Meat Grinders Guide: How to Prepare a Turkey
There is nothing better than getting the entire family together on this special day and celebrating with the people that you truly care about. Something that is really special, yet challenging is setting up this extravagant event. The history of Thanksgiving feast is quite interesting as it is. Are you hosting your first Thanksgiving dinner and you are a little puzzled on how to prepare this delicious juicy bird? There is no need to worry because this guide is here to help when it comes to the full process of setting the turkey. Here is a simple guide to mastering this American art from pre-prep to the cooking process, then to the plate! All the turkey tips and secrets at your service to cook the best, most juicy turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner!
How to Cook a Thanksgiving Turkey
This easy guide to turkey cooking process will put your stress at ease, with the step by step thanksgiving recipe on how to prepare a thanksgiving turkey.
Cooking a Thanksgiving Turkey recipe:
- Step 1 – Selecting the Proper Sized Turkey: when making a trip to your local grocery store. Make sure to pick a fresh turkey that is substantial enough. The idea size is around one pound turkey per person or maybe a little less.
- Step 2 – Thawing Process: If you purchase your turkey well in advance and decide to freeze your bird. Allow around 3 to 4 hours per pound of thawing time and thaw the frozen turkey in the refrigerator.
- Step 3 – Cleaning Process: Remove the packaging from the turkey and scoop out the neck and giblets that are in the turkey’s body cavity. Wash the turkey with cold water (inside and out) and dry of the bird with a paper towel.
- Step 4 – Seasoning Prep: Before placing the turkey in the oven, rub the bird with olive oil and season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, onion and garlic powder or garlic cloves, herbs and paprika.
- Step 5 – Stuffing: If you want to cook the stuffing in the turkey while it is cooking because this will result in a more flavorful and moist stuffing. Make sure to place the stuffing in the turkey’s boy cavity only right before the cooking process to prevent contamination and tie the legs together with the trussing (string).
- Step 6 – Cooking Process: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees f and slow cook your turkey (you will receive the best results using this cooking method.) Add 20 minutes of cooking time for every pound, and allow the turkey to sit with the oven door open for a final 20 minutes. Make sure to baste the turkey for every 20 minutes it is cooking. When using a meat thermometer, the ideal internal temperature will be around 160 degrees F for a perfectly cooked turkey. You can also smoke turkey, in this case make sure to check our Best Wood For Smoking Turkey article, and, of course, this recipe on how to smoke turkey breast meat!
How to Carve a Thanksgiving Turkey:
To carve a thanksgiving turkey properly (which you can actually cook for a Christmas dinner, too), you will need four tools: kitchen scissors, spoon, slicing knife and a meat fork. It’s also a good idea to have a cutting board at hand. After the perfect roast turkey is finished and you let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes, it is time to carve!
- The best way to handle the turkey is with your hands and the first step is to cut the trussing with your scissors.
- Cut the drumsticks by placing your knife against the thigh and slice down to create separation, then separate both drumsticks from each side and remove with your hands.
- Slice the neck cavity to remove the stuffing and scoop the stuffing with a spoon.
- Slice thigh meat from the bone and this is the dark meat.
- Slice the bottom end of the turkey’s breast and make horizontal slices towards the rib cage of the turkey and repeat on the other side.
- Finally cut the wings and then serve the turkey with a meat fork to your guests’ plates!
Have a very Happy Thanksgiving and have fun sharing the love with your guests. Keep a look out for our next guide for shedding delicious pulled pork!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Temperature Is Turkey Safe to Eat?
The USDA recommends cooking poultry to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. In our opinion, the dark meet (including the thighs, drumsticks, and wings) taste better when they’re cooked a touch longer, reaching an internal temperature of 175 degrees F. Remember that your turkey will continue to cook as it rests, so you should pull it out when the breasts registers 160 or the thigh registers 170 degrees.
How long does it take to cook a turkey?
If you’re cooking your turkey at 325 degrees F, an unstuffed turkey should take about 15 minutes per pound. If your turkey is frozen, it will take 50 percent longer (so, approximately 22 minutes per pound).
When should I start thawing my turkey?
Thawing in the refrigerator takes 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey. If you have a 15 pound turkey, that means you’ll need to start thawing three to four days before your big event. Thawing in the refrigerator is the safest way to thaw a turkey, but you can also thaw it in cold water. It takes 30 minutes per pound of turkey, and you’ll need to replace the water with cold water every 30 minutes as well.
Should you stuff a turkey before cooking it?
We recommend against stuffing a turkey. It presents a grave health risk if the stuffing is undercooked, and the turkey will take longer to cook, too. You can make a flavorful stuffing using turkey stock and cook it in the oven outside the turkey, so just don’t risk it!
How do you carve a Thanksgiving turkey?
Carving a turkey is easier than you think, you just need a sharp blade or an electric carving knife. Let the turkey rest for at least 20 minutes (but, preferably an hour). Start by removing the legs and thighs by cutting through the skin that connects them to the breast. Cut the tendon between the leg and the thigh to release the drumsticks. Then, remove the wishbone before slicing the turkey breasts. You can remove the wings before or after doing the breasts, depending on your preference. Then slice the meat and arrange it on a platter!