Thanksgiving and other winter celebrations are all about quality time with family and friends and, of course, eating a home-cooked meal. The turkey is the star of the show, and there’s nothing worse than a dry, tasteless turkey after being in the kitchen all day. Don’t worry, your guests will be completely obsessed with this turkey; you might even impress yourself while you’re at it. You don’t need to add much to your bird to make it shine, but there are a few key steps to keep in mind as you prepare and bake. Our method involves icing the turkey breast before roasting. It may sound silly, but trust us – it works wonders! Follow our recipe and you’ll be able to cook perfectly cooked turkey with juicy white meat and tender dark meat year after year.
To guarantee the juiciest turkey ever, you need to make sure your turkey is completely thawed first.this USDA Recommended Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator. Now, here’s some prep work. Thaw at least 1 day per 4-5 lbs of turkey. To put that into perspective, that means it takes at least 4 days for a 16-pound bird to thaw. Here’s another reason to buy your frozen turkey at least 1 week in advance!
What to do if you forget to thaw your turkey
Now, if you bought your turkey at the last minute—or forgot to move it to the refrigerator in time—there’s another safe way to bring it back to room temperature. Leave the bird in the plastic wrap and place it in the sink. Fill the sink with cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes, allowing 30 minutes per pound to thaw. So a 16-pound turkey takes about 8 hours to thaw.
We recommend keeping a good set of thermometers on hand, one for instant readings and one for constant monitoring that will measure the internal temperature of the turkey while it is in the oven.For these purposes, we strongly recommend ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4 Makes an excellent all-purpose instant-read thermometer. It’s extremely durable and provides fast and accurate thermal readings you can rely on.The second thermometer we recommend is ThermoWorks ChefAlarm。 It’s perfect for items that require accurate temperature readings over extended periods of time, perfect for roasting a turkey.
Internal Temperature Targets for the Juiciest Turkey Recipe Ever:
We have two targets and we are looking for the internal temperature. We want white meat to be at a different temperature than dark meat. For our white meat (breast), we’re looking for an internal temperature of 155 degrees Fahrenheit. For our dark meat (legs), we’re looking at 175-180 degrees Fahrenheit. The higher heat helps break down excess connective tissue in the turkey legs, thighs, and wings.
How do I avoid overcooking white meat?
We highly recommend cooling the brisket before roasting and allowing the dark meat to warm slightly at room temperature. To do this, you’ll need to fill two plastic sandwich bags with ice cubes and sandwich them together. Place them on top of the turkey so that the bag hangs directly over the breast. Let your turkey sit like this on the counter for 1 hour before roasting. The breast temperature will decrease and the dark meat will come to room temperature. This cool trick gives your dark meat a head start on the required temperature difference when roasting, and it’s completely food safe (see food safety below).
It’s important to follow the USDA’s recommendations for food safety, and we’ve got you covered with this recipe. There are a few important times and temperatures to keep in mind. Your turkey is safe at room temperature for a total of 4 hours. The 4 hours will include before and after baking and serving time. This means that placing the breast of the turkey under an ice pack to cool the white meat is completely safe and still gives you 3 hours to put the turkey in the oven, rest and serve.
The second safety number to keep in mind is that if you cook your turkey to an internal temperature of 150 degrees (if you leave it there for at least 5 minutes), it is safe to eat. Since our turkeys will continue to be at that temperature and even warm up during the rest, it is 100% safe to heat the white meat in the oven to only 150 or 155 degrees Fahrenheit before resting.
Traditionally, turkeys are roasted starting at a higher temperature to shock it with heat and develop a skin before the temperature is lowered. In order for the turkey to cook more evenly and maintain a temperature balance between the dark and white meat, we recommend always cooking at 350°F.
To paint or not to paint?
Grease is the traditional way to ensure a juicy turkey, but does it really work?
advantage: Spoon the juices back onto the turkey, allowing them to seep into the meat, providing the turkey with fresh juices.
shortcoming: One of the main downsides of basting a turkey is that the oven temperature drops by as much as 50 degrees every time the oven door is opened. Depending on your oven and how consistently it keeps the temperature, it can take a long time to recover.
If you decide to baste your turkey, limit the roasting time to two, spaced evenly during cooking.