What You Need to Know to Roast the
Oh my, I remember my first turkey that I cooked. I am not even sure if the word stressful is strong enough to describe the way I felt. Looking back on that day I just shake my head. So stressed that I made Gregg stress, my kids stressed and the guest even recognized I was having a hard time. All over this crazy bird. What did I need to know to roast the perfect turkey?
Over the years I have learned by trial and error along with some wise advice. I have learned what you need to know to roast the perfect turkey.
Roasting the Perfect Turkey
Picking the right size for your family gathering
We see the Norman Rockwell photos of this huge Thanksgiving Turkey sitting on this amazing platter. That is what we all have on our Thanksgiving table.
Picking the right size for your family gathering is important for a couple of reasons. These reasons are pretty self-explanatory but important.
- You don’t want to get too small of a turkey and your family and guest not get seconds or more importantly, you won’t have those wonderful Cranberry Turkey Sandwiches for the next day.
- You don’t want to buy too large of a turkey and waste precious oven space trying to cook it longer as well as the national average of wasted turkey is $282 Million dollars in thrown out of uneaten Turkey. This is the NRDC report.
“Unthaw” Before Roasting
Is it Thaw or unThaw? I grew up hearing unthaw all the time.
Seriously, don’t get behind and think you can just throw the frozen turkey into the oven and let it unthaw and cook at the same time. Believe me, that doesn’t turn out well. I might have a personal story for this one that maybe one day I will share. It is still too fresh to talk about right now.
You need to properly thaw out your turkey. The great thing about buying a turkey, it has the thawing instructions on the package. Don’t ignore them. Trust me. They know what they are talking about. Follow them.
The best method and the safest method is unthawing in the refrigerator. I little tip my mom taught me was to uncover the turkey for the last 12 hours in the refrigerator if you want the skin of your chicken to be really crispy. I also use a paper towel to dry the turkey right before I cook it. This helps with making the skin crisp.
Prepare for Roasting
This is probably one of the most important steps in the process. There are so many ways you can prepare your turkey for roasting. It all depends on what flavors you want to be in your turkey. I have pinned so many options on my Pinterest Holiday Fall board. I just can’t decide what I am going to do this year.
You can use the following ideas to help make your turkey taste amazing.
- Simple seasoning. Coat the skin with salt & pepper then massage oil on the skin. This will give a crisp outer skin.
- Mis together, butter, garlic, & parsley. Create a paste. Lift up the skin and spread under the skin and onto the meat. This will give the turkey a moist and flavorful taste. You can use any seasoning and do this method.
- Tuck fresh herbs underneath the skin to give it an aromatic flavor.
- Loosely fill the turkey cavity with carrots, celery & onions. This will make the vegetables taste amazing and will flavor the turkey as well. Notice I said loosely fill. If you overstuff your turkey, it will soak up all the juices and not leave some to moisten the meat. Some experts are even saying not to stuff your turkeys with stuffing any longer. To do the stuffing as a side dish.
In the oven, it goes
This is the simple part. Yes, I said simple part of the cooking process. Because please don’t peek at the turkey every 30 minutes. This will only slow the process down and cause you to have a dry turkey. Here are some tips for you once your turkey is in the oven.
- Tightly cover the turkey with foil after about 30-45 minutes of roasting. This will make the skin nice and crispy plus will help keep the juices in.
- You need to calculate 15 minutes for every pound of turkey you are cooking.
- Use your meat thermometer and check to see if the turkey is done. It should be 180 degrees. The best place to check this is in the thigh (fatty part) of the turkey.
- Let the turkey rest once you have taken it out of the oven. 15 minutes is the perfect time for it to rest.
Serve up that Roasted Turkey
So by this time in the cooking game, you should be starving and also your house should be smelling amazing! There is nothing like the smell of a cooked turkey.
Once you have let your turkey sit, take out all the vegetables and place them on a platter to serve. Transfer the turkey to a carving board. You will need to use a very sharp carving knife or an electric knife. The reason you need to make sure you use these is that you don’t want your turkey to just be sawed and turn into a crumbly mess.
Place your beautifully, wonderfully smelling, tender turkey on the platter and enjoy.