Making the Best Thanksgiving Turkey

Cooking a turkey is something many people have trouble with, but as Thanksgiving Day comes up, you will want to be ready. Whether you’re about to host your first Thanksgiving dinner or you’ve done this before, you’re sure to pick up a new trick or two from this collection of tips.

There are lots of choices out there. A heritage turkey is right for you if you want to try an old-fashioned breed of turkey, usually leggier and leaner yet more flavorful. If organic turkeys are important, look for one raised according to organic standards. If you prefer a traditional fresh or frozen bird, pick the healthiest-looking one in the size you need. And, remember, frozen turkeys are snap-frozen just after butchering so don’t worry if this is your choice.

To buy the right size turkey for your party, simply add up your guests and add a few pounds on for bones and you’ve got your turkey weight. For example, 8 people will require a 12 to 14-pound turkey.

Brining is an easy way to get a moist and flavorful turkey. Most brining solution involves water, salt, sugar and a variety of spices and aromatics. Just be sure to follow a trusted recipe so you get the right proportion of each.

No matter where you brine your turkey, do not pull it out of the brine and put it straight into the oven. Wet brining leaves too much moisture on the turkey, which prevents the skin from getting brown and crisp. To solve this problem, drain the turkey and dry with paper towels before it goes into the oven. Rub the turkey all over with butter or oil. For even more moist meat, place cubes of butter under the skin.

To stuff or not to stuff? Stuffing the turkey makes it take longer to roast, and there’s a chance of it cooking unevenly. We recommend baking stuffing separately in a baking dish, which also gives it a crispy top.

Start cooking your turkey upside-down in a roasting rack as this will help the turkey’s juices collect in the breast, which tends to dry out otherwise. After roasting for around 1 hour, flip the turkey breast-side up to finish roasting.

When the big deal arrives, don’t get stressed! Just follow these simple rules and you’ll come out looking like a pro.

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