Ahh.., buying and cooking your turkey! It can be a perplexing and overwhelming process without some expert cooking advice. Never fear! Here are 15 Terrific, Free Tips for Cooking Your Turkey.
1.Did you know that you can purchase your turkey fresh, frozen, or hard-chilled (aka deep-chilled)? A turkey is considered fresh if it has not been cooled below 26 degrees Fahrenheit. A turkey chilled below 0 degrees Fahrenheit is considered frozen; and, for hard-chilled it is below 26 degrees Fahrenheit, but not below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (What’s Cooking America).
2. A variety of specialty types of turkeys can be purchased including free-range, heritage, kosher, natural, organic, and smoked. To be considered organic, turkeys must have been allowed to roam freely, given organic feed, and have received no antibiotics. Natural turkeys must have no artificial ingredients added (Recipetips.com). Heritage turkeys have historical traits that have been passed from generation to generation (Wikipedia).
3. Butterball’s website offers handy conversion tables and cooking calculators that will help you determine how much turkey you need and how long to cook it.
4. Common ways to cook turkeys include frying, roasting, and smoking. On Thanksgiving Day alone, 51 million plus turkeys will be eaten (Statistic Brain Research Institute).
5. Do not wash your turkey before cooking. Bacteria can be spread on surfaces as water splashes over the turkey (University of Illinois Extension).
6. A disposal aluminum pan is not great for roasting a turkey. The weight of the bird can easily collapse the side of the pan as you are pulling it out of the oven, causing burns (University of Illinois Extension).
7. When roasting a turkey, many expert chefs suggest brining or marinating your turkey before hand. Butterball suggests marinating for 2 to 8 hours, a bit longer for stronger flavor.
8. For wet brining, check out this helpful video from Whole Foods.
9. After brining, pat your turkey dry and drain the cavity of the bird thoroughly (Fine Cooking).
10. When roasting a turkey, resist the urge to open the oven to peep at the bird. Opening and closing the oven can lead heat to escape.
11. If frying a turkey, MAKE SURE that you know what you are doing before you start. This video from the Art of Manliness is very clear and filled with safety tips.
12. Your turkey should be cooked through to a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to be considered done (Smoker Cooking.com)
13. After cooking your turkey, let it rest for 20 minutes before carving. You will find carving will be easier (USDA).
14. Speaking of carving, here is a nice tutorial from The New York Times.
15. No turkey dinner is complete without some yummy gravy to go along with it. Here is a super easy turkey gravy recipe from The Kitchn. Hint: If you roast the turkey, be sure and save those pan drippings.
For more cooking inspiration, have a look at: