If it’s your turn to prepare the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, you will want to do everything to make your Thanksgiving dinner a mouth-watering one. Cooking a turkey may initially seem like an intimidating task. However, with the right ingredients, proper time management and the necessary equipment, you’ll be basting, roasting and enjoying this tender bird in no time at all. At Williams and McDaniel, we want to minimize the worry that comes with preparing your family feast and want you to focus on spending time with family and friends. For those who have questions about cooking a turkey, the ‘Start Cooking’ site features the Ultimate Guide to Cooking a Thanksgiving Turkey. Today, on the Williams and McDaniel blog, we have put together a how-to guide on everything you need to cook a turkey for the upcoming holiday weekend.
Round Up Your Ingredients
Before you get ready to cook your turkey, it is important that you have the necessary ingredients and the proper equipment for the job. You’ll need one turkey of a size that will accommodate the appetites of all your guests, two cups of broth or water and melted unsalted butter, which is an optional ingredient for basting. When it comes to the cooking equipment, a roasting pan, a roasting rack and a turkey baster or spoon is required.
Prepare for Roasting
Take the turkey out of the fridge about an hour before you are set to roast it. This is also the time to remove any packaging and the bag of giblets, which is mostly likely in the body cavity and/or the neck cavity. Place the turkey breast-side up on the roasting rack and let it sit there until it is roasting time. This will take the chill off the meat, which helps the meat cook faster and move evenly throughout. It also dries out the skin to promote browning and crisping.
Preheat the Oven
First, position an oven rack in the bottom third of your oven and preheat it to 450 degrees. If you’ve brined your turkey, there is no need to do anything now. If you haven’t, the ‘Savory Sweet Life’ offers instruction on How to Brine a Turkey.
Roasting the Turkey
Pour two cups of broth or water into the roasting pan, place the turkey in the oven and turn the temperature down to 350 degrees. The usual rule for cooking a turkey is 13 minutes per pounds. Keep this rule in mind, but start checking the temperature of the turkey halfway through to gauge how fast it’s cooking.
Every 45 minutes remove the turkey from the oven and baste it all over. To do this you need to tilt the pan and use a turkey baster or spoon to scoop up the liquids and drizzle them on top of the turkey. In the last 45 minutes of cooking, baste the turkey with melted butter or oil to crisp up and brown the skin.
Regular Temperature Checking
It is important to check the temperature in three places to make sure the turkey is fully cooked. The meat of the breast, the outer thigh and the inside thigh should be at least 165 degrees. If any place is under that temperature, you will need to put the turkey back in the oven for another 20 minutes and remember to shield the breast meat to avoid overcooking it.
Let It Rest
Grab one side of the roasting rack with an oven mitt and tilt the turkey so liquids inside the cavity run out into the pan. These juices will make the gravy. Lift the whole and transfer it to a cutting board. Create a tent around the turkey using the roasting pan lid or aluminium foil and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. This will give the meat time to firm and for the juices to be reabsorbed into the tissue, which makes the turkey juicier and easier to slice.
Carving a turkey is similar to carving a large chicken. If this still seems like a daunting task, the Huffington Post has a pictured step-by-step tutorial on How To Carve a Turkey. Remove the wings first, then the thighs and lastly, the breast meat. After all the meat is off, it is best to separate the legs into thighs and drumsticks and to carve the breast meat into individual slices.
Make sure your holiday meal goes according to plan by properly preparing and cooking the most important part of the meal, the turkey. At Williams and McDaniel, we wish nothing but the best for our residents and pride ourselves on helping out in any way that we can and this includes assisting in the preparation of Thanksgiving dinner.
tags: Thanksgiving, recipes