So over the years, I have saved several small slips of paper where I have written different tips I learn each year, either as a guest at Thanksgiving dinner or as the host. Most are from my Mom, though some are from the last couple of years when I’ve done the cooking. Below are some of my favorites…
- Getting under the skin of your turkey really adds a great amount of flavor. I like using fresh sage leaves with a good amount of butter. Carefully lift up the skin and rub the butter gently along the body of the turkey. Place sage leaves strategically to create a beautiful pattern.
- To achieve the perfect crisp skin on the outside and moist tender meat on the inside, place your turkey in the oven at 450 degrees for the first 30 minutes. Then loosely tent with tinfoil and lower oven heat to 350 for the rest of the recommended cooking time. The result is delightful!
- If you must resort to buying a frozen turkey, be sure to account for the proper amount of defrosting time. For every five pounds the turkey will need to be thawing in the fridge for one day.
- If you enjoy cooking the stuffing inside the turkey, remember that packing it too tightly causes the turkey to cook unevenly. For best results, gently and loosely insert the fluffed up stuffing into the bird – cramming it in just doesn’t help the cooking process.
- Once you have put the turkey in the oven for cooking, resist the urge to peek at it every 15 minutes. Every time you open the oven, the temperature drops 25 degrees, just making the cooking take longer and causing the turkey to dry out.
- When testing the bird for doneness, remember that the color of the skin doesn’t matter. A thermometer inserted into the breast of the turkey should read 170 degrees.
- On that note, a turkey should rest for 20 minutes after removing from the oven before carving. This allows the juices to to settle. The temperature of the bird will also rise up to five degrees during this time.
With that – Have a Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Cooking!