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Turkey is the centrepiece of your Thanksgiving meal. So, even if you have a small gathering this year, you still want to impress everyone. After all, we all deserve the best Thanksgiving meal. So, let’s get rid of all the fears you might have about cooking a perfect, beautiful Thanksgiving turkey.
The key to making the perfect turkey is not to overcook it – that’s what dries out the meat. When carving, you want a juicy turkey. Plan ahead to get the timing right. Now, let’s take you through the steps:
First and foremost: buy about 1.5 pounds of turkey per person. This way you’ll have delicious leftovers. Next, make sure and allow plenty of time for your turkey to thaw. Usually, allow one day in the fridge for every five pounds of turkey.
A high-quality turkey doesn’t need brining. You can do it if you want, but you can still get the same deliciously moist turkey without having to go through the brining process. The same goes for basting! Basting requires you to constantly open the oven, which causes the oven to lose heat and the turkey will take longer to cook (this is when you risk having a dry turkey). So, what’s the secret to have a beautiful golden brown turkey? Smear a herb butter misture over the outer and inner skin of the turkey and you’ll have the same result and it’ll taste amazing.
Next, season the cavity of the turkey with salt and pepper. Stuff it with a quartered lemon, onion, apple and herbs. Tuck the wings of the turkey underneath the turkey and set the turkey on a roasting rack inside a roasting pan (or on top of a bed of chopped veggies —carrots, onion and celery work well—in a disposable roasting pan). Tucking the wings prevents them from burning, and helps the turkey sit flatter.
Now the stuffing: don’t cook stuffing inside the turkey because it will be overcooked by the time the turkey is done. Stuffing should be made on a casserole dish. After the turkey is finished cooking there will be juice and browned cooked bits at the bottom of your roasting pan. You can reserve all of it for making turkey gravy.