Follow these tips & hints for preparing your Thanksgiving turkey!
- Remove the outer wrapper from turkey.
- Remove the inner wrappings (giblets) from both the neck and chest cavities. Set aside for making gravy or stuffing, they add a ton of flavor!
- If the parts in the chest cavity seem to be stuck together or frozen, run cold water through the cavity until the neck comes out freely. A little frost on the inside of the bird is an indication the turkey has been delivered to you as cold as possible to keep it as fresh as possible.
- BRINE- Once you’ve eaten a brined turkey, you will never go back! It’s easy- In a large stock pot lined with a big plastic bag add one gallon water, 1 cup kosher salt, 1 cup sugar, 1⁄2 cup cracked peppercorns. Set the turkey and giblets in the brine, making sure the turkey is fully submerged. Brine for at least 4 hours or better yet, overnight in the refrigerator at maximum of 40 degrees F.
- Remove turkey from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Make sure to sanitize any areas that have come into contact with raw poultry and juices.
- Pat the inside and outside of the turkey dry with a paper towel. Generously sprinkle kosher salt & rub olive oil inside and out. This helps ensure a crisp skin. Stuff cavities with lots of fresh whole garlic cloves, a peeled onion, an apple, fresh parsley, rosemary, sage & thyme.
- Place the turkey breast side up (see below under tips for breast side down options) in the appropriate sized roasting pan and add the giblets, neck and about four cups of water or chicken or turkey broth, a couple of bay leaves and fresh Rosemary. For additional avor use a poultry seasoning or rub on outside of bird. If you go this route, adjust how much salt you use.
- Insert a probe thermometer inside the thickest part of breast. Set it to beep at 165 degrees.
*We highly recommend the kind of thermometer that stays in the bird during cooking. A wire connects the probe thermometer to a gauge on the outside of oven, so you can set it and know for sure it is perfect without having to open the oven to keep checking. It will beep when ready! Never rely on those pop-up plastic substitutes.
- Place turkey uncovered in a pre-heated 500 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until the skin is nice and golden brown.
- Remove from oven and cover the entire turkey with lid or double-layer of aluminum foil.
- Lower oven to 350 degrees and continue to cook. As a guide, cook about 15 minutes per lb. or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees in the thickest part of the breast. The temperature will continue to rise to 170.
Estimated Cooking times:
14-16lbs 3.5-3.75 hours
16-18lbs 3.75-4 hours
20-22lbs 4.5-5 hours
22-24lbs 5-5.5 hours
26-28lbs 5.25-5.5 hours
*Remember all ovens vary, your best bet for a PERFECT turkey is to use a probe thermometer*
• Remove turkey from oven and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. There are two reasons for this: (1) it allows the juices to well up in the turkey, making it juicer and (2) it also cools the surface so that you don’t burn your fingers while carving; and it gives you an opportunity to have a glass of wine & make the gravy. OK, that’s three reasons.
TIPS, SECRETS AND MORE…
Making Stock – If you want to make your own turkey stock, buy some extra parts of turkey (legs, wings, necks, etc.) and simmer while you roast the turkey. Little known fact- necks make THE best broth!
Shhhhhh!… Here’s our secret for a moist turkey: carve the turkey into a deep sided platter and pour the broth from the roasting pan over the turkey for flavor and moisture. You will never regret this move. You can reserve some of the stock for gravy or use the extra stock you get from cooking a few extra pieces.
To stuff or not to stuff? Stuffing a turkey will no doubt yield a great tasting stuffing, but the bread can dry the turkey out a bit. And by the time your stuffing gets to a safe temperature for eating, your turkey is already ready to come out of oven meaning you have to over-cook your turkey to just cook your stuffing, so it’s your call. We love the taste of traditional bread stuffing that comes out of the turkey but we’re not sure it’s worth chancing a dry turkey for it.
Cook it upside down – Our favorite way to roast a turkey is with the breast side down. You flip the turkey over the final browning (about 30 minutes before it’s done). This makes for an amazingly moist turkey, but it can be a bit tricky to flip a turkey over, especially the larger ones. You risk tearing the skin so if a perfect presentation is important to you, you might not find it worth it.
Wine recommendations – We recommend a very nice dry Prosecco for sipping during your antipasto course. For the main course, we love reds: a lighter SanGiovese, a heartier Barolo or our top pick a smooth Amarone. If you prefer whites, a Malvasia would be great or Pinot Grigio.
Clean & Sanitize- Stay healthy!!! ALWAYS WASH HANDS, UTENSILS, SINK AND EVERYTHING THAT HAS BEEN IN CONTACT WITH RAW TURKEY.
Sanitize the counter, sinks and any containers or trays that have been used.
Roasted Turkey Pan Gravy Recipe
While you are giving your turkey a chance to rest before carving…
Remove your cooked turkey from the roasting pan and place on serving platter- keep it covered with foil. Tilt the pan and skim and much fat as possible off the juice with a small ladle or spoon. If you have a gravy separator, by all means, now is the time to use it. Set the pan over two burners on your stove-top on medium-high heat. Deglaze roasting pan with one cup good white wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen the yummy brown bits- that’s where all the flavor is! Reduce liquid until only a quarter remains. Add 2 cups chicken or turkey stock and 1 spring each of fresh rosemary and fresh thyme. Bring to a boil and strain into a saucepan. Bring back to a boil, skim out the herbs and lower to simmer. In the meantime, take 4 tablespoons of room temperature butter and 4 tablespoons of flour and mix together with your hands until it forms a uniform, soft dough. Whisk the butter mixture into the stock until well mixed, continue to whisk until gravy has thickened. Season, to taste, with salt & pepper.
Happy Thanksgiving from