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How to Cook a Turkey

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 4 1

turkey(114780)
Say you're on your own now, fresh out of your parents house. You have a nice place to live and a decent paying job. Go you! You decide that since your such a mature adult now, you should throw your own thanksgiving celebration for your family or maybe just your group of friends.

Go you again!

As the big date comes close you realize that you've watched people cook turkey every Thanksgiving of your life, maybe even several different ways, but you have literally no idea how its done.

It's alright, it's not as hard as it looks.

The key to cooking a fantastic turkey is the phrase "low and slow", dry turkeys happen because they have been overcooked for too long or at too high of heat. Below is a simple recipe that is almost foolproof. It's a simple oven cooked turkey, nothing fancy like deep frying or smoking.


Step One: Preparing your Turkey

Before you actually begin cooking or even seasoning, you have to do a few things to your turkey.

The first step is really finding the right turkey. You have to make sure it's the right weight to feed all your hungry guests and still be able to fit in your oven.

After you have found the perfect turkey, you have to thaw it. You can just microwave it or run water over it to force it to thaw, but those are relatively unsanitary ways of doing do. The worst way to thaw a turkey is to let it sit. If you let it sit out at room temperature for too long it will rot, but if you let it sit out for too little it won't get thawed all the way.

The best way to thaw a turkey is to let it sit in the refrigerator.

Time required to thaw a turkey
8 to 12 lbs.
2 to 3 Days
13 to 16 lbs.    3 to 4 Days
17 to 20 lbs.
4 to 5 Days
21 to 24 lbs.    5 to 6 Days

Make sure you remove the giblets before weighing the turkey, as the cook time can be put off from a little extra weight.


Step Two: Seasoning

Now you've got your turkey all thawed and prepped and the big Thanksgiving day has arrived it's time to season your turkey.

Before seasoning your turkey take it out of the refrigerator an hour prior to seasoning, this assures that the turkey will be at room temperature for cooking.

Begin your seasoning by melting a little butter and stirring in some dried (or fresh if you have it) thyme and rosemary. Make sure the herbs are finely chopped. Now separate the skin of the turkey from the breast, don't remove it though. Just lift the skin and slather your butter herb mixture onto the breast meat.

As for the actual skin seasoning, nothing makes it more crisp and delicious that our good old friend salt and pepper.

Most people recommend not stuffing a turkey because it can throw off the cooking time and others say it's somehow unsanitary. However, the stuffing that is cooked inside the turkey is the best stuffing most have ever had so...The decision is yours.


Step Three: Cooking!

Now to begin cooking that bad bird of yours. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Remember earlier where the article said the key words to cooking a turkey are "low and slow"? Still it, you're not actually cooking the bird that hot.

Let the oven preheat to 475 and place that bird in for 20 minutes, covered with a pot lid of tin foil. If using tin foil make sure the shiny side is facing inward. After 20 minutes, reduce heat to 250 degrees. Now your turkey cooks for 20 minutes each pound.

If you have stuffed your turkey, I recommend adding 20 extra minutes for that.

Try to restrain yourself from constantly peeking in on the turkey. Everytime you open the oven, an angel loses it wings. Kidding, but the heat escapes and it throws off your cook time.

I recommend you use a meat thermometer, some turkey's come with one, which is cool. However, the easiest option is an electrical one that you just stick in the turkey and take a reading from outside the oven.

A well cooked turkey reads at 170 degrees for the breast and 180 for thighs.

This should produce the most delicious turkey you will ever eat. If you've followed the cooking directions, the turkey will be most and well seasoned with butter and herbs. Be ready to thrill your guest and their taste buds! hopefully, the rest of the food you make for this Thanksgiving Day meal will be as good as the turkey. Luckily, most other conventional Thanksgiving dishes are not as hard to make as the turkey.

 


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Comments

Oct 5, 2012 8:54am
Marlando
Hi thoughtful article--nothing like a great turkey dinner fresh out of the home oven. 2 thumbs up from me.
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