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Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey – 7 Easy Tips

Follow these 7 simple tips and you’ll have a moist and delicious Thanksgiving turkey to serve on Thanksgiving or Christmas that your family and friends will love!


Follow these 7 simple tips and you will have a moist and delicious turkey to serve on Thanksgiving that your family and friends will love.

7 Tips for a Moist Thanksgiving Turkey

As Thanksgiving draws near, it’s time to start planning for a moist and delicious turkey dinner. I enjoy hosting family and friends and have learned throughout the years that there are a few tips that help cook a moist turkey. Here are 7 easy ones that will help you prepare a succulent bird for your Thanksgiving feast.

    1. Choose a fresh turkey over a frozen one – According to Sunny Anderson, host of Food Network’s “Home Made in America,” there’s no question. “Always buy fresh”. If you are preparing a frozen one, here is a handy guide [1] to help thaw your turkey in time to cook it. Bonus tip – Purchase one pound of raw turkey per person (includes a moderate amount for leftovers). 1 1/2 pounds per person, if you have hearty eaters or want ample leftover.
    2. Brine the turkey – Brining [2] is an easy, sure-fire way to a moist and flavorful turkey. We never cook poultry without brining it! A typical brining solution contains water, salt, sugar and a variety of spices and aromatics.
      Just be sure to follow a trusted recipe so you get the right proportion of each. We typically use these large Ziploc bags as brining bags [3].   You can flavor a brine as well. If I’m making my own, I like to use a combination of herbs and spices — rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, cranberries, whole cloves, and allspice, plus I put in some onions and halved garlic cloves for extra flavor. If I purchase a pre-made brine, I like the turkey brine from Williams Sonoma.
    3. Rub soft butter under the skin – Placing some butter under the skin is an excellent way to get a moist turkey. As it melts, it bastes the turkey and adds a yummy buttery flavor. For even more flavor, you can add simple herbs and spices to the butter.
    4. Bring your bird to room temperature
 – It’s so important to allow your turkey to come up to room temperature before cooking. This will allow for the heat to be evenly distributed and provide an accurate cooking time.
    5. Roast the turkey upside down at first – I thought this was strange the first time I did it, but placing the turkey, breast side down, on a V-rack for the first hour or so of roasting essentially allows it to baste itself. Any marks left by the rack will disappear once you flip the turkey over and finish roasting it.
    6. Don’t overcook it – Use a thermometer, either instant-read [4] or a probe-style [5], to monitor the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh (be careful not to hit the bone). You’re aiming for 165°F. It’s worth investing in a good meat thermometer if you don’t have one. The turkey will continue to cook as it rests, so the temperature should rise another 10 degrees or so once it’s out of the oven.
    7. Let the turkey rest before carvingI know it’s tempting to do it right away, but the intense heat of your oven forces the juices into the center of the bird, so after roasting, let the turkey rest for about 20 minutes. That should give you enough time to make your gravy {which is one of the most important parts of a turkey dinner 🙂 } The juices will redistribute, and you’ll get moister slices.

Looking for a colorful and tasty side dish to accompany your turkey, this recipe for roasted Brussels sprouts [6] and this one for the best cranberry sauce [7] is quite delicious.

And don’t forget the Pumpkin Pie [8]!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Recipe [6]

We hope your turkey turns out just the way you like. Enjoy the blessings of the season.


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