Tips for Cooking Turkey
Tips for Cooking Turkey
How to Prepare Turkey for Thanksgiving
By Samuel Fisher
Imagine walking to your dinner table with the perfect Thanksgiving turkey. The holidays are just around the corner, now is the time to start thinking about how to prepare your juicy, delicious turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner.
The turkey is the chef’s kiss on any dining room table during the holidays. It’s not as hard as you might think – with these few simple tips and tools, you can have a delicious moist bird at your table in hours.
Steps for Preparing Your Thanksgiving Turkey
Your guests will be impressed with your cooking skills. Hopefully, you have chosen a large enough fresh turkey for your guests to enjoy. Knowing how to prep your whole turkey establishes a perfect roasting and accurate cook time. A larger, moist turkey means longer cook time. Let's get into the steps for cooking turkey. The turkey is the chef's kiss on any dining room table during the holidays. It's not as hard as you might think - with these few simple tips and tools, you can have a delicious moist bird at your table in hours.
1. Starting with an Unthawed Turkey.
When buying your turkey, you want to buy the freshest whole turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner. Most products purchased from the grocery store will be frozen turkey. If you are weeks ahead, your turkey might be sitting in your freezer until it is time for prep.
It takes about 24 hours for every 5 pounds. Plan ahead. A 20lb Turkey will take about four days to thaw out of the freeze. You can safely store the bird in the refrigerator with its original wrapping.
If looking for a quicker thaw, submerge it in a coldwater bath in its wrapping. It will take about 10-12 hours. Once thawed, it’s time for the preparation process.
2. How to Properly Clean Your Turkey.
Put your turkey in your prep area. Start with a clean sink to put your turkey in for cleaning. Remove the meat from its wrap, remove the giblets bag from the inside of the turkey cavity, and set it to the side. You may want to use the giblets for a tasty gravy.
Rinse the turkey under cold running water. Put the turkey in your designated area and dry it using paper towels. Clean your areas where you washed the bird and your hand, then gather your ingredients.
3. Brine or Not to Brined, That is the Question
Brining the bird will make it tender and moist. Brine involves soaking the turkey in salt water to keep its parts from becoming tough, such as breast meat which is usually leaner than other parts of the turkey.
A brined bird takes about 12 hours to absorb the salty liquid while absorbing some seasonings; our preferred protein tastes better, and the meat is juicy and well seasoned.
If Brining is not your thing, don’t worry, it’s not a necessity. Grab your seasoning, herbs, and a stick of softened butter.
4. How to Season Turkey
Use your favorite spices to season the turkey, like basil, oregano, thyme sage, and smoked paprika. Grab some veggies-carrots oranges and apples for some added tenderness and flavor.
Add onion bells, peppers, or whatever else you’d like there. Grabbing more flavor from each ingredient will make all those flavors come alive together.
Season the turkey skin with herbs and spices; take your butter and, cut it into small pieces, place it under the skin.
Chop your veggies and fruits and stuff them in the turkey.
5. Preheat the Oven
Preheat your oven to 400°F, and it should take about 15 min for the stove to heat, do not put your turkey in the oven rack until the oven alarm has rung to let you know it is time to put your turkey in the oven rack.
6. Add Basting Liquid to The Roasting Pan.
Put your turkey in a large roasting pan. Turn the bird wings back and tie the drums forward.
Add your basting liquid about ¼”—chicken stock, onions, garlic, slice lemons, oranges, apples, and carrots. The same items you put in the turkey were placed in the roaster.
Add your butter and your seasoning blend and freshly ground black pepper. Place your turkey breast upward on the roasting rack. If you don’t have one, place the turkey on the veggies. Take melted butter and coat your bird before putting the whole roaster in an oven bag or wrap with aluminum foil.
Do not put your stuffing in the turkey to get an even cook. Putting the tasty side dish in the turkey causes the inside to be not properly cooked fully.
7. Put Turkey on the Oven Roasting Rack.
Open your oven and place the roaster on the lower rack; reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. We want to go until it is golden brown!
8. Roasting and Baste the Turkey
The turkey should cook for 13-15 minutes for each pound. After about 45min, take out your baster and squeeze the liquid from the roaster on top of the turkey. Basting the turkey keeps the meat moist and also helps give that beautiful brown coloring when done. Continue to baste the turkey throughout the cooking process.
