Listener ?: Cooking a moist turkey
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There are several key steps to producing a great tasting, moist turkey with flavorful gravy.  These steps  will also answer the email I received from Dan inquiring about cooking his Thanksgiving turkey ahead of time and still have moist turkey meat and the dramatic presentation. 

 

  1. brining- brining is soaking your bird in a salt, sugar and spice solution the day before you are planning on cooking it.  Brining creates a very moist turkey.   Brining is great for fresh, natural and minimally processed turkeys. DONíT brine a self-basting turkey or one that has a sodium solution injected into the meat already.  You can roast, grill or deep fry a brined turkey.  Brine a 14-16 pound turkey for 6 hours.  Make sure your brine is cold before putting the turkey in the liquid. Brine only in plastic or stainless steel.  Rinse the turkey thoroughly before cooking.

 

  1. fold the wing tips under the bird to keep them from getting over cooked

 

  1. place a layer of chopped carrots, celery and onion in the bottom of your pan, place the turkey on top of the veggies, add several cups of chicken stock and roast, continuously basting your bird while it roasts helps create a crisp, flavorful skin, moister meat and  a rich and tasty broth ready for making gravy

 

  1. lightly stuff the turkey cavity and tail end so that the stuffing will be thoroughly cooked through when the turkey is done.  Remember that you can make the stuffing ahead of time but donít stuff the turkey until you are ready to cook it. 

 

  1. if you arenít planning on stuffing your bird fill the empty cavity with cut up fruits like apples, oranges or lemons and fresh herbs to add to the flavor of the meat

 

  1. set your turkey on a platter and cover with foil and let rest 20-30 minutes out of the oven before carving to allow the juices to settle back into the meat. This is one of the most critical steps in roasting any kind of meat because the turkey or roast will continue to cook for another 10-20 minutes outside the oven, which means the internal temperature will continue to rise during this time (between 5 and 10 degrees). This is a good time to make your gravy.

 

  1. butter/seasonings under the skin- if you donít brine your turkey, you can spread seasoned herb butter under the breast skin:  With your hands, carefully separate breast skin from the meat and spread seasoned butter in between. Season outside with salt and pepper before cooking.  DONíT deep fry.

 

  1. use a roasting bag, especially if you are only cooking the breast- lightly flour the bag, place a layer of fresh carrots, onions and celery in the bag, place your turkey breast on top, add chicken broth, tie shut and cook according to directions. 

 

  1. the last step in preparing turkey ahead of time, once you have followed all the of the above steps, is to rewarm the unsliced turkey by placing the cooked turkey in a doubled up roasting bag, adding a cup of chicken broth, tie shut and roast at 325 degrees F for 1- 1 Ĺ hours, checking every 15 minutes after 45 minutes has past. 

 

 

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