With the holidays right around the corner, I thought now would be a great time to start giving tips and recipes to all my West Baton Rouge friends and family to help assure your gatherings are delicious!
So, here are my top 10 tips to roasting the perfect turkey
1. Read the entire recipe before cooking
Some recipes have several variations, and if you don’t read all the way to the end you may not find out about them until it’s too late. It might take a few more minutes, but in the end, it’s worth it!
2. Buy the turkey ahead of time
For turkeys, there are several reasons to purchase at least a week ahead of cooking time: it is often less expensive, you will avoid stress and you will have ample time to thaw, season and marinate.
Whatever you like - wine or butter - injecting the turkey and letting it rest in those juices makes a huge difference! Also, don’t neglect the boney parts of the turkey, like the wings. Just be careful not to puncture through to the other side, to avoid the marinade pouring out.
4. Pay attention
Don’t get distracted by the latest viral video or IG post … Stay focused, and that will avoid culinary disasters. When putting the turkey in the oven, set your alarm for the next step, so you don’t lose track of time.
5. Be generous with
I have learned that when it comes to meats, don’t be afraid to add what may seem like a large amount of salt and other seasonings when the recipe calls for it. A whole turkey is a lot of meat!
In my experience, basting the turkey every 30-45 minutes made the turkey meat super juicy and tender, and got it to a beautiful dark golden color! Set your alarm to make sure that you don’t skip your intermittent basting times, this is very important to avoid dry turkey.
7. Rotate the turkey in the oven
I learned this simple, logical trick from a chef friend, and it really makes all the difference!
The back of the oven is usually hotter than the front, because heat escapes every time you open the oven door, but the back of the oven tends to stay hotter. So, every time you open the oven for basting, rotate the turkey so it gets a uniform color and near-equal exposure to the hottest parts of the oven.
8. Aluminum foil is your friend
Aluminum foil helps meats retain moisture while roasting and, at the same time, prevents burning.
If the turkey looks cooked but hasn’t reached the right temperature yet, cover the darker areas with foil, while all uncovered areas continue to darken.
9. Make sure you have the right tools
While recommended, there are some substitutions you can make with tools you probably already have.
• Meat thermometer:
This is a necessity. Just a simple, basic meat thermometer. If used right, it will potentially prevent you from serving uncooked meats to your family.
You don’t HAVE to inject the turkey, but it’s so much better when you do.
It doesn’t need to be anything expensive or overly-sophisticated, but it should be purposed for injecting meats.
• Turkey roaster pan:
The turkey roaster pan elevates the bird to allow the heat to cook it uniformly. If you don’t have one, use a bed of vegetables, like long sticks of celery, placed on the bottom of the pan.
If you cannot get a baster, it can be substituted with a big spoon.
10. Don’t freak out!
Take it one step at a time. Divide the tasks in small steps, it is possible that by the end of the day you realized you were stressing out for nothing.
If you have other tips that I missed, let me know on social media @JohasTable, or visit www.johastable.com and drop me a line.
In the next week couple of weeks, I’ll share my recipes for turkey and homemade cranberry sauce with you!