The day is almost here- by now we should be in the kitchen making pies and getting the stuffing ready for the oven tomorrow. Today we’re here to have a quick talk about turkeys and some cooking facts you might not know. I said quick so let’s get to it. We’ve got potatoes to peel.
1. Fresh or frozen?
If you haven’t gotten your turkey yet, then there’s no way a frozen bird will be thawed by tomorrow. Pre-ordering a fresh organic turkey from a local farmer is the best choice, by far. You know what the farmer is feeding his animals and you will definitely notice the taste difference.
2. How many times have you tried to keep your potatoes and stuffing warm while you’re waiting for your turkey to finish cooking?
It’s happened to me more than once. Want to speed up the cooking process? Buy two small birds instead of one big one and cut the cooking time in half. Voila, problem solved!
3. Pre-basted, no basted, what’s a girl to do?
Let’s make this easy. After you wash your poultry and situate it in its pan, lift the skin and tuck in some softened butter. Throw some fresh herbs in there too if you’d like. You’re still going to baste the bird during cooking, but ba-leeve me, your guests are going to wonder how you made such a juicy turkey.
I learned this trick from my husband’s family. The first year we had Thanksgiving at my in-laws, I saw my mother-in-law place the turkey in the pan upside down. Hmm, I thought. I’ve got a lot to learn. She explained to me that by placing it upside down for the first hour of cooking, all the juices and drippings run down to the breast meat. Again, a moister turkey.
5. Cover or not?
I’ve always covered my birds with foil. I just assumed this made it cook quicker, kept the juices in and kept the skin from over-browning. AND….the opposite is true. Covering it makes it steam itself from the inside out and makes the fibers “tough.” No more foil.
Will raising the oven temp make my turkey cook faster? It might, but not by much. It will however, result in dry, rubbery meat. You’re gonna need a lot of gravy in that case. Be patient and cook evenly at 325 degrees.
When your turkey is done and you take it out of the oven and it’s golden brown and you can’t wait to slice into that baby, hang on just another 30 minutes. Letting the turkey “rest” a bit will keep the juices from escaping when you do carve it. Now is the time to loosely cover it with foil.
These may be a few turkey tips you and your family already use or they may be new to you. Either way, don’t stress. It’s just a turkey and your family will enjoy your dinner. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!