Catalyst Cooks

Make. Food. Happen!

Thanksgiving Week is Here! November 19, 2010

Number one Question on the minds of Thanksgiving hosts and hostesses everywhere:

How do I make sure I serve a moist Thanksgiving Turkey?

Here are Jen the Catalyst’s Top Tips for a great Turkey on Thanksgiving!

  1. Begin the Great Brining Thaw on Sunday.

Why brine?   Brining allows the Turkey to absorb more water before cooking it. 

I use a light brine of about 1/4 cup Kosher salt to 1 gallon water, and add fun things like garlic, onion, peppercorns, bay leaf, and fresh herbs. 

By definition, a brine is really just saltwater, and anything else is extra.

I brine (and thaw) my bird on the sunporch or outside (I like to make sure the bird is at around 35 degrees) from Sunday to Thursday morning.

2.  Put Butter Under the Turkey Skin.

Yes, I put fancy stuff on the top of this one like lemons and garlic.

But the important part is what you can’t see… the butter and fresh thyme that I personally put between the skin and the meat.

Butter makes everything better.  Don’t hesitate to use a lot (like half a stick).  I use unsalted. 

3.  Use a Thermometer.

Don’t serve raw meat… it’s just not safe!

Insert a reliable thermometer into the middle of the breast, make sure you’re not touching bone (wiggle the tip around and make sure it’s not next to bone). 

If your bird is stuffed, you can put the thermometer in the stuffing.  In order to be safe, the temperature must reach 165 degrees in the breast and stuffing before eating.

If you rest your bird, and you should (I do for 30-40 minutes while I heat up the side dishes)- the turkey will continue to cook and the internal temperature will continue to rise, 5-10 degrees.  As a result, you can pull the turkey from the oven when the breast meat reaches 160 degrees.

Bottom line: if a turkey doesn’t roast long enough, it won’t be safe to eat.  If a turkey roasts too long, it will dry out.  Be smart and use a thermometer to get a safe, moist turkey.

Good luck everybody!  May your Turkey day be great! 

I’m thankful to have you peeking into my crazy Catalyst life!


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