Cooking a Thanksgiving Turkey:
Purchase either a frozen, fresh or even an organic
bird – there are many options out there these
days. A good assumption is that each person will consume
close to one pound of meat, so if you have 24 guests,
finding a 24 pound turkey is a good choice.
After defrosting (if you get a frozen bird), prepare
it in a baking pan. Coat the entire turkey in olive
oil, rubbing it into the skin as if you would lotion.
This will help with moisture and also give the cooked
turkey a nice golden brown glow. Sprinkle some garlic
salt and pepper all over for flavor, and add about one
inch of water to the bottom of the pan -- this will
also help to keep the turkey moist.
Cook your Thanksgiving Turkey at 325 °F for the
recommended time for its weight (this should appear
on the packaging). Using a meat thermometer is a helpful
tool to ensure the turkey reaches the correct temperature,
180 °F for the innermost part of the thigh and 170°F
for the breast. Juices should also run clear.
Get Groovy with Gravy:
Once your turkey is cooked, remove the drippings from
the pan to create gravy. Some prefer mixing flour into
the juice in a heated sauce pan and adding salt/pepper
to taste. There are also packaged gravy creations that
you simply add to the drippings. Add water to reduce
thickness if necessary.
To stuff or not to stuff your Thanksgiving
Many are not comfortable placing stuffing into a raw
turkey as the bacteria from the bird could potentially
be transferred. If you do decide to stuff the turkey,
cook it a bit longer to ensure that the internal center
of the bird reaches the appropriate temperature ( and
the stuffing must reach 165°F ) to kill any harmful
bacteria. Additional stuffing can be placed in a separate
casserole dish and cooked in the oven.
Note: The stuffing should be placed
inside the Thanksgiving Turkey right before cooking,
never before. Do not overstuff the turkey, as it will
expand while cooking.
When your Thanksgiving Turkey is complete, give it
about 15 minutes to sit and absorb the juices before
carving away. Happy Thanksgiving!