Cooking Thanksgiving dinner can be a stressful job. Even with hours of prep, one misstep could result in the dreaded bone-dry turkey.
To ease your mind and ensure you’re not walking on eggshells (unless, of course, it’s a pair of ours), we have five sure-fire tips that will yield a deliciously juicy turkey every time.
Enjoy, and happy Thanksgiving!
1. Fresh, not frozen
Buy a fresh turkey if you can. Ice crystals that form during freezing can damage the turkey and allow its juices to drain during cooking.
2. Bigger isn’t better
Smaller turkeys roast more evenly than large ones. So if you’re feeding a crowd, two small turkeys are a better option. They’ll also cook quicker.
3. Brine don’t baste
Throw your baster out – it’s taking up valuable cranberry sauce making time and not making your bird any juicier. Brine your turkey instead. You just need to dissolve some spices and salt in water (you’ll find plenty of recipes online), then submerge the bird in it for about 16 to 18 hours before cooking.
4. Don’t overcook
It sounds obvious, but couldn’t be more important. Your turkey will be fully cooked and at its juiciest when it hits 160 degrees. If you want to get high-tech, you can even pick up a thermometer that sends alerts to your iPhone.
5. Give it a rest
The intense heat of the oven forces juices into the center of the bird. Let your turkey rest under tented tinfoil for 20 minutes after cooking so the juices can redistribute.