Turkey Advice

Has anyone successfully cooked a turkey before? I have to cook one. I have a big ol' bird sitting in my fridge that says I have to. Any words of wisdom so I don't burn it and/or it tastes like cardboard? For the third year since I moved to Southern California, I won't be seeing my family but will be spending it with the boy. The turkey is for all of our friends who won't be making it home either. I'm being adventurous this year and cooking instead of going out.

What are your plans for this day of thanks?



Glo said...

I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner. For the past few years, I've used Tom Colicchio's Herb-Butter turkey recipe... you can find it on Epicurious. And I've also started with cooking my turkey upside down (so that the dark meat cooks a little faster) and then flipping it halfway through, but that's not required. :) Especially for your first turkey. The flipping part is an adventure. Good luck! Gobble, gobble!

dethbakin said...

Hey Monnee! I have hosted Thanksgiving for the last two years, and I will be hosting again this year! We usually have a big crowd: 15-20 people. For the last two years, we have gotten two small turkeys for everyone. My brother takes care of deep frying one, and I roast the other. It has gone surprisingly smoothly for me both times. I have roasted a turkey a few other times on non-holidays, and this is by far my favorite recipe so far.

The only other piece of advice that I have is to get the turkey in the oven EARLY. It has to rest for a half an hour before you can carve it, and if it rests for even longer it's fine. Room-temperature turkey is still delicious. But room-tempeature side dishes are often not as good, and trying to re-heat 10 things at once as quickly as possible because the turkey just came out and everyone is starving also sucks.

Dayseye said...

I haven't cooked a turkey before; however, these are the tips that have made my mom's turkey taste better (i.e., for the longest time, I hated turkey because I associated with dry, tasteless meat).

1) Start defrosting that sucker early. Like a couple days early (of course, this depends on the size of your turkey).

2) Brine your turkey (i.e., give it a salt water bath)

3) This is my own tip - watch the Food Network thanksgiving special. Alton Brown goes over in detail on how to do it right.

buhdoop said...

Great tips Glo and dethbakin.

We will also be cooking a turkey so I am looking forward to reading all the advice in the comments :)

honey my heart said...

i've never cooked a turkey before, so good luck!!!! you'll do great :)

Bells said...

I did Nigella's recipe a couple of christmases ago and it worked a charm and it's something a bit different
Google Spiced and super-juicy roast turkey if the link doesn't work in America.

Lea McIntosh said...

Hands down. Cook's Illustrated is one of the best resources when it comes to cooking Thanksgiving turkey. You can get some side dish inspiration here too. They explain everything in detail. http://www.cooksillustrated.com/
Dayseye's comment was right on with the Brining. I use an ice chest to achieve this task.

For some additional side dish inspiration, you can browse our recently launched premiere issue of Nesting Newbies. http://nestingnewbies.com/magazine/fall09.html

Have a great thanksgiving!

-Chef Lea McIntosh @ NestingNewbies

Spare Thoughts said...

Last Christmas in the UK there seemed to be a nationwide (certainly my family) competition between those who had a Nigella Lawson turkey and those who had a Jamie Oliver turkey. So maybe a couple of recipes to google.

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

Deep fried turkey has been the best turkey I've ever had. But I adapted Gourmet magazine's miso turkey to my chicken and it is a house staples (basically mix miso, butter, and chopped onions and place under skin and on top), tent with foil and bake. Soooo good.

julia::ordinarysaturdays said...

I missed all your requests for help this week! Stupid work, wanting me to work. Anyway - turkey: you'll be fine. If you didn't brine, a foil tent is a good way to start. Basting with butter never hurt anyone. Well, maybe. But not immediately. :)

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