by Maytal Wichman
Whether you’re a newbie or an expert, Butterball.com is truly the quintessential website to visit when you’re cooking a Thanksgiving turkey. It breaks down all the steps, from choosing your turkey at the store, to storing the leftovers.
Here are the main steps for cooking the perfect turkey this Thanksgiving:
Choose your turkey – begin by thinking about how many adults an children you will be serving, whether they are light or heavy eaters and if you want leftovers. Also decide if you want fresh or frozen turkey (which will need to be thawed a few days before roasting).
How to thaw the turkey – Refrigerator thawing is best, but cold-water thawing will work in a pinch. Thawing at room temperature is not recommended as it allows for bacterial growth.
Brining the turkey – Brining raw turkey in salted water while it’s refrigerated can help it retain its moisture while it’s cooking. Some brines can even enhance the flavor of the turkey. Brining should only be done on fresh turkey, as it is ineffective on frozen turkey.
Cooking the turkey:
Know When your turkey is done – A meat thermometer is all you need. For a turkey that does not have stuffing, the thermometer needs to reach 180 degrees when it’s deep in the thigh. For a turkey with stuffing, the temperature should be 165 degrees in the center of the stuffing.
How to marinate the turkey – Always marinate meats in sealed plastic bags and keep them refrigerated at all times. Do not marinate for too long, otherwise the meat will become mushy and always discard leftover marinade that was in contact with the meat.
How to stuff a turkey – Stuffing can either be placed in the turkey or cooked separately. Always prepare the stuffing right before placing it in the turkey and place it in the turkey just before roasting it.
How to carve a turkey – Carving the turkey properly can make the turkey more appealing to your guests. Use a straight-edge sharpened knife for easier carving.
How to store a turkey – Once turkey is cooked, it should be refrigerated within two hours. Stuffing, gravy and turkey should be stored in separate containers.