Christmas Dinner 2016: How to Roast a Turkey

How to Cook the Perfect Christmas Turkey
Credit: Matthew Eisman / Stringer/ Getty

Christmas is a blissful time and the holiday season has begun. There are Christmas songs being heard everywhere, your friends and family will be visiting, and you need to get into “chef mode” and start preparing some splendid Christmas food for the big day!

Out of the number of creations made each year for this joyous occasion, roast turkey takes the cake! Learn how to perfectly roast a turkey for your upcoming Christmas 2016 dinner!

With each family having its own way of doing a traditional festive turkey, the options are endless. Some may prefer frying it, grilling it, roasting it slowly overnight, cooking it in a slow cooker, or using grandma’s delicious secret spice mix. However, there are some basics that need to be done right before cooking this large bird.

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Thawing a Turkey

To thaw out a turkey, begin by first allowing the frozen bird to thaw in the refrigerator. A few days in the fridge is generally good to thaw the bird. Go with a time span of approximately 24 hours for each four to five pounds of turkey in the refrigerator at 40°F or below.

To quicken the process, place the turkey in a cold water bath, changing the water every 30 minutes. This allows the ice built inside the flesh to dissolve at a much faster pace. Complete the thawing process, no matter which way, before cooking. Also, a good idea would be to plan ahead in case you have a frozen bird that still needs thawing, so you do not rush at the last minute.

Cooking a Frozen Turkey

To cook a frozen bird, put it on a roasting tray and in the oven at 325°F. A frozen turkey generally takes 50% more time than a regularly-thawed turkey would. Once you put the heat on, the turkey thaws as it cooks.

The wings and drumsticks cook first, since they are located on the outer part and comprise of less meat. The breast part will take the most time. With the help of a good food thermometer, check the temperature. When the temperature reaches 165°F, the bird is done. However, be sure to check the temperature in various parts such as the inner thighs, breast, and legs in order to get an even reading. When cooked halfway, baste with flavored butter and seasonings.

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Cooking a Classic Roast Turkey

Prep the bird by getting it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Remove the giblets in the neck or body cavity, if any. Place it breast-side up in a preheated oven at 450°F and rub salt and pepper on it (skip this step if the turkey is brined). Lower the temperature to 350°F and pour two cups of broth in the roasting pan.

Allow a time of 13 minutes per pound of the turkey for even cooking. Ensure you check it every 45 minutes, basting the bird with pan drippings, melted butter or oil.

Once the internal temperatures reaches 165°F, remove the turkey and let it rest for 30 minutes. Carve and serve!

 


Sources:

Christensen. E., “How To Cook a Turkey: The Simplest, Easiest Method,” The Kitchn web site, November 2, 2016;
http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-a-turkey-the-simplest-easiest-method-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-160905