9. Check the Turkey Temperature.
The best way to cook these birds is slowly so you don’t end up with crispy skin or undercooked turkey. You should check your turkey’s temperature halfway through the estimated cooking time. If it doesn’t reach at least 165°F in three places (breast, outer thigh, and inside thigh), put it back on for another 20 minutes before checking again.
10. Rest the turkey
Once the turkey is cooked, remove it from the oven and let the turkey rest for 15-20 minutes before cutting into its breast. Resting time for turkeys varies depending on how big the bird is; at least 20 minutes of rest time should be given.
A large bird can wait between a half hour to 40 minutes. Ideally, the turkey should rest long enough to let the cooking juices redistribute and the meat firm up before slicing.
11. Carve the Turkey
The most crucial part about carving a Thanksgiving turkey is ensuring that each slice has its own skin still on it and the meat is intact. Using special turkey carving knives is a good idea. The easiest and best way to do this is with your sharp knife, so there isn’t much resistance when you go into the golden brown flesh.
The presentation of your turkey should be as important to you and your guests, if not more so, than how it tastes. We recommend slicing in the kitchen on a heavy cutting board before you let the turkey onto a serving tray for an elegant look.
Slicing a Thanksgiving turkey can be messy and greasy, so when you place it on the cutting board, breast side up. Pull one leg away from the bird and slice through the skin and the thigh joint connecting it to the body.
12. Repeat on the Other Side
Cut through the turkey legs joints to separate the thigh from the drumstick and set it aside. Cutting against the grain to create the slices will need to be about a quarter of an inch thick.
Pull the wings away from the body on both sides. Then, remove the turkey breast and guide your blade down one side close to the bone and repeat on the other turkey breast.
13. Serve the Turkey!
Finally, grab your platter and assemble your meat, you can separate white meat from dark meat in every creative way you wish, and now it is time to present to your guest.
Two Must-Have Products for
Thanksgiving Turkey Carving
When choosing a brisket knife for cooking, it may take a bit of homework to get an understanding of this type of knife. Several important factors should also be considered, such as blade length, sharpness, durability, and the warranty. Let’s explore more about our ranking methodology.
1. CUTLUXE Artisan Series
12-Inch Turkey Knife
Best Turkey Knife
• Razor-sharp edge for carving
• Luxury Paakawood handle for comfort and grip
• Rust, and stain resistant
• Granton blade edge for precise slicing
• Tapered bolster that provides finger protection
• Slices meat with ease
• Lifetime warranty
• Requires sharpening every year or so
The ultimate slicing knife is perfect for gourmet meat slices. It has an engineered razor-sharp Granton blade edge that will give a clean piece every time without any hassle, and it’s hand sharpened at 14 degrees per side so you can be guaranteed maximum efficiency when cutting up those delicious meats.
This knife’s handle is made of high-quality pakkawood, which offers a sure grip and absolute stability. It also has a triple rivet for ultimate durability, so you can use it without worrying about breaking or slipping.
Turkey Cuts: 4.95/5
Turkey carvery is an art. The perfect Cutluxe slicing knife cuts down on cutting friction, meaning that your breast meat won’t slice up shaggy and dry as it used to when using a serrated blade or even a low-quality knife.
For turkey-slicing purposes, A good rule throughout all food preparation: thinner blades perform better than thicker ones; best suited with those having considerably sharp edges and a nice ergonomic handle for a fantastic grip.
Blade Length: 4.95/5
The 12-inch blade will meet the needs of most. That said, your premium quality blade length is long enough to cut flawlessly. You can’t go wrong with this 12″ slicing knife. It’s perfect for professionals who are chefs, culinary experts, or just ordinary person that enjoys cooking food at home.
The long blade means you have enough leverage to cut through different types of meats like brisket pork loins, turkey ham, smoked salmon & roast, or whichever fruit/vegetables suit your fancy.
Blade Sharpness: 4.95/5
The blades are sharp enough to make short of any kitchen job you put them up against. If you want a set of knives that can meet all your needs, Cutluxe is a perfect choice; they slice through large pieces like no other blade will do for you.
The straight edge means that most of the juiciness will be retained in your Thanksgiving turkey; plus, this set comes at an affordable price point which is perfect for the budget shopper. Best of all, they are made with high-quality German 4116 stainless steel that is sharpened between 14 – 16 degrees at each edge.
Durability & Warranty: 4.95/5
The blades of Culuxe knives are precision-forged from imported German steel, ensuring an ultra-sharp edge and excellent wear resistance. In addition, they are resistant to rust and corrosion.
