My Mom never taught me how to make a turkey.
Despite the fact that every year in my existence she’s made turkey for Thanksgiving, I was never shown how. Maybe I never asked, maybe I never cared, maybe she was so busy prepping a meal for 50 that showing a child the tricks to delivering a tasty bird seemed irrelevant. I don’t blame her.
But you know, the turkey only seems daunting. Other than taking a good while to cook, it’s really not complicated.
Jon is the turkey man in our house, and it’s a job he enjoys. I’m stoked about it, too, as I like to eat it and not have to make it. So, while he made our big bird yesterday, I took note to clue you in on the little tips and tricks to make the Thanksgiving Turkey a little less scary for you.
Don’t be frightened. You can do it. I know you can.
Allow enough time to thaw that frozen bird. A turkey is a monster, and man is it ever frozen. Hopefully you bought yours several days before the big event, and if so, you’re pretty set. The average 15 pound turkey will thaw in the fridge in about 4 days. Yes, DAYS. Once thawed, it’s fine to leave it in there for 4 more. However, maybe you waited until the day before to buy yours, waiting for the best sale. (Hint, don’t ever do this, as every store in the tri-state area will run out, and you’ll be forced to call all of your friends to see if maybe they bought an extra, or are willing to sell you theirs, not that I know from experience or anything.) But back to the point – you CAN thaw a frozen turkey in the sink, covered in water. It will take roughly 30 minutes per pound, so a 15 pounder will take about 8 hours. Allow for longer, though, just in case.
Prep for success. Find a recipe you like, or not, it really isn’t rocket science. It’s meat. Some people opt for a brine, some people opt to inject the bird with butter, oils, honey or spice, some opt to just mix some butter with a few tasty herbs and rub it under the turkey skin. The latter is what we typically do. If this is your first time ever seeing a naked turkey, be warned. They put leftover bird parts inside the turkey. Like the neck. Take those God-awful things out. Throw them away of you want, or, you can make stock or gravy with them. So sue me, I throw it all away. It looks nasty and therefore in my mind, no matter what, it’s gonna taste nasty. Don’t let my issues be YOUR issues. I hear that neck makes a great turkey stock.
High heat to start. The biggest issue most folks have with a turkey is that the white meat dries out. This is because the dark meat takes longer to reach temp, or because the juices drain out. One way to combat this is to crank the heat up at the start of the cooking process. We cook ours at 450 for 45 minutes, to thoroughly brown the skin and seal in those juices. Then we back the temp down to 325 for the duration, about 2 1/2 more hours for a 15 pound turkey. Just stop cooking when a thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 160F, the recommended USDA temperature for safe eating. The breast portion will most certainly be done at that point. If you notice that part way through baking that the top of the turkey is looking a little more brown than you would like, it’s best to tent it with aluminum foil. This will prevent it from over cooking.
Baste. Baste the turkey with its juices about once every twenty minutes to half an hour hour. Don’t overdo it. Yes, I know it smells good and seems impressive, but twice (to 3 times) an hour is enough.
The juices. Yes, they are divine. Make them into gravy, save them for stock. Just don’t get ride of them! You can prepare a wonderful soup on the Saturday after the holiday with this liquid gold!
REST. Once your turkey has reached the appropriate 160F temp, do NOT CUT INTO IT. Wait. Let those juices redistribute for 20 minutes. Besides, it’s HOT. Just wait, the difference will be worth it!
Now, go buy your turkey. Make plans. You can do it!
Day Three…The Giveaway
Tri-ply Stainless Steel Le Creuset Roasting Set
Oh kids, she is a beaut. Durable. Weighty, but not too heavy. Shiny. Just gorgeous. Absolutely divine for roasting a turkey, or a prime rib, or a beef wellington. Just use the rack for a turkey, and you’ll have picture ready poultry in no time. Can’t wait to win? Well, I hear you. Luckily, this set is on a HUGE sale right now at Le Creuset. Normally $275, now $149. $149!!
To enter to win, just comment here letting me know you want them.
For one additional chance (just choose one) – Share this post link on Twitter or on Facebook. Return here to let me know you did, and now you’ve entered to win TWICE.
Two total entries per person, max. All extra comments will be deleted.
Open to US Addresses Only (so very sorry Internationals, I do appreciate you, though), and is courtesy of and shipped by Le Creuset. Giveaway ends November 19, 11:59pm EST.
The BIG DEAL
See that 7 Quart KitchenAid? I know you want it. I certainly can’t blame you. So, to keep it fun and interesting, I’m giving you LOTS of extra opportunities to win it. For every giveaway you enter during my 25 Days of Doughmesstic Christmas, if you’ll go comment on THIS POST (Click thru!) saying “I entered to win the …” (you know, whatever you entered to win), you’ll get a BONUS entry to win the mixer. That’s 24 additional chances to win that bad boy. So scoot! Go enter to win today’s giveaway, and then visit THIS POST to comment for your bonus entries on the mixer.
Good Luck, and see you back here tomorrow for more fun things to win! And, don’t forget to scroll back to each of the posts from this week to enter to win the other great gifts from the Gift Guide!