Monday, November 22, 2010

How to cook a turkey...

Here is how I make my Thanksgiving Turkey...

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Begin by washing your bird, thoroughly, inside and out.

Pat the bird dry with a paper towel and salt the inside cavity (about 1-2 tablespoons of salt, depending on the size of your bird).

Rub olive oil all over the outside of the turkey and then salt and pepper (about 1-2 tablespoons of salt and 1/2 that amount of pepper).

If you are stuffing the turkey (which I recommend), do so now. Once the stuffing is complete, cover the cavity opening with aluminum foil.

Cut onions, carrots and celery in half (enough to cover the bottom of your roasting pan) and place into your pan. Pour 1-2 cups of water into the pan and place the bird on top of the vegetables, tucking the wings and legs up close to the body and sticking the onions from the bottom of the pan around them. Place the pan in the oven and roast for the designated amount of time (see note below), basting every 30 minutes. While basting, check on the browning of the bird, if it starts to get too brown, loosely cover with aluminum foil for the remainder of the cooking time.

When the cooking time is complete, the interior temperature of the turkey should be 168 to 170 degrees. Remove the turkey from the oven, and let it sit for 30 minutes before carving.

If you are more ambitious than I am, and plan to make your own gravy, you can do so while the turkey rests. I, personally, order it from a gourmet chef in town and just heat and serve.

Cooking time note: The rule that I have always used for cooking time of a turkey is 15 minutes per pound, plus an extra half hour if the turkey is stuffed. Using that method, a stuffed 20 pound turkey, for example, would need 5 1/2 hours of cooking time. ALWAYS use a thermometer to test whether or not the bird is fully done and extend or decrease the cooking time as necessary.

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