Tips for a Tastier Turkey

This week marks the time of year everyone’s been waiting for (or maybe dreading): the holiday season.  Between parties, feasts, shopping, midnight sales, (and way too many desserts) the holidays have begun. This year, my contribution to the holiday feast is limited to cookies and sangria (and really, who can complain about that) but in case you’re helping to prepare the main event, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best tips for making a tasty turkey.
 

–Don’t just throw a cold turkey in the oven!  About 2 hours before you put the bird in the oven, take it out of the refrigerator and let it sit on the kitchen counter.  This will take the chill out and make the meat juicer. (November issue of Instyle)

–After the turkey has finished cooking wait about 20 minutes before carving it.  Not only will it allow the juices it cooked in to reabsorb into the meat, but it will also be easier to cut.  (Electric knives are usually best for nice, clean slices.)

–Like the skin of your turkey to be a little crispy?  Put the turkey uncovered in your refrigerator the day before cooking. (Food Network) You can also coat the outside with a little butter, olive oil, salt and pepper, or a combination of them.

–Don’t forget to clean the turkey with cold water before you cook it…and don’t forget to take all the junk (officially called “giblets”) out from inside the turkey either!

–What temperature to cook the turkey in can vary (although it’s usually around 350 degrees), but one website suggests always point the legs of the turkey towards the back of your oven.  Foil can also help prevent the turkey from drying out or becoming too crispy. (Reluctant Gourmet)

–Be patient.  A 16-pound turkey can take up to 5 hours to cook!  Make sure to plan ahead to insure adequate cooking time. (Good Housekeeping)

–Finally, the tip I read almost everywhere has to do with soaking your turkey before putting it in the oven.  It’s called “brining.” Simply soak your bird in 1 cup of kosher salt to 1 gallon of cold water the night before Thanksgiving.  This will gurantee the meat will be juicy and flavorful.  (Note: some frozen, store bought turkeys might already have been pre-basted.) (PioneerThinking.com)

Happy Thanksgiving!
 
~J
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