But cooking this famed bird can be tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing. Many people wrestle with how to keep the breast meat from drying out while ensuring the legs cook fully, for instance.
Here are some tricks to save the day:
Use a kitchen thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the bird’s hip joint when it starts to brown. Cook until it reaches nearly 165˚, accounting for a few degrees of carry-over cooking after it leaves the oven.
Stuff the breast and leg with a flavorful compound butter. This accomplishes two things: it keeps the meat moist throughout the baking process, and it seasons the turkey while it cooks. Use any flavor combination you’d like, whether that’s minced garlic, fresh herbs, and salt & pepper or Asian spices, dried chilies, and fresh ginger. Just be generous when stuffing your bird, using as much butter as you can fit.
Start baking your turkey upside down. This slows the baking of the breast, which cooks more quickly when it is exposed to the blast of the oven. When the bird has about 1 hour of cooking left, flip it over, and the skin will darken perfectly.
Here are some quick tips:
• Let the bird come to room temperature before roasting.
• Let the finished turkey rest for 10 minutes before serving.
• When you buy a fresh bird, make sure the skin on breast has not been torn.
Also, discover the difference in the details when it comes to the type of turkey you purchase.
If you’d like to relax and let us do your cooking for you this Thanksgiving, you have one more day to order our complete holiday dinner at Zupan’s Markets. If you’d like to take a stab at it yourself, here’s our favorite recipe.
Glazed Turkey with Herb Butter
½ lb. (or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 garlic cloves or 2-3 T shallots, minced
1 T sea salt
2 t. black pepper, freshly ground
2 T Italian parsley, minced
1 T fresh sage, minced
1 t. fresh rosemary, minced
1 whole turkey, room temperature
1.) Combine first seven ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
2.) Preheat oven to 400˚. Place turkey in roasting pan. With hands, gently slide fingers under skin of breasts, separating the meat all the way down to collar. Be careful not to tear skin. Repeat process with each thigh. With a tablespoon, scoop up a rounded mound of butter mixture and carefully slip under skin. Use two spoonfuls for each side and evenly distribute, covering each breast. Repeat process with each thigh. When finished, generously rub outside of entire turkey with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt & fresh cracked pepper. Truss turkey and stuff it if desired. Invert.
3.) For a 12 pound turkey, remove from oven after about 2 hours to carefully flip over. (Two people may be needed for this job.)
4.) Return turkey to the oven and remove it when the thigh joint reaches 165˚ or when juices run clear. Total roasting time is about 12-15 minutes per pound.