It’s that time of year again when food and family all come together. Thanksgiving can be a wonderful holiday in which our families can reminisce about old times while enjoying some home-cooked food. In many homes, the holiday turkey is the centerpiece of every table at mealtime. But preparing this particular food can prove to be a hassle and waste of time for many people who don’t know how to cook it properly. Following these easy-to-use steps, you can create a juicy and delectable turkey for your entire family to enjoy.
Gather Your Supplies
If you’re planning to cook a turkey, you should probably have one handy. Turkeys come in all different sizes and can cost differently depending on the brand and size of the bird. If you plan on having a large crowd around for Thanksgiving dinner, be sure to have a turkey that is about seventeen pounds or more. Smaller turkeys will be suitable for small dinners. Alternatively, you can purchase a large bird for a small gathering and have a lot of leftovers.
Besides the bird, you’ll want to get stuffing, a baster, a pan to put the turkey into, butter, broth, a meat thermometer, and some herbs like thyme and rosemary. All of these ingredients will be added to the turkey as you begin to prepare it. Before making the bird, be sure to allow it adequate time to thaw. Sometimes, you may have to take it out of the freezer a few days in advance.
Prepare the Turkey for the Oven
Before putting the bird into the oven, you’ll first want to do a few simple steps that will add flavor to the turkey once it is done. Preheat the oven to about 475°. Next, place the bird in a pan that is large enough to hold it. You can purchase utensils that are disposable and make for easy cleanup. Next, you’ll want to remove the giblets inside. Most manufacturers will place a bag of the bird’s organs inside the turkey. Some people use this to mix with their stuffing, but most people throw the bag away. Some turkey manufacturers will also put ice inside to keep the bird fresh.
Next, you’ll want to separate the skin between the breast and bone of the bird. This separation will cause a pocket to form: the perfect spot to put some butter and herbs. Melt some butter and glaze this pocket, then put some thyme and rosemary into it. It will keep the turkey moist and flavorful. At this point, some people fill the bird with stuffing. You can also pour chicken or turkey broth onto it, so it marinates in the juice. The baster will allow you to suction-up broth on the bottom of the pan to pour onto the top of the bird. Your turkey is now ready for the oven.
Place the turkey into the oven and cover it for about twenty minutes. After the allotted time, reduce the heat to 250° and allow the turkey to slow cook. Slow cooking is the best way to achieve a juicy and tender bird. Many times, people will complain that turkey is dry, but in reality, the food is just overcooked. As a general rule, cook the bird twenty minutes for each pound at this point. Every hour or two, open the oven and use the baster to suction broth into the tube, and pour it on top of the food. This will allow the meat to become juicy and very flavorful.
Serving the Thanksgiving Turkey
Once the meat is fully cooked, remove it from the oven and allow it to sit and rest for about twenty minutes. Remember to remove the cover from the bird at this point. This resting period will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the turkey, and it will make carving easier. After this time, you will want to remove the stuffing and put it in a separate bowl. Then, carve the meat and serve it on a platter, or you can bring the pan to the table and allow everyone to cut their piece.
Additional Tips and Warnings
Always keep an eye on the oven when preparing any meal, especially one that has to be cooked so long. To keep the bird juicy, refrain from turning up the heat. Even though a higher temperature will cook the turkey faster, it will also remove a lot of the flavorful juices found within. And one last tip to remember is to have a fantastic and fruitful holiday!
Serve home-made wine along with turkey for a perfect combination.