Thanksgiving is just around the corner and there’s no better way to celebrate the season than by preparing a delicious traditional turkey dinner. But, if you’re new to cooking, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed about the prospect of cooking a turkey. Don’t worry, I’m here to help! As a professional chef, I’ve cooked many a turkey dinner and I’m about to share my top tips and tricks for cooking the perfect turkey.
The Basics: What You Need To Know
The key to cooking a delicious turkey is preparation. Before you even buy your turkey, you need to think about the size. How many people will be eating? You want to make sure there’s enough for everyone, so do your math and figure out how much turkey you need. The general rule of thumb is one pound per person.
Next, you’ll need to make sure you buy the right type of turkey. Fresh or frozen, it’s up to you. But if you choose to go with a frozen turkey, make sure you give yourself enough time to thaw it. The safest way to do this is to put the turkey in the refrigerator at least one day before you plan to cook it.
Marinade For Maximum Flavor
Once you have your turkey ready to go, it’s time to think about marinade. This is an essential step to getting the maximum flavor out of your turkey. You can use a store-bought marinade or make your own. I like to mix together olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper for a delicious marinade.
Once you have your marinade prepared, it’s time to get to work. Start by rubbing the marinade all over the turkey. Make sure you get into all the crevices and nooks and crannies. Then, you’ll want to cover the turkey with plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. This will give the marinade time to really sink in and add flavor to the turkey.
The Perfect Cooking Time
When it comes to cooking time, there are a few factors to consider. The size of the turkey, the temperature of the oven, and the type of turkey you’re cooking. Generally, you’ll want to cook the turkey at 325°F for about 15 minutes per pound. Use a meat thermometer to make sure the turkey is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.
Table 1: Turkey Cooking Time
|10 lbs||2.5 hours|
|20 lbs||5 hours|
|30 lbs||7.5 hours|
Let It Rest
Once the turkey is done cooking, it’s important to let it rest before carving. This will allow the juices to settle and will help keep the turkey moist. Let the turkey sit for at least 15 minutes before carving.
Carve It Up
Now it’s time to carve the turkey. You can do this with a sharp knife or a carving fork. Start by cutting along the breast bone and then working your way down. Once you’ve removed the breast meat, you can cut it into slices. Then, move on to the legs and wings and carve those up as well.
Gravy For The Win
The last step is to make the gravy. Start by reserving the drippings from the roasting pan. Then, mix together some turkey stock, flour, and butter. Heat the mixture on the stove top until it’s thick and bubbly. Season it with salt and pepper to taste and you’re done!
Now it’s time to enjoy your delicious turkey dinner! Just don’t forget to save some leftovers for the next day. As the old saying goes, “The more you cook, the less you’ll look”. So, get cooking and have a happy Thanksgiving!
Bonus Tip: Music Makes Everything Better
Want to make your cooking experience even better? Put on some music! I suggest something light and fun like “Turkey In The Straw”. As you’re cooking, you can sing along and have a great time. Who said cooking had to be boring? Get your groove on and have a great time!
So, there you have it! With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to cook the perfect turkey. So, don’t be scared, get in the kitchen and get cooking!