The Perfect Turkey

The Perfect Turkey

Don’t be chicken of your turkey. Follow these simple rules and your turkey will be moist and succulent!

Throughout America, cooks ranging from novices to experienced chefs start feeling increasingly uneasy as Thanksgiving Day draws near.  They imagine a table filled with ravenous friends, family and in-laws – waiting expectantly for the perfect turkey.  Will it be undercooked?  Will it taste like shoe leather?  Or will you prepare your turkey just right? It’s the kind of pressure that can cause many to toss and turn at night.

Don’t be chicken of your turkey.  Relax!  Stop worrying.  In fact, your turkey will be great if you just follow some simple rules. Now I pick our very own PS Turkeys – they’re real butter basted.

 Picking Your Poultry

This will require some math.  As a general rule for whole turkeys, you’ll want 1-1 ½ pounds per guest.  (½ pound per guest for boneless turkeys.)  Add a little more weight if you want some for leftovers. When buying a turkey, you’ll also need to calculate the necessary thawing time.

Why?  Because you must allow a day of thawing in your refrigerator for every 4-5 pounds the turkey weighs.  The bigger the bird, the earlier you must place it in the refrigerator. For most turkeys, a thawing time of 4-6 days in the refrigerator will be required. You can even thaw a few days longer. The easiest way to tell if the turkey is thawed adequately is to check a wing or leg.  If it moves freely in its socket, the thawing is complete.What if I need to thaw my turkey quickly?

Cold water thawing is a safe, effective way to thaw your turkey fast. First, be sure the turkey is sealed in its original packaging. Submerge the turkey in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes.


Open your oven door and move the oven rack to the lowest rung.  Position the rack first before preheating the oven.  Now, preheat the oven to 325° degrees.

Look inside your turkey to locate the turkey neck and giblets. Remove them.  Often, one will be in the cavity and other will be inserted in the neck.  Rinse your turkey inside and out.  Pat dry.

Tuck the wings under the shoulders of the bird so that the breast area is free This is called “akimbo”.  This will help when carving.  Rub your turkey lightly with olive oil.  This will help the outside to brown nicely.

Place your turkey in the oven.  Cook at 325° degrees for approximately 15 minutes per pound. 

The most likely error one can make is overcooking your turkey.  Once the bird’s internal temperature reaches 165-170° degrees, it’s done!  Take it out of the oven. You can tent the bird in tin foil. Just be sure to remove the foil for the last hour so it browns beautifully The USDA tells us that a turkey is safe to eat when it cooks to an internal temperature of 165°(170) degrees. Allow it to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes before you start carving. Now that you’ve tucked the wings akimbo, the bird can easily be carved by first making the bottom of the breast and proceed with slicing. Refrigerate any leftover turkey within two hours of cooking.


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