An Expert’s Top Tips for Turkey Cooking

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By PeterLogan

Thanksgiving turkey can be a daunting dish for novice chefs (or anyone for that matter). It can be overwhelming to manage everything from the thawing, seasoning, brining and stuffing. There are simple ways to make your turkey perfect, no matter how many times you’ve done it before.

Turkey-newbies need not be afraid. Pro chef Daniel Angerer of New York City’s Hu Kitchen sarma recept and Jasmine Shea (nutrition consultant at Bubs Naturals, founder of Your Dinner Is Planned), shared their best tips on how to cook a Thanksgiving turkey. These experts have the best tips to make a Thanksgiving you and your guests will never forget.

For more information, see these Classic American Desserts that Deserve a Resurrection.

1. Make sure you have enough turkey to feed your guests
Thanksgiving is undoubtedly the most food-focused holiday of all, so remember that your guests will eat the turkey quicker than you think. You don’t want to make them hungry, or leave them disappointed that they didn’t get the chance to eat the star of Thanksgiving: the turkey.

You’ll need approximately six pounds of turkey for every four guests. Shea says that for every 12 guests, you will need an 18-20 pound turkey. Here are some tips to help you choose the right size turkey.

2. If possible, buy organic, free-range turkey
It is important to ensure that your bird is delicious and free of unhealthy additives. You may be tempted by the convenience of buying the first turkey in the supermarket that fits your requirements for weight, but it is worth looking around to see if there are organic or free-range turkeys. Organic and free-range turkeys are those that were allowed to roam free on pasture and have access to their natural diet, which is without pesticides or chemicals.

3. Make sure to buy your frozen turkey in advance

Grocery stores may look like the Hunger Games days before Thanksgiving. You don’t want to risk your life if you wait too long. You can buy frozen turkeys as soon as they are available in the stores, usually starting in October.

4. Uncooked turkey can be safely handled
You want to prevent spreading bacteria from raw poultry so be careful when handling it. The CDC states that harmful bacteria can grow on any poultry product. Therefore, it is important to thoroughly wash all items used in preparing the turkey. Don’t rinse the turkey.

5. Before you cook, make sure it is completely thawed
Are you in a rush to cook your turkey? Do not rush to cook the turkey. You must make sure that the bird is fully thawed.