If you are feeling just a bit dazed, or maybe frazzled, as the holiday season approaches, join the club! It is often overwhelming getting ready for the holidays. Shopping, cleaning, cooking – again and again. So, if you are stuck staring into the cavity of your turkey wondering what to do with the bird, here are a few helpful tips…
1. BRINE – This seems to be a very important step in the turkey-making process. Or at least in the making a delicious turkey process. Brining consists of submerging the turkey in a salt-seasoned water for a day or two before roasting. You can use a mixture of 1 gallon of water, 1 cup kosher salt, 1/2 cup sugar, plus spices such as pepper, bay leaves, sage or thyme and garlic. This ensures a moist turkey. Make sure you thoroughly rinse and dry the bird after brining. You can dry it inside and out with paper towels or let the bird air dry in the refrigerator.
2. TRUSS – This step is simply tying your turkey up. You want to sew the cavity shut with soaked wooden or metal skewers. You can also tie the legs and wings to the bird creating a more compact mass to allow for more even cooking.
3. TURN – This step seems to be optional. If you like to cook your bird breast up, you should be fine. Some chefs however recommend turning the bird. For example, start with the bird breast side down for about 45 minutes. Then turn the bird over for the remainder of the cooking time.
4. TEMPERATURE – Overcooking the turkey is a common mistake. Make sure you let the turkey sit at room temperature for about an hour before placing in th oven. Cooking the bird to about 160 for the breast and 165 for the thigh is a good temperature. The temperature will raise slightly once the turkey is removed from the oven and resting. (The USDA also recommends 165 degrees for turkey).