Whether you pull out all the stops and purchase a heritage bird from your local butcher or if you are a Butterball faithfull, the meal starts and ends with the turkey. If you do nothing else that day, make sure your bird is feastworthty by the time your friends and family surround the table.
Amazing as it seems, getting that Norman Rockwell picturesque turkey to the table is easier than you might think. Here are some great turkey-time tips to help you seal the deal:
A dry bird is a happy bird- Before you commit your turkey to it’s final flight into the oven be sure to completely dry it off. Any excess moisture on the skin will create steam and possibly hinder any of the searing effects that are often achieved in the initial stages of cooking. Be sure to drain out as much of the liquid as possible in the turkey’s cavity as well.
If you want it brown, rub it down- Rubbing a light coating of vegetable oil all over the surface of the turkey’s skin will aid in the transfer of heat from the air to the meat of the bird. As this occurs the skin will act as a barrier and begin to brown in the initial stages of cooking.
Never look your turkey in the eye- One great way to ensure that the large dense breast meat gets cooked evenly and that the skin achieves a mahogany brown color is to flip the turkey so that it faces the back of the oven. This is often the hottest place in the oven and the turkey will benefit from the high even heat that is present towards the rear.
As great as all of this might sound, you may want to eschew the formality of cooking and carving a whole turkey. Let’s face it, unless you are gathering your brood around the table in a ceremonial show of family unity, you are most likely not going to carve the bird at the dinner table. You are probably going to cut and platter all the meat up in the kitchen.
If this is the case, cook your bird in quarters like you would a cut up chicken. This will allow you to remove pieces that cook faster than others before they dry out. Breasts, legs, thighs and wings all cook at different rates. So why cook them for the same time as a whole turkey? Have your local butcher cut the bird up into quarters or do it yourself by allowing a good amount of time for the turkey to thaw completely before cutting and cooking.
You can rest assured that the most avid of football fans will be napping on your couch by mid-afternoon and no matter how your turkey turns out it will be more appetizing than the on-field performance of the Lions.
This article was originally published in On The Town Magazine- Click Here For Article