From purchasing the right pan through to carving a roast turkey, you'll find great information and tips here.
When buying a roasting pan, look for:
The pan should just hold the turkey with no part of the bird extending beyond the pan or the meat juices will drip into the oven. On the other hand, if the pan is too large for the turkey, the juices in the pan will burn.
If you aren't looking to invest in a roasting pan, you can use your broiler pan. Place a wire rack in the bottom of the broiler pan to keep the turkey out of the drippings.
Lightweight, disposable aluminum roasting pans should not be used for cooking turkey; those pans are simply not heavy enough to support the weight of the bird. It could spill or break, causing serious burns, when you try to remove it from the oven.
A meat thermometer can be checked for accuracy by submerging at least 2 inches of the stem in boiling water. It should read 212 degrees F. If the thermometer registers above or below 212 degrees F., add or subtract the same number of degrees from the temperature specified in the recipe and cook to that temperature.
Instant-read thermometers, also known as rapid-response thermometers, measure a wide range of temperatures, typically from 0 to 220 degrees F. These thermometers are not designed to stay in food during cooking. Instant-read thermometers can also be checked for accuracy with the boiling water test.
If using an instant-read thermometer: Pull the food out of the oven, then insert the thermometer into the thickest portion of the food, not touching bone or the pan. The temperature should register in about 15 seconds.
*Note: For unstuffed turkeys of the same weight, reduce the total cooking time by 15 to 45 minutes.
If the turkey breast is cooking faster than the thighs and is beginning to overbrown, cover the breast of the turkey lightly with aluminum foil and continue roasting.
There's more than one way to slice a bird. One way is referred to as the kitchen way. The other is more the "carving at the table" dining room show. See which one fits your style.
This way differs from the table carving style only when it gets to how the breast is cut.
The slices fit onto crowded plates more easily.
Since the meat is cut against the grain, the pieces tend to hold together better.
Theoretically, this results in more moist and tender meat.
This way differs from the kitchen carving style only when it gets to how the breast is cut.
It is unsafe to stuff the turkey ahead of time. The chilled stuffing in the turkey will not reach a safe temperature before the turkey is done. To be safe the turkey should reach a temperature of 180 degrees F. and the stuffing in the body cavity of the bird should reach 165 degrees F.
Temperature should be your guide to doneness. To assure that the turkey and stuffing have reached a safe temperature, always use a thermometer when you roast turkey. Because there is no visual test for stuffing doneness, the USDA recommends that you not stuff a turkey if you don't have a thermometer.
Before carving your turkey, be sure to remove all stuffing. The leftover stuffing can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Stuffing must be heated to at least 160 degrees F.
After dinner remove all meat from the carcass (this should be done within 2 hours of the turkey's removal from oven). Leftover turkey can be refrigerated and used within 2 days, or frozen in small portions.
Be sure to label and date the wrapped packages and use within 6 months. Leftover turkey can be used in any recipe calling for cooked chicken or turkey.
Our Test Kitchen doesn't feel that basting today's turkeys is necessary. More importantly, basting tools, such as brushes and bulb basters, could actually be sources of bacteria contamination if dipped into uncooked or undercooked poultry juices, then allowed to sit at room temperature and used later for basting.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, the glue and ink on brown bags are not intended for use as cooking materials and may give off harmful fumes. In addition, brown bags are usually made from recycled materials and are not sanitary.
No. Roasting a turkey at a temperature below 325 degrees F allows harmful bacteria to multiply. These are the bacteria that can cause food poisoning and may be present on the raw turkey. Fortunately, they are easily destroyed with proper cooking techniques. Roasting the turkey at 325 degrees F kills the bacteria yet produces meat that is moist and tender.