Make The Perfectly Roasted Turkey Your Guests Will Gobble Up
Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Have you planned your meal yet? While there are many options for the pièce de résistance, the most popular choice for this special dinner is turkey. Here are a few tips for planning your Thanksgiving turkey and to be able to perfectly roasted turkey that will impress your family and friends.
How big of a turkey do I need?
One of the best things about Thanksgiving dinner is leftovers, so it’s always better to go slightly bigger than you think you’ll need, especially when you cook the perfectly roasted turkey. In general, plan for one to one and a half pounds of turkey per guest. If you are hosting a big dinner, it’s better to purchase two smaller turkeys (twelve pounds or less) than one enormous one because they are easier to fit inside roasting pans and will cook more evenly.
How long does it take to thaw a turkey?
The best way to thaw a frozen turkey is by placing it in the refrigerator. This slow method of warming the turkey will prevent the meat from deteriorating or spoiling—plan for a full day in the refrigerator for every four pounds of turkey. If you purchase a 12-pound turkey, that means it will need to be in the fridge for at least three days. If your refrigerator is colder than average, it could take longer, so plan accordingly if this is your first turkey.
If your bird still isn’t entirely thawed by Thanksgiving morning, you can place it in cold water to finish the thaw. Always use cold water–not hot and don’t just set the meat out on the counter! Change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is fully thawed. The turkey must be cooked immediately after it has thawed.
How should I roast my turkey?
First of all, let’s address the “turkey” in the room: stuffing. The easiest way to cook stuffing safely is outside of the bird. Also, cooking stuffing in the cavity of the turkey can dry out the meat. With that in mind, remove the giblets from the turkey and return them to your refrigerator for stuffing preparation later.
Ingredients: a turkey, two lemons, a bunch of fresh thyme, an onion, a head of garlic, a stick of butter, and salt and pepper.
- Preheat your oven to 325°F.
- Melt a stick of butter in a small saucepan. Add the juice of one lemon and a teaspoon of freshly chopped thyme leaves. Set aside.
- If you haven’t done so already, take those giblets out of the bird and put them back in the refrigerator. Wash the turkey with cold water inside and out. Trim any excess fat and remove remaining pinfeathers. Pat the outside of the bird dry.
- Place the bird in a roasting pan. Salt and pepper the interior of the turkey cavity.
- Stuff the inside of the bird with a handful of fresh thyme, a halved lemon, a quartered onion, and a head of garlic, halved crosswise. Feel free to adjust these items to create the seasoning you desire.
- Turn the turkey upside down in the roasting pan and tie the legs with cooking twine. By beginning the roasting process upside down, more of the juices will remain in the breast meat. (You’ll flip it right-side-up an hour into the cooking process.)
- Brush the outside of the turkey with the butter mixture. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
- Put the turkey in the oven and roast it according to the suggestions below. Set a secondary timer for one hour to alert you to flip over the turkey and finish roasting it right-side-up. Tuck the wings under the bird. Any marks on top of the breast meat will disappear.
- Pour yourself a glass of your favorite local wine, grab a snuggly blanket, and make yourself comfortable watching the holiday parade, a football game, or a good ol’ Hallmark movie.
- Once your turkey is done, allow it to rest for at least a half-hour before carving it. Resting the meat allows the juices to soak in and distribute evenly throughout the bird.
Use an instant-read probe thermometer to check the turkey’s temperature to make sure it is thoroughly cooked. The thickest portions of the thighs should register at 170°F. Check several spots to make sure the meat is cooked evenly.
8 to 12 2 ½ to 3 ½
12 to 16 3 ½ to 4
16 to 20 4 to 4 ½
20 to 26 4 ½ to 5 ½
Have you pre-ordered your turkey from The Butcher Shop yet?
Shopping for all the ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner is time-consuming and tedious. Let us make it easier for you! The Butcher Shop is your one-stop-shop for everything you need to cook a Thanksgiving dinner to remember! Whether your family prefers turkey, ham, lamb, or seafood, we’ve got you covered. Plus, all of our meats are locally sourced, so your guests will enjoy the freshest food at your dinner party. Simply give us a call at 541-830-3369 or visit our store in person to pre-order everything you need for your special dinner.
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