Thanksgiving is just around the corner and with it comes the pressure to prepare the perfect holiday meal. Whether you’re hosting your first Thanksgiving feast or you’ve been hosting for years, there’s no denying the importance of the turkey. A 20 lb turkey can be a daunting task, but with these simple steps you’ll have a juicy bird to serve in no time.
Step 1: Preparing Your Turkey
The first step to cooking your 20 lb turkey is to properly prepare it. Start by thawing the bird in the refrigerator. To do this, place the turkey in its original wrapper on a tray in the refrigerator. Allow 24 hours of thawing time for every 4-5 pounds of turkey. For a 20 lb turkey, you should allow for at least five days of thawing time.
Once the turkey has thawed, remove the giblets and neck from the cavity. Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold running water. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels and place it on a roasting pan.
Step 2: Brining Your Turkey
Brining is a great way to ensure that your turkey will be juicy and flavorful. To brine your 20 lb turkey, you will need a large container or pot that can fit the bird plus two gallons of water. Combine the water with one cup of table salt and any desired herbs or spices. Place the turkey in the brine, cover, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
Step 3: Stuffing Your Turkey
The next step is to stuff your turkey. Before you begin, make sure that the stuffing is at room temperature and that all ingredients are fully cooked. Place the stuffing inside the turkey’s cavity and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
Step 4: Roasting Your Turkey
Now it’s time to roast the turkey! Preheat the oven to 325°F and place the turkey in a roasting pan. You may wish to add a half cup of white wine, broth, or water to the bottom of the pan. This will help to keep the turkey moist throughout the cooking process.
Cover the turkey with a lid or aluminum foil and place it in the preheated oven. Roast the turkey for approximately 3 ½ – 4 hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F.
Step 5: Basting Your Turkey
Once your turkey is in the oven, it’s important to baste it regularly. To do this, you will need a baster, a bowl of melted butter, and a spoon. Every 30 minutes, remove the roasting pan from the oven and use the baster to suck up some of the butter. Then, use the spoon to spread the butter evenly over the turkey.
Step 6: Resting Your Turkey
Once your turkey has reached an internal temperature of 165°F, remove it from the oven and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. This will ensure that the juices will stay in the turkey and that your bird will be moist and flavorful.
Step 7: Carving Your Turkey
Now it’s time to carve your 20 lb turkey! To do this, remove the legs and thighs first. Cut through the joint where the leg meets the body to remove the leg. Then, remove the thigh by cutting through the joint.
Next, remove the wings. Cut through the joint where the wing meets the body. Then, cut through the breast meat to remove the breasts. Slice the breast meat into thin slices.
Finally, remove the remaining meat from the carcass. You can use a spoon or a knife to scrape the remaining meat off of the bones.
Cooking a 20 lb turkey can seem like a daunting task, but with these simple steps you’ll have a delicious, moist turkey in no time.
Remember: “Be brave and go gobble, ‘cause when it comes to your bird, no one does it better than you!”