How to Roast a Turkey ~ a list of everything you need to know to roast the perfect holiday turkey.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and if you are anything like me, you are still just trying to figure out where this whole year has gone. Nonetheless, this is my favorite time of the year. I cannot wait for all the family fun and delicious food we’ll be eating in just a few weeks.
When I first started cooking big dinners at home for the holidays, I was completely scared and intimidated by the act of cooking a whole turkey. With the years, I’ve been able to learn how to make the process easier so that come the day I’m not struggling to get a perfectly cooked turkey on the table. The trick is to plan and prepare. To help you do just that, here is a list of everything you need to know to roast the perfect holiday turkey.
Buy the turkey 2 weeks ahead of time
You’ll need at least one week to begin preparing your turkey, so make sure that you buy the turkey well in advance to ensure that you have the appropriate time to get it ready for cooking. Plus, you’ll be surprised just how fast grocery stores would run out of the precious bird.
Thaw the turkey
If bought frozen, thaw the turkey in the refrigerator 3-4 days in advance or approximately 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey. Be sure to thaw thoroughly before cooking.
Brining the turkey
Brining is a method used to prepare the turkey that involves immersing the turkey in salt water for a day before cooking. I have never used this method, but I’ve heard it’s very effective to achieve a perfectly seasoned and moist turkey.
Season the turkey a day before cooking
If not brining, season your turkey (both outside and inside) the day before and let it marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator and place in the counter for about one hour to allow it to come to room temperature before roasting.
Start the turkey in a hot oven
Start roasting the turkey at 450 degrees for about 30 minutes. Then, lower the temperature to 350 degrees and continue roasting until cooked through. This will render the fat quickly and crisp the skin. If the skin starts browning too quickly, cover it with a piece of aluminum foil and continue cooking.
Take the temperature the right way
To know when the turkey is done, use a meat thermometer to measure the turkey’s temperature. Start taking the temperature after 2.5 to 3 hours of cooking. If it isn’t done, check the temperature every 15 minutes. Insert the thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh. When the turkey reaches a temperature of 165 degrees, it’s done. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 15-20 minutes before carving.