Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and as the main attraction of the holiday meal, the turkey deserves some attention. From picking out the right bird to knowing how much stuffing to fill it with, preparing the Thanksgiving turkey can be a daunting task – especially for a first time host. To put you at ease, we’ve gathered some basic turkey tips to help you produce a juicy, delicious bird.
- For a large party, choose a large bird, around 15 to 20 pounds. Smaller birds have a smaller meat-to-bone ratio, so there will be more per person. Just keep in mind the amount of leftovers depends on the size of the turkey.
- When thawing your turkey, it’s best to thaw in the refrigerator, to reduce the risk of harmful bacteria. Plan ahead to allow a full day for every 4 pounds of turkey being thawed.
- After your frozen turkey has thawed, rinse it under cool running water and dry inside and out with paper towels.
- If you decide to stuff your bird, make sure to do it right before the turkey goes in the oven. This reduces the risk of exposure to bacteria.
- Stuffing expands as it bakes, so leave some room in the turkey’s cavity. This allows stuffing to cook more evenly and keeps it from becoming dense.
- Roast the turkey on a rack set in a shallow roasting pan so that heat can circulate and help brown the turkey. After the first hour, baste the turkey to keep it moist. Roast until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh registers 165 degrees.
- Let your turkey rest at least 30 minutes before carving. If your turkey is stuffed, remove the stuffing before carving.