Thanksgiving is an important holiday, and a perfectly roasted turkey is the centerpiece of the meal! Whether you're brand new to the job, or have done it before but want to refresh your memory, everything you need to know is right here in this blog post!
Fresh, frozen, free-range, brined?
Honestly, any of these options are fine!
But your preparation and cooking methods may be different depending on what you choose. We'll cover that more in depth below.
We recommend 1-1.5 pounds of turkey per person. Most people love turkey leftovers, and this will give you plenty to enjoy on Black Friday.
If you are hosting a larger gathering, we recommend 2 smaller turkeys instead of one larger one. A large turkey can be hard to handle - it takes a lot of room to thaw and brine, and is extremely heavy to transfer from the oven to the carving platter! Not only that, but the white meat can dry out before the dark meat has finished cooking.
If you purchase a turkey at a major retailer, it will probably already be brined. This means that it has been immersed in a salt-water bath to flavor and tenderize the meat.
If you purchase a turkey from ChopLocal or a local farmer, it has not been brined. You can roast it as is, or brine it at home.
After brining, you can season your turkey with salt and pepper before roasting. You can also try an herbed butter rub like this one.
A shallow roasting pan works best. The air needs to circulate around all sides of the turkey, and the thickest part of the bird is at the bottom. Look for a pan with sides less than one inch tall. Use a rack if you have one.
Put tin foil (loosely) over the top of your turkey for at least the first half of the time spent roasting. Remove the foil a couple of hours before the turkey is done to get a beautiful golden brown color.
Chilled or thawed turkeys need to roast approximately 1 hour for every 3-4 pounds.
A 10 pound turkey will need approximately 2 1/2 - 3 hours in the oven, and a 20 pound bird will take closer to 5 - 7 hours.
The time needed can vary based on your actual oven temperature and other variables, so we recommend using a meat thermometer to double check for doneness. The turkey should be 165 degrees F throughout.
After removing the turkey from the oven, let it "rest" for 10-15 minutes to redistribute juices. (The larger the turkey, the longer it should rest!)
Then, it's ready to carve and enjoy!
Carving a turkey can be just as intimidating as roasting one, but this short video does a great job explaining the best way to go about the process.
Have other questions about how to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey? Leave a comment below and let us know!
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