Are you looking to cook a whole turkey for Thanksgiving this year? If so, you’ve come to the right place! In this blog post, I’ll give you all the tips and tricks you need to cook a delicious Thanksgiving turkey.
When it comes to enjoying a Thanksgiving turkey, there are many different ways that people enjoy this dish. Some people like to cook just the breast, while others want to cook a whole turkey. However, I believe that cooking a whole turkey is the best way to go. So what is the reason?
Because when you cook just the breast, wings, legs, or necks, you’re missing out on all of the other delicious flavors that come from the other parts of the turkey. By cooking an entire turkey, you’ll be able to enjoy all of those delicious flavors at the same time.
1. Turkey Buying Guide: When to Buy, Sizes & More
The experts say that you just should buy fresh turkey 1-2 days before Thanksgiving. Because this is the maximum amount of time you can keep a fresh turkey in the fridge before cooking
Besides, if you buy a frozen turkey, you just should buy it 4 days before Thanksgiving. You will need to allow enough time for the turkey to defrost.
Whatever you do, don’t wait until the last minute to buy your turkey! Plan ahead and enjoy a stress-free Thanksgiving feast.
The size of the turkey you buy will depend on how many people will be present at the Thanksgiving dinner and how many leftovers you want. A good rule of thumb is to allow for 1 pound per person, or 1.5 pounds per person if you want leftovers. For example, if you are feeding 10 people, you will need a 10-pound turkey.
To buy a turkey for Thanksgiving, your best bet is to head to a grocery store or supermarket and pick it carefully. Most stores will have turkeys available for purchase leading up to the holiday. Be sure to check the store’s hours and policy on purchasing a turkey in advance.
However, if you’re having trouble buying a turkey at the grocery store or supermarket, you can always order online at websites such as D’Artagnan Organic Turkey, and Heritage Thanksgiving Turkey from Paul Kelly.
2. What Type of Turkey Should You Buy?
There are two main types of turkeys – fresh and frozen. Fresh turkeys are usually more expensive but they will be juicier and tastier. Frozen turkeys are cheaper but they can be less juicy and flavorful.
If you decide to buy a frozen turkey, make sure to thaw it properly before cooking. However, my advice is you should try to buy a fresh bird over a frozen one when you can
3. How To Thaw a Frozen Turkey
There are three safe ways to thaw a frozen turkey: in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave.
The best way to thaw a frozen turkey is in the refrigerator. This takes the longest amount of time, but it is the safest method because it prevents bacteria from growing. It is important to plan ahead when thawing a turkey in the refrigerator, as it can take up to three days for a turkey (12 pounds or more).
To thaw a frozen turkey in cold water, you will need to change the water every 30 minutes. This method is faster than thawing in the refrigerator, but it requires more attention. You will take about 30 minutes to thaw a per pound of turkey if using this method
Thawing a frozen turkey in the microwave is the fastest method, but it is not recommended because there is a risk of uneven cooking. If you must use this method, cook the turkey immediately after thawing.
If you don’t thaw your frozen turkey properly, you risk food poisoning. When turkey is frozen, ice crystals form and can act as bacteria carriers. If these bacteria are not properly removed during the thawing process, they can cause food poisoning.
4. How To Cook a Turkey in the Oven
- 1 whole turkey ( 12 pounds )
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 tbsp melted butter
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- ½ bunch of fresh sage, chopped
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves, chopped
Step 1: Prep a Turkey
The first step in preparing your turkey is to remove the giblets and neck from the turkey cavity. These can be reserved for making gravy or stock if desired. Next, rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water. Be sure to remove any loose feathers that may remain.
Once the turkey is rinsed, pat it dry with paper towels both inside and out. At this point, you can choose to stuff your turkey or cook it unstuffed.
Some people prefer to cook their turkeys stuffed while others prefer to cook them unstuffed. There are benefits and drawbacks to both methods.
Cooking a stuffed turkey means that the stuffing will absorb some of the juices from the bird as it cooks, resulting in a more flavorful stuffing.
However, stuffed turkeys take longer to cook properly and there is always a risk of bacteria from the raw poultry contaminating the stuffing during preparation.
Unstuffed turkeys cook more quickly and evenly but may not be quite as flavorful as their stuffed counterparts. Ultimately, it’s up to you which method you prefer! This article is an instruction on how to cook an unstuffed turkey in a convection oven
If stuffing your turkey. Be sure not to overstuff the turkey, as this can result in uneven cooking.
Step 2: Season a Turkey
After stuffing your turkey (or deciding to cook it unstuffed), it’s time to season it. You can use a variety of herbs and spices to rub your turkeys, such as sage, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Then brush the skin of the turkey with butter or oil with a silicone brush to help keep it moist and give it a nice flavor and golden brown color when cooked.
Step 3: Roast a Turkey
Once your turkey is prepared for cooking, preheat your oven to 350 ° F. First, place your turkey in the roasting pan with a rack inside then transfer it to the oven and cook for about 15 minutes per pound.
For example, if you have a 12-pound turkey, you will need to roast it for 180 minutes (12 x 15). While your turkey cooks, be sure to baste it every 30 minutes or so with the juices that have accumulated in the bottom of the roasting pan.
Basting is optional but highly recommended as it bastes the bird with its own juices keeping it moist throughout the cooking process resulting in a more succulent bird overall!
Step 4: Checking for Doneness of Turkey
The best way to know when your Thanksgiving Turkey is cooked is by using a food thermometer; we recommend checking both the thickest part of the thigh as well as the breast meat just to be on the safe side since these two areas tend to cook at different rates.
The FDA recommends an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit for poultry meaning once your thermometer reaches at least this temperature in either area mentioned above, this means – your bird is done!
Remove from oven and let rest before carving (more on this later) so all those delicious juices have time to redistribute back into meat making for one tender and juicy Thanksgiving feast!
5. How to Carve Your Turkey
There are a few things to keep in mind when carving your turkey.
- First, when carving, always use a sharp knife. A dull knife will not only make carving more difficult, but it can also be dangerous.
- Second, you will easily carve a turkey after it has rested. So, if you can, carve immediately after removing the turkey from the oven.
To carve your turkey. First, start by removing the legs and thighs. To do this, cut through the skin that connects the leg to the body with a sharp knife. Then, using your hands or a fork for stability, twist each leg until it pops out of its socket then cut through any remaining skin or flesh attaching the leg to the body.
Next, remove each breast by cutting along both sides of the breastbone with a sharp knife until you’ve cut through all the meat and connective tissue attaching the breast to the body cavity then pull the breast away from the bone and slice meat as desired (thicker slices for sandwiches or thinner slices for salads or wraps).
Finally, remove the wings by cutting them at their joints and then slicing meat as desired (thick or thin). After Thanksgiving dinner for the leftovers, you can use them to make dishes like turkey soup, sandwiches, casseroles, and more
Now, you know how to cook a turkey in the oven properly. I hope after reading this article, you will have a delicious and perfect turkey to enjoy on holidays. Good Luck