How to Cook Turkey
One can't imagine Christmas or Thanksgiving without a huge turkey in the middle of the table. Seriously, your festive table isn't completed without a good old turkey, but cooking it is hardly the easiest kitchen experiment you can go for. Cooking turkey requires some knowledge and skill, but you can succeed with a couple of useful tips.
Every family has a special recipe for festive turkey, but it's impossible to describe all the variations in one article. Thus, all you need is a template that you can use as the basis for your meal and any specific ingredients you like depending on your taste and mood. So, let's get started.
Preparation process is probably as important as the process of cooking. There are several things to keep in mind when you prepare your turkey for going into the oven.
Firstly, remember that turkey is a large bird that requires a long thawing and cooking time. Proper thawing can mean the difference between success and failure. The best idea to thaw your bird is to leave it in the refrigerator for 48 hours. In case you can't do it that long, you can leave it under cold water for 30 minutes. In case you are really short of time, feel free to put it in the microwave and thaw according to manufacturer's instructions.
The next step is preparing a brine solution using the following ratio: 4 tablespoons salt in 4 cups of water. Put your piece of poultry into the bowl with the brine and let it soak in the fridge overnight. Turkey is a pretty firm and dry type of meat, so brining helps make it juicier and absorb some salt.
Once your turkey is thawed, put it out of the fridge, place it on the roasting pan, scallop, or any other utensil you use for cooking turkey, and let it sit for an hour. Make sure it's breast-side up and empty inside.
Preheat the oven to 450F, rub the skin with some butter for extra flavor and crisp, and pour 2 cups of broth or water into the roasting pan. Put the turkey into the oven and lower the heat to 350F. The cooking time will vary depending on the turkey. Traditionally, it's 13 minutes for each pound. However, don't rely on this rule and keep checking it from time to time to make sure it's doing well. You should take it out of the oven every 45 minutes and baste it.
Once it's ready, lift the roasting rack to let the liquid out. Then, lift the turkey and relocate it to the cutting board. Cover it with a piece of foil and let it sit for half an hour. After that, you can carve and serve it.
- Don't skip measuring the temperature. You want to take measurements at several spots and make sure it's at least 165-170F.
- Don't cold water thaw your turkey without a plastic wrap. Otherwise, it can become watery.
- Don't thaw it with hot water.
- Don't thaw poultry at a room temperature. Don't forget that this is a comfortable condition for multiplying bacteria.
- Don't overcook it! If you noticed that it becomes too brown, shield it with foil.
So, cooking turkey is quite challenging but you will doubtlessly succeed if you follow these guidelines step by step. Feel free to customize your recipe the way you like it by adding herbs, spices, veggies, stuffing, etc.
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