Impress your guests with a perfectly cooked turkey this holiday season.
Ever feel deflated after all your holiday prep work results in a not-so-stellar turkey? While it may seem intimidating to nail the centerpiece of the holiday table, cooking your bird to perfection really comes down to a few simple hacks. Whether you're hosting Thanksgiving this year or lending your family a helping hand, bring these tips to the kitchen to take your holiday feast to the next level. Heading out to the store? Print the guide here and stick it in your pocket -- you never know when it will come in handy.
Since turkey is so lean, it can fall prey to dryness and lack of flavor if it's overcooked. Brining your bird in a saltwater solution retains moisture so your meat stays juicy and tender.
Try an Ice Bath
Another way to combat a dry and inedible turkey is to stick it in ice before you cook it. When you cook a turkey you run the risk of the breast drying out too quickly. Sticking the turkey breast in ice before you cook it will lower the internal temperature of the meat so it can cook evenly.
Cook Upside Down
Roast your turkey breast upside down for at least half the time the turkey is in the oven. Doing that will protect it from the direct heat of the oven and the turkey will get basted with the natural juices that drip down to the bottom of the pan.
Keep a Meat Thermometer Handy
Use a meat thermometer to ensure your turkey is fully cooked. No two turkeys are the same, so it's important to know exactly when to remove your bird from the oven. This handy tool will not only prevent you from serving raw meat but will also help you perfect the timing so that it tastes the best.
Let It Rest
Thanksgiving is a great time to kick back and rest — and that goes for your turkey too. Let the turkey rest for 30 minutes before you carve it so that the juices can redistribute and it can finish cooking to perfection.
Prep Your Stuffing
While fully cooking your stuffing inside the turkey gives great flavor, it increases your risk of contamination. Instead, prep your stuffing by cooking it separately. Once it's ready, you can stuff the bird right before you place it into the oven.
Adding too many dry herbs to your turkey can overpower the flavor of the meat. Use a light hand when you season to avoid overdoing it.