Cooking a turkey can be quite a challenge, even if you are able to thaw it. Should you cook the stuffing in the turkey? Should you brine it? What is ‘resting’? It is easy for anyone to be confused, even if they do have decent culinary skills. Fortunately, you can check out some simple tips that Ido Fishman has shared for making a terrific turkey. Take a look at them below:
- Choose the right turkey
There was a time when you have to choose between a large, medium or small frozen turkey, but now you have a lot more options. First and foremost, Ido Fishman says that you don’t have to buy a frozen turkey at all. You can now choose from free-range turkeys, organic turkeys, Kosher turkeys and even heritage turkeys.
- Keep 1 ½ pound of turkey for everyone
As per Ido Fishman chef, this calculation allows you to account for varying appetites and ensures that you have generous leftovers as well. You can increase it to 2 pounds per person, if you want a plentiful feast. This figure is also accurate if you are roasting a smaller bird, such as one that’s under 12 pounds, because these have a lower of meat-to-bone.
- Thaw it in the fridge
The easiest and safest way for you to thaw a turkey is in the fridge for a few days. Every 4 to 5 pounds of the bird should be thawed for 24 hours. This means four days for an 18-pound turkey. You could thaw the turkey in a sink of cold water, but it requires changing the water several times, monitoring water temperature and also ties up your sink.
- Roast 15 minutes per pound
Keep the turkey uncovered and roast it for 15 minutes per pound in a 325 F oven. It takes 4 to 5 hours for a turkey that weighs 14 to 20 pounds. Cook the breast to 165 F and 180 F is best for the thigh. Ido Fishman says that the former is for food safety and the latter ensures that the dark meat doesn’t get too chewy.
- Cooking the stuffing on the side
It may be traditional to cook the stuffing in the turkey, but this makes the bird harder to cook. According to Ido Fishman, this is why people feel queasy after having turkey because some of the stuffing isn’t cooked all the way, which creates a food safety hazard.
- Prevent cross contamination
Food poisoning doesn’t just occur because you didn’t cook the turkey or stuffing properly. Whenever you are handling raw poultry, there is a risk of transferring bacteria from uncooked poultry juices through your cutting board, utensils or hands. It is known as cross-contamination and often transmits pathogens like E. coli and salmonella. Ido Fishman says that not rinsing the bird, safe thawing and even washing your hands can go a long way in having a delicious turkey.
- Brining can give moisture and flavor
You can season your turkey with pepper, salt, dry rubs and spice blends, but they only season the skin and not the meat itself. Ido Fishman says that if you want to add some flavor to the meat, you need to soak it in a flavorful liquid called brine, or inject it directly into the meat. Water that has sugar and salt dissolved in it can be the simplest brine. You can find other recipes that use a number of herbs, fruit, spices and even maple syrup.
- Get a quality meat thermometer
No, this doesn’t mean an instant-read thermometer. Ido Fishman recommends you get a meat thermometer that’s left in the poultry or meat during roasting. Get a digital one that alerts you when the turkey reaches the target temperature. Insert it in the thigh’s deepest part, but don’t hit bone. Remove the turkey from the oven when it reaches 170 F on the meat thermometer.