The Culinary Institute of America has provided 10 tips to make this year’s bird the tastiest ever.
1. Fresh or frozen? Take your pick. Fresh turkeys don’t suffer from the effects of freezing, which can cause ice crystals to form. But frozen turkeys, when properly basted and roasted, can be just as juicy.
2. Butter is better. Rubbing soft butter under the skin helps baste and flavor the turkey while roasting. Herbs and spices may also be added to the butter for additional flavor.
3. Don’t cover up. Roast your bird uncovered for moist, tender results. Covering the turkey during cooking steams the meat and toughens its fibers.
4. Keep it quick. Different parts of the bird cook faster than others. To speed cooking, remove the legs from the turkey and roast alongside the breast. Remove meat from the pan in intervals as it finishes cooking.
5. Two birds are better than one. For even faster cooking, roast two smaller turkeys rather than one large one. An added benefit is that smaller turkeys also tend to cook more evenly.
6. Turn Tom upside down. Cook your turkey breast-side down for the first hour or so. This allows the breast to self-baste as drippings run to the bottom of the turkey. Be sure to grease the rack prior to roasting so the breast doesn’t stick.
7. Flip with caution. When turning the turkey or removing it from the pan, avoid piercing the meat and losing vital juices. Using kitchen towels to move the bird makes it easy. Just be mindful of hot juices that may flow from the cavity when you flip the turkey.
8. Temperature is key. Invest in a good probe thermometer (or, even better, get two: one for the legs and one for the breast). A probe thermometer will allow you to monitor the internal temperature of the bird while it’s cooking. Remove the parts when they reach 165 degrees.
9. Watch the heat. Raising the temperature to speed the cooking isn’t a good idea. Using higher heat than necessary during roasting causes excessive shrinkage and drying.
10. Give it a rest. The turkey should rest outside the oven for at least 30 minutes before carving. This will allow the juices to settle and prevent them from escaping when the meat is sliced. Keep the bird warm while resting with a loose covering of foil.
Source: napavalleyregister.com, 11-18-13