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Turkey 101: Tips for Making This Year's Turkey Perfection!

Nov 17, 2017 07:31PM ● Published by Linda Ditch

Turkey time has arrived. Does this traditional Thanksgiving bird give you grief, such as not thawing in time, lacking flavor, or having the dreaded too-dry texture? Here are a few basic tips for making this centerpiece of your holiday meal perfect.

  • Remember this rule: one pound of turkey per person. If this means purchasing a bird that weighs 24 pounds or more, consider buying two smaller birds to cut down on the cooking time. Of course, if leftovers are important (and when are they not?), buy a slightly larger bird.
  • Frozen birds need plenty of time to thaw before roasting. Allow at least one day of thawing time in the refrigerator for every four pounds of turkey. (In other words, put that bird in the fridge this weekend!) A quicker thawing method is to set it in cold water. Place the still-wrapped bird breast-side down and cover with cold water. It will take about 30 minutes per pound to thaw a whole bird, and you will need to change the water every 30 minutes to keep things cold. Never set a frozen bird on the counter to thaw.
  • Gather your tools! You can find everything you need at Main Street Kitchen on 24 South Main Street, and they’ll even sharpen your knives for carving the bird! You’ll also need a large-enough roasting pan and rack, kitchen twine for trussing (which allows the bird to cook evenly and keeps it looking nice), and an instant-read thermometer to take the guesswork out of when the turkey is done.
  • If you plan to stuff the turkey, it is important to do so just before roasting to prevent any harmful bacteria growth. Also, be sure the bird is completely thawed, and do not tightly pack the stuffing into the turkey.
  • Plan for 20 minutes per pound to completely roast a turkey, a little longer if the bird is stuffed. Start checking for doneness 30 to 45 minutes before the scheduled finish time. The turkey is done when the thermometer reaches 170 to 175 degrees in the thigh (away from the bone) and 165 degrees in the breast. The juices should be clear. If the bird is stuffed, the center of the stuffing needs to be 160 degrees. After removing the turkey from the oven, allow it to rest covered with foil for 30 minutes before carving so the juices redistribute back into the meat.

 

What's your go-to holiday tip? Let us know in the comments!

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