If you are looking for easy ways to cook a turkey perfectly, you need to know some secrets. Today, we are revealing those secrets here! Use these easy ways of cooking a turkey given below and not only will you avoid safety hazards, deep fried messes and elaborate kitchen cleanups, but will be able to cook a delicious, juicy and succulent turkey every time! Cooking a turkey is no rocket science; and we are easing the process for you!
1. Thaw the turkey based on its weight
If you want to cook delicious and moist turkey each time, you must thaw it for the precise amount of time. Here is a handy chart for thawing times based on the weight of the turkey:
- 8-12lb- 2-3 days
- 13-16 lb-3-4 days
- 21-24 lb-5-6 days
The only place to thaw the turkey is in the refrigerator. If needed, clear out your fridge 3-4 days before Thanksgiving to make room for the bird. Never use other thawing methods like running cold water or popping it in the microwave –these methods could give rise to bacterial contamination.
2. Maintain exact oven temperature
This is the proven way of cooking a moist and delicious turkey each time. Always pre-heat the oven to 475 F for 20 minutes. This will “seal in the moisture” and keep your white meat juicy. Once you have preheated the oven at exactly this temperature, you will need to reduce it to 250 F.
3. Butter the turkey in all the right places
First of all-remove the neck and giblets-you might find this part gross but it is one the most important steps needed to cook a succulent and perfect turkey each time. Most packaged turkeys have the giblets stored in packets and you only need to remove these. Next, gently separate the skin from the breast (do not remove the skin). Put your hand underneath the skin and in between that and the breast meat. Rub melted butter in this region. If needed wear gloves to do this step. Do not apply butter outside the skin.
4. Place the herbs
This part is optional though herbs like thyme and rosemary greatly enhance the flavor of the meat. You will need to again insert your hand inside the skin and the breast meat and place few fresh or dried sprigs of the above herbs in this area. Do not place any stuffing inside the turkey.
5. Cook the stuffing separately
Always cook the stuffing separately in a casserole. Cooking the stuffing inside the bird is actually a health hazard you can do without.
6. Apply salt and pepper to the skin
The only thing you apply to the skin is pepper and salt. This will keep the skin crispy. As stated above, do not apply any butter to the skin.
7. Tips to roast the turkey
Now that your bird is prepared, place it in a glass roasting pan with a cover. Place the pan in the preheated oven (remember-preheat at 475 F for 20 minutes). This will help ‘seal’ the bird. Next, after the 20 minutes of preheating are done, reduce heat to 250 F. This is the ideal temperature for cooking a turkey. Any higher and you will end up with an overcooked and dry bird. Cook at 250 F for 20 additional minutes per pound of the bird’s body weight. You need not baste the bird. Use a meat temperature to ensure that the inner temperature is between 170 and 180 F for the thigh meat.
8. Allow the bird to rest before carving
Once the thigh meat has attained a temperature of 180 F, remove the bird from the oven and rest it for 20 minutes. This helps the juices redistribute themselves which makes the meat more succulent, juicier and also easier for carving.
And that’s that! Use the above 8 steps and you will end up with a delicious, juicy and mouthwatering turkey each time! Happy Thanksgiving!