Thanksgiving can be a very frustrating holiday if you are having turkey troubles. Many people do not have the art of long baking a turkey down yet. We tend to overcook and dry out the turkey, or under cook and have no turkey at dinner time . I am going to help you be well prepared on your next Thanksgiving. You will have the most memorable turkey experience ever!
The first thing you need to do is make sure that your turkey is completely thawed out. You need to thaw your turkey out by refrigerating it. Any other thawing method is not recommended due to the small chance of bacteria. Nothing worse than a spoiled Thanksgiving turkey. You will thaw the turkey in the refrigerator according to weight. If your turkey is a large 21-24 pounds, you will need to thaw your turkey at a minimum of 5-6 days. For 17-20 pound turkeys, you will need to thaw in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. If your turkey is only 13-16 pounds, it is recommended that you thaw the turkey for 3-4 days. Finally, if you have a small 8-12 pound turkey the thawing time recommended is 2-3 days.
The next step to a wonderful turkey is the preparation. I recommend you first preheat your oven to the temperature of 475 degrees. This sounds like it is too hot, but trust me follow these directions, and you will have the most incredible turkey ever! Now, remove the neck and giblets from your turkey. After that, you need to carefully pull up the skin on the turkey that is around the breast. Do not remove the skin, just separate it in order to add flavor. Then you shall take spoons of butter, and shove it down in the turkey between the skin and the breast. Just put a very light coat on the breast for best results. If you would like to add some extra flavor, you should place some thyme and rosemary on top of the butter. This is optional, however adds an amazing flavor to your turkey! Now you should get the salt and pepper shakers ready. You need to moderately put salt and pepper on the outside of your turkey skin. This adds flavor as well as making the skin super crisp.
After your oven has preheated successfully, place your prepared turkey into a covered turkey pan. You will now put the turkey in the oven for 20 minutes at the preheated temperature of 475. This process is basically to seal the flavor into your turkey and to keep it nice and juicy. After the 20 minutes has passed, you need to turn your heat drastically down to the temperature of 250 degrees.
This is all the hotter you need to have the oven if you are intending to slow bake your turkey. Now you should cook your turkey at a rate of 20 minutes per each additional pound with the oven at 250. This is the perfect way to get a nice, juicy turkey. After the cooking time is complete, you should check your turkey with a thermometer. The thermometer should read at least 170 degrees if checking in the breast, and 180 degrees if checking in the thigh. This will ensure that your turkey is properly cooked.
Finally, in order to have the most perfect, flavorful turkey, you need to allow the turkey to cook for approximately 25 minutes before you carve into it. By doing so, the juice will distribute throughout the turkey and make it the most moist and delightful turkey you have ever eaten.