Monday, November 12, 2007

Giving Thanks Day Two...Cooking The Perfect Turkey...

Kelli from There Is No Place Like Home is Hosting a Giving Thanks Week !!!
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Cooking The Perfect Turkey.......

Place a shallow turkey rack in a large roasting pan. You can put cut up vegetables in the bottom of the pan if you like (celery, onion, carrots).

Move the pan next to the sink before you unwrap the turkey. You want the raw meat to touch as few surfaces as possible.

Remove the turkey from its wrapper. Remove the giblets and neck (nearly every cook makes the mistake of leaving them in at least once!). Rinse the turkey with cold water and pat dry. Transfer it your prepared roasting pan. Brush the outer skin with peanut oil. Place cut oranges and a few sprigs of rosemary in the cavity. Roast according to the directions below.

Don't stuff the turkey!

Stuffing must be cooked to its own proper temperature. In order to make sure the stuffing is cooked thoroughly, you will have to extend the cooking time for the turkey. And that means dried out, overcooked turkey. It's better and safer to cook the stuffing outside of the turkey.

Use a thermometer and cook it to the proper temperature.
The basic reason most turkeys are dried out is because they are overcooked. In the past, the USDA recommended cooking a turkey to 180 degrees, a sure-fire way to guarantee all bacteria was killed. Problem was, so was all the flavor and moisture. Now the
USDA says it is safe to cook a turkey to 165 degrees, as measured by a thermometer.

Chefs have known this all along. In fact, most chefs pull their turkeys out of the oven at 155 to 160 degrees and let them rest 30 minutes or so until the residual heat cooks the turkey all the way through. But chefs are also very careful in keeping the turkey at the proper temperature (35 to 38 degrees F) before it even reaches the oven. After all, that's when the bacteria grows.
For best results, use a digital probe thermometer and cook it until the thickest part of the breast reaches 160 degrees. Then let the turkey rest! See tips below.

Don't use the pop-up timer.

They are normally set to pop at 180 degrees F -- way too high, which means you'll have a very overcooked bird. Remember, meat continues to cook after it comes out of the oven. A turkey cooked to 180 degrees will end up at 190 or 195 degrees and will almost certainly be dried out.

Skip the basting.

It doesn't do anything to add moisture to the turkey, and it forces you to cook the turkey longer, because you're opening the oven door frequently. Remember, the longer you cook it, the more chances you have your turkey will be dried out.
9. Cover the breast with foil one hour into cooking.

Since the legs and thighs have to cook to a higher temperature (170-175 degrees F) than the breast meat (160-165 degrees F), the white meat will almost certainly get done before the dark meat. To help keep the breast meat from drying out, cover the breast with foil about an hour into cooking.

Let it rest!

Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest 30 minutes before carving. This serves two purposes: 1) It allows the residual heat to keep cooking the turkey, making sure it's cooked through, and 2) it allows the turkey juices to redistribute, keeping the turkey moist.



  1. Thanks for all that helpful information. I have never cooked a whole turkey before. I have been scared too, because I have been afraid of it drying out like you said.
    Thankfully, I haven't been in the position to need to cook a Turkey yet. But I know my day will be coming, so I will have to book mark all of this info.

    By the way, because of your last show and tell Friday, my husband rented Miss Poter. We both enjoyed it very much. Thanks for the recomendation. :)

  2. These are really helpful hints! Thanks for sharing!