If you’ve cooked a Thanksgiving turkey before, you know that it’s a multi-step process that requires attention along the way. If you haven’t cooked one before and have been tasked with making the perfect holiday main dish this year, the pressure may be daunting. But not to worry! There is a multitude of helpful tips, tricks, and how-tos that will walk you through making your turkey and help you make a great meal (whether it’s your first or your fortieth).
When it comes to preparing your Thanksgiving turkey, here are some tips that we’ve found helpful through each step of the process:
Tips for Stuffing Your Thanksgiving Turkey
Food Network warns that, if you choose to stuff your turkey, make sure you do it correctly so that you don’t end up undercooking your turkey or contaminating the stuffing with raw poultry juices.
That being said, here are a few important tips that, if followed, can help you safely and deliciously stuff your Thanksgiving turkey:
– Make sure all stuffing ingredients are fully cooked before stuffing them in the turkey.
– Use no more than 3/4 cups of stuffing per pound of turkey.
– Stuff your turkey from both the neck and body cavities immediately before putting the turkey in the oven to roast.
– Make sure the stuffing reaches a temperature of 165 degrees before it is considered fully cooked.
Tips for Basting Your Thanksgiving Turkey
The purpose of basting your turkey while it cooks is to keep it moist and prevent it from drying out in the oven.
On Epicurious’s YouTube channel, they offer a technique video that helps viewers baste their turkey throughout cooking. In their one-minute video, they advise that you remove the turkey from the oven before basting it to make the process much safer. While the turkey is out of the oven, keep the oven door closed so you don’t let out the heat from the oven, increasing the cooking time.
Using a turkey baster, you suck up some of the turkey drippings from the bottom of the pan and then squeeze out the baster so that the drippings pour out over the top of the turkey. Epicurious recommends basting 2-3 times over the course of cooking your turkey.
Tips for Carving Your Thanksgiving Turkey
When it’s come time to carve your Thanksgiving turkey so that it’s ready for your guests to enjoy at the dinner table, there are a number of steps to follow in order to do it as cleanly and efficiently as possible. Everyday Food made an instructional video on how to carve your turkey “like a pro,” which you can follow along with as your work on your bird.
The video recommends you have a pair of kitchen scissors and knives of various sizes to help you through the different steps in the carving process (which begins after the turkey has rested for 30 minutes). It involves removing the legs and thighs from the breast with a deboning knife and your hands, before removing the wishbone (which you can save for two of your guests to break and make a wish). Next, you remove the breast from the carcass by cutting along the breast bone; the video recommends keeping the skin on your turkey breast, for your guests to chose to eat or remove themselves at the dinner table.
The video also advises on how to carve your turkey so that you have evenly separated the white and dark pieces of meat, for dinner guests to eat based on their personal preference.