Whether you have perfected a turkey recipe or not, cooking a great bird remains to be an annual challenge. Some turkeys may be better than others because of the quality of the bird or the taste of the gravy and stuffing. In any case, cooking the perfect turkey requires patience, focus and technique.
There are hundreds of turkey recipes out there, but the recipe for turkey success lies in the processes that need to be undertaken before the bird makes it to the oven. These processes are as follows: thawing, preparation, stuffing, basting, roasting and then carving.
It is important to note that thawing time depends on the turkey size and the length of time the turkey spends in the freezer. There are turkey thawing rules that should be followed. Another note on the stuffing is that those that are made days ahead tend to taste better BUT if there’s egg in the mixture, cook it on the same day. There are also some issues when it comes to stuffing the main cavity due to possible bacterial growth. In any case, when stuffing the cavity, make sure to leave room just so the filling will have space to grow.
Of course, calculating the roasting time is critical to make sure that the turkey is not undercooked nor burnt. When referencing the weight, a tip is to weigh the stuffing separately and then later add it to the bird’s; that will give you a more effective roasting time both for your bird and the stuffing.
Basting ensures that the turkey maintains a nice, crisp color, and can also add significantly to its flavor. Basting is an ongoing process during the roasting period, but to maximize the flavor you can get, initially baste for 20-minute intervals, and then later on, at 10-minute intervals.
Remember, a critical component of a perfect turkey is the turkey itself, and you can achieve that through brining. The following is a wonderful turkey brining recipe.
1 gallon warm water
1 liter of cider
1/2 cup vinegar (white, red wine, cider, etc.)
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp allspice
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp whole cloves
4 tbsp Herbes de Provence
1. Mix the spices and onion in the warm water
2. Add the cider and vinegar
3. Pour the mixture into the cooler and set the bird in it.
4. Add enough water to cover, leaving about an inch or two above the surface.
5. Brine for at least 12 hours or as long as 24 hours
6. Brine the turkey in a cool (not cold) environment. If it can’t fit into the fridge put it inside a cooler.
7. Remember to remove from brine and bring to room temperature ” probably 2 hours before cooking time