets and neck removed from cavity and reserved
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- One 750-ml bottle dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- Classic Stuffing
- 1 cup dry red or white wine, for gravy (optional)
- Giblet Stock
Rinse turkey with cool water, and dry with paper towels. Let stand for 2 hours at room temperature.
Place rack on lowest level in oven. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine melted butter and white wine in a bowl. Fold a large piece of cheesecloth into quarters and cut it into a 17-inch, 4-layer square. Immerse cheesecloth in the butter and wine let soak.
Place turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack in a heavy metal roasting pan. If the turkey comes with a pop-up timer, remove it an instant-read thermometer is a much more accurate indication of doneness. Fold wing tips under turkey. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper inside turkey. Fill large cavity and neck cavity loosely with as much stuffing as they hold comfortably do not pack tightly. (Cook remaining stuffing in a buttered baking dish for 45 minutes at 375 degrees.) Tie legs together loosely with kitchen string (a bow will be easy to untie later). Fold neck flap under, and secure with toothpicks. Rub turkey with the softened butter, and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and pepper.
Lift cheesecloth out of liquid, and squeeze it slightly, leaving it very damp. Spread it evenly over the breast and about halfway down the sides of the turkey it can cover some of the leg area. Place turkey, legs first, in oven. Cook for 30 minutes. Using a pastry brush, baste cheesecloth and exposed parts of turkey with butter and wine. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to cook for 2 1/2 more hours, basting every 30 minutes and watching pan juices if the pan gets too full, spoon out juices, reserving them for gravy.
After this third hour of cooking, carefully remove and discard cheesecloth. Turn roasting pan so that the breast is facing the back of the oven. Baste turkey with pan juices. If there are not enough juices, continue to use butter and wine. The skin gets fragile as it browns, so baste carefully. Cook 1 more hour, basting after 30 minutes.
After this fourth hour of cooking, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. Do not poke into a bone. The temperature should reach 180 degrees (stuffing should be between 140 degrees and 160 degrees) and the turkey should be golden brown. The breast does not need to be checked for temperature. If legs are not yet fully cooked, baste turkey, return to oven, and cook another 20 to 30 minutes.
When fully cooked, transfer turkey to a serving platter, and let rest for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the gravy. Pour all the pan juices into a glass measuring cup. Let stand until grease rises to the surface, about 10 minutes, then skim it off. Meanwhile, place roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup dry red or white wine, or water, to the pan. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the pan until liquid boils and all the crisp bits are unstuck from pan. Add giblet stock to pan. Stir well, and bring back to a boil. Cook until liquid has reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add the defatted pan juices, and cook over medium-high heat 10 minutes more. You will have about 2 1/2 cups of gravy. Season to taste, strain into a warm gravy boat, and serve with turkey.
Tips for Cooking Ground Turkey
If you are wondering how to make ground turkey fit your taste, there are tips to follow. Ground turkey can be rolled into shaped burgers, meatballs, crumbled into a sauce, and more. Please read on for additional tips on how to store, choose, and prepare a good tasty ground turkey.
When planning to cook ground turkey, first decide what to cook them with. Instead of eating ground beef that is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, you can choose ground turkey which is less in saturated fat and cholesterol level. This will help you choose the right type of ground turkey. A wrong choice will alter or spoil your expected taste and flavor.
You can store the ground turkey in its original packaging, but if you want it to last longer, consider repackaging it in a freezer bag and then place it into a freezer. Note, when storing ground turkey make sure its wrapped with as little air as possible to avoid bacteria growth.
You can thaw a ground turkey in the microwave or a bowl full of cold water. If you are planning on cooking ground turkey which is already thawed, you should do it for two to three days.
Seasoning properly brings a nice addition of flavor or spice to some food. By seasoning properly, for example, sprinkling salt, adding pepper, or addition of herbs or spices, you really do affect the ground turkey's end flavor.
If you happen to overcook ground turkey, you will have lost its nice flavor. It will be crumbly and dry because of its lower fat content.
How to Bake a Turkey (perfect easy recipe)
Vegetable Stuffing Ingredients:
2 large onions, peeled and quartered
3-4 stalks celery, cut in several pieces
2-3 carrots, cut in several pieces
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
In a small bowl, mix together and prepare the seasoning blend and set aside. Prep the turkey by folding underneath the wings. Then, season the inside of the turkey generously with the prepared seasoning blend.
Stuff the inside of the turkey with the chopped up vegetables, rosemary, and sage. Then, secure the legs of the turkey with string.
To make the skin of the turkey amazingly delicious and buttery crisp, loosen the skin on the top of the breast–I just use my fingers, but a silicon spatula works great, too. You really want to loosen that skin so that you have room to add all the herbed butter. It really helps to moisten the meat and gives the skin a nice golden crispness, too.
Add several large spoonfuls of the herbed butter under the skin. Then rub down the top of the turkey breast to spread the butter throughout. Rub the remaining herbed butter all over the outside of the turkey and sprinkle generously with the rest of the seasoning blend.
Add the rest of the chopped up vegetables to the bottom of a roasting pan, about a 1/2 inch water, and then place the prepared turkey on the top.
To prevent the top from burning, add a piece of foil over the breast, then roast according to the turkey’s packaging directions, removing the foil the last hour of baking, and basting a couple of times during baking, too.