How To: Cook a quick and easy perfect Thanksgiving turkey

Cook a quick and easy perfect Thanksgiving turkey

Take the stress out of your Thanksgiving dinner showpiece when you roast up a moist, golden bird. Learn how to cook the perfect Thanksgiving turkey.
You will need:
12-14 lb. kosher or self-basting turkey
roasting pan with rack
aluminum foil
large plate
instant-read thermometer
4 tbsp. olive oil or butter
pastry brush
kitchen twine
potholders
large plastic bags
sharp knife
cutting board
serving tray
paper towels

Follow these steps to prepare a beautiful Thanksgiving turkey.

2 Comments

Mostly good information, as far as it goes. However, a probe thermometer like the Polder, which has a probe that stays in the bird and a readout that is connected via a cable and stays outside the oven, and has an alarm that goes off when the target temperature is reached, is a much better way to go than the thermometer shown. This way you don't have to open the oven to tell how your bird is progressing. And, you don't have to watch the clock. When the bird is done, the alarm will tell you.

Every time you open the oven, you lose heat and humidity, which prolongs the cooking time and dries out the bird. And please don't ell me you are opening the oven to baste the bird. Basting is a complete waste of time, literally, as it can add over an hour to the cooking time.

Either way, one thing that should have been mentioned, is that once you pierce the meat with the thermometer, don't remove the thermometer. If you do, juice that should remain in the meat will virtually spew out. This results in dried-out meat in that portion of the bird.

The foil covering for the roasting rack is worse than useless, in my opinion. The whole reason for having the rack in the first place is to allow for air-flow around the bird.

Yes, it also holds the bird up out of the drippings, but this is not primarily why it is there. Air flow allows the bird to cook more quickly and evenly. Lose the airflow, and you might as well lose the rack. It doesn't hurt the bird to sit in the drippings, anyway, as it keeps that portion of the meat moist, and drips off once the bird is allowed to rest after being taken from the oven.

Oh, and despite what your grandmother may have told you, rinsing the bird is a waste of time, and even worse, can help to spread salmonella around your kitchen, anywhere the water droplets fly. With a large bird like a turkey, this is likely to be a rather large area. The sink, the faucet, the surrounding countertop, the floor in front of the sink, the cabinet doors beneath the

Hmm, apparently there's a limit on the length of a post, so here's the rest of the above:

With a large bird like a turkey, this is likely to be a rather large area. The sink, the faucet, the surrounding countertop, the floor in front of the sink,

the cabinet doors beneath the sink, your clothing... Don't rinse your bird in the name of safety; it is far less safe a practice than is just leaving it alone.

This is not just my opinion, this is also according to the USDA guide to handling poultry. In any event, regarding harmful bacteria, rinsing will accomplish nothing that

several hours in the oven will not. Oh, and by the way, the 165 degree guideline is not an arbitrary thing, it is, rather, the temperature at which salmonella dies. Instantly.

As to a self-basting or a kosher bird, please don't get the idea these are the same thing. They are not even vaguely related, except that they are both turkeys. A

self-basting bird has been injected with a solution that is supposed to keep it moist and flavorful. A kosher bird has, among other things, been briefly packed in salt. This

packing in salt has been compared to brining, but brining requires liquid if the water and salt inside and outside the bird are to eventually come to equlibrium. Packing

something in salt will only draw out moisture, and not replace it. Only by brining will that moisture eventually be replaced.

Regarding a self-basting bird, I avoid them. I don't want my bird injected with something that has been cooked up in a lab. I've never roasted a kosher bird. Certainly there

is no worry regarding chemicals, there, and people say they taste good. They probably do, but I, for one, will stick with a "regular" bird, and brine it. You can also thaw your

bird in a brine, as long as the temperature doesn't go above about 38 degrees, and the brine is not too strong.

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