The high-carbon steel that’s precisely forged to perfection at 56+ Rockwell hardness is designed for prolonged use under any conditions. These qualities make them perfect for your kitchen cutlery needs.
Although Cutluxe knives have excellent wear and tear resistance, please take the time to perform routine knife maintenance. Even though the lifetime warranty is a winner, you must still care for this beautiful craftsmanship.
2. CUTLUXE Artisan Series
Turkey Knife Set
Best Turkey Knife Set
• Perfect knife set for boning, slicing, and chopping
• Sleek design for griping
• The convenience of all cutting needs in one set
• Affordable set
• Packaged Beautifully
• Easy to use
• Must perform Knife care often
Cutluxe Knives has an average star rating of 4.9 out of 5 on Amazon, signifying that the customers are pleased with their knives which means they provide high-quality products! This utensil is perfect in both size and balance. It’s best used to slice Thanksgiving turkey and known to show no signs of wear or damage. Perfect for daily use.
Turkey Cuts: 4.95/5
Cutluxe’s high-quality slicing knife set is like no other. These knives generated rave reviews on Amazon, and other well-known websites, the premium German steel with 56+ Rockwell hardness makes it hard-wearing while also being sturdy enough to cut through your turkey like butter. Making cutting the perfect slice of turkey an enjoyable experience.
The handle has an ergonomic design, excellent for balance, so your hands won’t slip during meat cutting. The cutting needs of any household are taken care of with this turkey slicing knife set from Cutluxe.
It has an affordable price and a beautifully packaged set, making it perfect for those who want their kitchen tools to be elegant without breaking the bank.
Blade Length: 4.95/5
The Cutluxe collection of knives is a must-have for any kitchen. These high-quality blades have been designed to the highest standards, emphasizing ergonomic handles that offer comfort and flexibility when handling food items.
The Cutluxe set comes with a 12″ Slicing Carving knife, a 6″ Boning and Filet knife, and a 7″ Cleaver knife.
Blade Sharpness: 4.95/5
The Cutluxe knife set is heavy-duty and perfect for all types of cutting. You can start slicing, carving, or chopping veggies with this model’s versatile design that makes it more accessible to use. Each of these blades are sharpened between 14 – 16 degrees at each edge.
12″ Slicing Carving knife, used for perfecting easing carving and slicing of your favorite meats
6″ Boning and Fillet knife The flexible boning knife is engineered to have a sharp edge for easy filleting, de-boning, and trimming. The perfect tool when you need it most.
7″ Cleaver knife has a specially designed taper and blade to make mincing meat or vegetables an easy task.
Durability & Warranty: 4.95/5
The Cutluxe Butcher knife set comes with a lifetime warranty so that you can purchase without risk and confidence of a great durable product. Cutluxe knives are precision-forged from high-carbon German steel and have an ultra-sharp edge, ensuring excellent wear resistance for longer life in the kitchen.
Specifications to Look For in the Best Blade for Turkey Carving:
The best tool for the job is what makes beautifully cooked turkey slices; if you use the whole blade, it’s effortless to work with, and you will always have the best cut of meat. The knives from Cutluxe are made with high carbon stainless steel, a robust metal that should last you an extremely long time. Here are some specifications to look for.
• Blade length 12.”
• Blade Width 1.3″
• Blade Thickness 2.2cm
• Handle Length 5.7″
• Knife weight 10.2oz
• Handle Material Pakkawood
• Blade Angle 14- 16 degrees
To ensure the blade stays intact, it can be sharpened and cleaned correctly after using acidic foods like meats marinated in citrus sauce or tomato-based dressings to keep its durability at the top level. They also have a lifetime warranty in case anything was worn or damaged.
Amazon reviews are raving about how great these knives perform and how durable they are for the price point. No person can tell you how well a knife will work for your Culinary skills, but this is a good starting point to know that Cutluxe stands by its brand.
Best Brisket Knife – FAQs
Here are the top FAQS; asked about Preparing a turkey.
Ready to Cook the Juiciest Turkey?
If you want to get the best turkey knife possible, we recommend that you start by checking out the Artisan Series 12-Inch Brisket Knife. This knife is a well-rounded product and will meet most cutting needs
The holidays are a time for family, friends, and delicious food. This year, show off your cooking skills with a perfectly roasted Thanksgiving turkey; with these few simple turkey tips and tools, you can have a delightful bird that your guests will talk about for months after. Consider getting a nice turkey knife set to help you during cooking time!
To learn more about what makes a great knife, we invite you to visit our blog and learn more!