'Tis the season to be stressing about turkey! We've polled our staff, customers and a few seasoned pros to put together this list of tips to help make this year's turkey your best ever!
(Don't forget to check our Recipe Blog for all kinds of great side dish ideas.)
- Start with a good turkey: Might seem obvious but not all turkeys are created equal. You know what they say.... "you are what you eat and what what you eat eats" so choose a well-raised bird for your holiday table. Plan for smaller portions to account for the higher cost. You'll get a better tasting turkey for your trouble.
- Buy the right size: Plan on 1 - 1.5lbs per person for a turkey under 16lbs and a little less for a larger turkey (they have more meat and less bone). By all means plan for leftovers but certainly don't let any go to waste.
- Brine: Brining replaces the natural juices of the turkey with the brine mixture which helps to ensure that your turkey stays moist. It will also be more flavourful.
- Don't go right from fridge to oven: Bring your turkey to room temperature on the counter for 30 minutes before putting it into the oven. The heat will then be more evenly distributed and your cooking time will be more accurate.
- Put stuffing in cheesecloth: Before stuffing the bird, put the stuffing in cheesecloth then place inside the cavity. Makes it so much easier to remove & serve!
- Build a veggie island in a sea of stock: arrange carrots, celery & onions to make a platform in the roasting pan upon which to place the turkey. Then pour stock into the roasting pan to barely cover the veggies. After the turkey is ready, use the stock infused with turkey drippings to make gravy.
- Wrap it up: Soak cheesecloth in butter and wrap it around your turkey for an extra juicy bird.
- Use a thermometer: Buy a good thermometer that you can leave in the bird while it is cooking. Place it in the thickest part of the thigh but not touching the bone. Position so you can see it through the oven window so you don't have to keep opening the door. When it reads 165 °F your turkey is ready.
- Crisp it up: Just before it is ready, remove the cheesecloth and increase the temperature to 425°F to crisp up the skin
- Let it rest: Give your turkey time to reabsorb all the juices by letting it sit for at least 20 minutes before serving.
We'll have detailed instructions for cooking your turkey coming soon so check back for that and lots of great leftovers ideas! Please post any great tips you have in the comments section below.
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