The Thanksgiving holiday meal can be one of the most high pressure and stressful meals of the year to prepare. A few turkey cooking tips and reminders can make the whole process more enjoyable. If you chose to go fancy with your bird or simple and delicious the basics are always the same. Size of the bird, preparation before you start the meal and roasting methods need to be addressed first. This article will give a few turkey cooking tips to make this holiday an enjoyable experience.
The first tip will be obvious, but you would be shocked at how often even the most experienced cooks forget and get caught by this.
Make sure you have everything you need before you start.
This is where a check list is an invaluable asset. Be sure you have all the ingredients, cookware, utensils, spices, pots, pans, and dishes ready and on hand to get the meal completed. There is nothing worse than having to stop what you are doing, and run to the store to pick up some missing item at the last minute.
Choose the proper turkey.
Don't choose a turkey that is very small or one that is very large. Some where in the medium sized range will cook the best, and look the best when finished. A fresh and not frozen turkey will be tender and juicy. If you have to have a frozen turkey be sure to thaw it in your refrigerator for the proper amount of time until it is completely thawed.
Clean the turkey well.
Clean the turkey in the sink with cold water. Especially the inside. Flush the body cavity with plenty of cold water to remove any loose skin fragments and stale blood.
Roasting your turkey.
Getting a turkey with a pop up thermometer makes knowing when the turkey is completely cooked a snap. I wouldn't get one without that. Pre heat your oven to the proper temperature before you put the turkey in the oven. Roast the turkey with the legs pointing to the back of the oven, that is usually the hottest part. If you have enough time, slow roast your turkey at 250 degrees for several hours longer than it would take at 350 degrees. It will be much juicier and tender. Then for the last hour turn the heat up to 350 degrees to brown and crisp the skin.
BY ALL MEANS, REMEMBER THIS:
Bacteria on food will rapidly multiply when left at a temperature between 45 F and 140 F. Avoid this danger zone as much as possible.
These common sense tips will make cooking your turkey easier. Knowing before hand that you have chosen the proper turkey for your meal and that you are well prepared to get your turkey in the oven cuts down on the stress of this holiday meal. Then all that is left to do is prepare the side dishes that go with your turkey while the bird is in the oven. Happy Holidays.