Thanksgiving is a relatively simple holiday for seasoned cooks. The Thanksgiving staples of stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce are easy dishes to master. However, the responsibility of roasting the Thanksgiving turkey weighs heavy on experienced and novice cooks alike. Who hasn't had a restless sleep the night before Thanksgiving calculating cooking times and wondering if you should have brined the bird? Relax. It really is quite easy and if you do overcook the bird or eat and hour later than you planned - who cares? The holiday is really all about enjoying friends and family and reflecting on all there is to be thankful for. We're sharing some turkey cooking basics adapted from the Whole Foods website to build up your confidence:
- Always remove the giblets before seasoning and roasting your turkey.
- Refrigerate a fresh turkey immediately. Frozen turkeys should be defrosted in the
- refrigerator for two days prior to cooking (larger turkeys may require more time). Do not thaw at room temperature.
- Remove a turkey from the refrigerator about one hour before placing it in the oven.
- Brush the bird generously with melted butter before roasting to assist in browning and adding flavor.
- Baste only at the beginning of the roasting process. Basting later may make the skin soft instead of crispy.
- Cook your turkey on a rack with white wine or chicken broth in the bottom of the pan.
- Roast the bird with the breast side down for the first hour.
- Use a meat thermometer for best results. When done, all parts of the turkey should be 165°F.
- Save the drippings for gravy!
- Allow bird to rest (covered) after cooking for about 30 minutes. This redistributes the juices and makes for smooth carving.
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