Believe it or not, cooking a turkey is actually pretty easy once you know the trick to it. Take a look at these 5 practical tips tips that will make your next turkey cooking session go that little bit more smoothly.
Tip #1 for Cooking A Turkey – Planning Counts.
Planning is very important when it comes to cooking a turkey – especially a frozen one. Frozen turkeys take a couple of days to thaw – especially the larger ones. If you want to cook a frozen turkey, you will need to defrost it first, so it’s best to have some idea when you will be eating it. Smaller frozen turkeys can be defrosted in a microwave in an emergency, but bigger ones need to be done the slow way.
Fresh turkeys can be cooked right away, but in most places they are only available around the time of the Thanksgiving holiday – unless you are able to request your butcher or grocer to order one in specially for you.
If time is not on your side and you must have a turkey right away, it’s best to buy a smoked turkey. The advantages of buying a smoked turkey is that it comes fully cooked when you buy it. All you will have to do it heat it up and serve it. It does not get any easier than that.
Tip #2 for Cooking a Turkey – Check With a Meat Thermometer
Different sized turkeys take different lengths of time to cook, and cooking times are only a guideline, as not everyone’s oven is exactly the same. The best way to be sure that a turkey is fully cooked is to use a meat thermometer – do not remove the turkey from the oven until the internal temperature of the meat is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit – place the meat thermometer into the deepest part of the breast or thigh for the most accurate reading.
Tip #3 for Cooking a Turkey – Don’t Stuff It
Stuffing that is cooked inside the bird tastes different because it has been soaked in turkey fat. It’s best to avoid that stuffing, however, as it is very unhealthy because of all of the fat. It can also be unhealthy because of the risk of bacteria contamination inherent in cooking the stuffing inside the bird.
Your turkey will cook more quickly if you leave the stuffing out – make it separately instead. If you want to season the bird as it cooks, place a bundle of herbs or aromatic vegetables in the bird, and discard them once the turkey is cooked.
Tip #4 for Cooking a Turkey – Try a Cooking Bag
Instead of using a turkey baster to keep the turkey moist, try putting the whole bird in a cooking bag – that will trap all the moisture in with the turkey, making it impossible for the bird to dry out. Cooking a turkey in a bag like this is a much easier, and more efficient way of ensuring that it stays nice and moist.
Tip #5 for Cooking a Turkey – Leave to Stand for 30 Minutes
When you take the turkey out of the oven, leave it to stand for 20 to 30 minutes. The turkey continues to cook on the inside for a while after it has been taken out of the oven, so for best results, don’t try to carve the turkey until the juices have settled.