Need some tips for roasting a turkey? Hosting friendsgiving or the in-laws this year? Here are some basics to help you keep your cool.
Before we get into the steps for how to roast a turkey, the most important tip I can pass along is to make sure you have allowed enough time to thaw a frozen turkey. It should be completely thawed before you begin cooking it and it can take several days in the refrigerator depending on the size.
The best rule of thumb is to allow 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey.
If you’re unsure, follow the USDA recommendations and guidelines.
Time to roast:
The time it takes to roast a turkey depends on its size and whether it is stuffed or unstuffed. I’ve done a little research for you and compiled a handy roasting timetable which gives general guidelines to follow to plan out the turkey roasting process. Other roasting tips are included here as well. Download it here.
Homemade stuffing is way better and not as hard to make as you may think. This thanksgiving stuffing recipe features sweet Italian sausage, mushrooms, pear and Craisins. You can make it ahead in a casserole dish and reheat it to save time.
There are many possibilities for seasoning the turkey, but you can’t go wrong with these classics. Exact measurements are not necessary. A little bit of this and a little bit of that will work just fine. Rub some of your chosen fat (butter or olive oil) under the skin directly on the turkey breast. (Yup – get your fingers in there).
A) Rosemary, sage, oregano, garlic, paprika, lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper
Rub the turkey all over with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper inside and out. Season under and inside the cavity with rosemary, sage, garlic and lemon. Sprinkle oregano and paprika on the skin.
B) Rosemary, sage, garlic, onions, butter, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper
Rub the turkey all over with softened butter. Season inside and out with salt and pepper. Season under and inside the cavity with rosemary, sage, garlic, onions. Sprinkle poultry seasoning on the skin.
Should I brine it?
Many chefs swear by brining. Others inject the turkey with a combination herbs, butter and salt. All of these work, but also take up additional room in the fridge or add additional stress to what should be a rather simple matter. If you’re not ready to brine the bird, don’t worry. You can still have a flavorful and moist turkey. The best way to roast a bird and ensure it does not dry out, is to not have the oven temperature too high (even from the start) and to baste it frequently. Also put a little bit of water at the bottom of your roasting pan when you put the turkey in the oven (about 1 cup of water).
Just baste it:
Gently baste the turkey about every 30 minutes during the cooking time. Use the turkey drippings in your basting once they are created in the pan and you are finished with the wine/butter.
White wine and melted butter. Combine about 3/4 cup melted butter and 2 cups of dry white wine + turkey drippings.
Red wine works too, but you’ll have a darker rosier color to the skin. It still taste delicious. See picture below.
Lastly, once you’ve enjoyed your delicious turkey, don’t forget about it. Left overs can become contaminated if left sitting out too long. Pack it up and refrigerate it quickly. Do not leave it out any more than 2 hours.