Happy ‘almost’ Thanksgiving! Some important blogs coming your way as we get countdown to Thanksgiving. Today’s blog is about all things Turkey.
- De-Ice Ice Baby (I’m such a dork) – Hopefully you are thawing your turkey right now. If not, stop reading immediately and start thawing that thing. It takes about three days to fully thaw a turkey.
- To brine or not to brine– I personally think that if you have the time to brine, you should. If you have about 24 hours before Thanksgiving and your turkey is thawed, I recommend this step for a tender, flavorful turkey.
- A Cheesecloth? What’s that? My former assistant buyer, who is an amazing cook, enlightened me a few years ago to the wonder of a cheesecloth. (Thanks Ashley!) If you want that golden brown, perfectly cooked turkey sitting on your table on Thanksgiving, then I highly recommend you try a cheesecloth this year. Click the link below for how to use a cheesecloth.
- Basting/Brushing – Whether or not you decide to you use a turkey baster or a basting brush seems to be personal preference. The goal is the same. To keep the juices on the turkey as opposed to at the bottom of the pan. You need to commit to this though. You need to commit to getting up and basting/brushing the pan juices every 30-45 minutes and you need to do it QUICKLY. Every time you open the oven you are releasing the heat and altering the temperature of the turkey. If you can’t move at the speed of light, remove the turkey from the oven, shut the door, baste and then return to oven. Remember, the goal is to prevent the oven temperature from dropping. The link below is to a video on how to baste.
- Watch the temperature, will ya?? – For safety reasons, it is very important to monitor the temperature of the turkey to ensure that you don’t UNDERcook. For yumminess reasons, you need to monitor the temperature so that you don’t OVERcook it. I don’t recommend relying on the little temperature gauge that sometimes comes with the turkey. By the time that pops, you usually have overcooked your turkey. Thermometers have come a long way in the past few years. While I do like the standard read thermometers, it still requires you open the oven to check the temperature guage. Again, releasing the heat. If you can spend a little, I recommend getting a wireless thermometer. You can get a pretty decent one for @$20-$25 at most major retailers (Target, Walmart, Meijer, Macy’s). You want to make sure that you place the probe in the thickest part of the thigh because it takes longer to cook than anything else. You want to reach the ideal safe temp of 165 degrees.
- The Conundrum– While you need to work tirelessly to keep the turkey from drying out on top, you also need to make sure that the bottom isn’t sitting in a pool of juices. You should always use some sort of roasting rack to keep the turkey up and out of the drippings. Another fun tool that I found this year is from a company called Prepara. It is called a roasting laurel. Click the link below for more info.
- At long last – A few last tips, use turkey lifters to lift the turkey out of the roasting pan if you do not have a roasting rack. You have worked so hard on this thing, don’t ruin the beauty of it by using forks or something equally inappropriate for the size of your turkey. Lifters are meant for just this and are quite cheap. ($7.99 for a set of two and Bed Bath and Beyond). Also, remember to use a very sharp knife or electric knife to carve.
Tomorrow’s blog? Side Dishes! I love Thanksgiving sides!! Check back tomorrow for a few of my favorite tried and true recipes!
and remember if you run into a Turkey cooking emergency, the experts are always available.