The Best Way to Cook a Thanksgiving Turkey …and Other Important Holiday Pro Tips

Nov 8, 2019 Posted in Tips No Comment

The great turkey cook-off is about to begin, and there are many ways to cook your Thanksgiving bird.

Typical favorites are: deep frying, oven roasting, and smoking—but science has discovered the true best way to get tender, juicy turkey meat every time…

For this week’s blog, we’ve pulled together all your need-to-know tips on this ultimate turkey cooking method…as well as a few other Thanksgiving-themed tips and tricks.

Is it all about the brine?

The short answer is no. While brining your turkey in a salt water mixture can keep moisture inside the meat, the real secret to tenderness is in a rarely-used cooking method called spatchcocking.

Essentially, this method means butterflying your turkey to allow for a more even cook all over. Butterflying helps ensure that the smaller more tender pieces of meat (the thighs, for example) won’t dry out while the larger breast meat pieces cook.

The shape of a large and rounded turkey can be a nightmare for even cooking. Breast meat can come out undercooked and chewy while thighs are overdone. Adopting the spatchcock method, however, can help take care of these challenges. In fact, food scientists have gone so far as to call this method “ideal”.

If you’d like to try spatchcocking your turkey this year, check out the complete process broken down here by spendwithpennies.

Another tip of critical importance for tender meat is to let the turkey rest and cool for at LEAST 20 minutes when it comes out of the oven. If you slice it and it steams like crazy, that is precious moisture escaping. Allow the meat to cool, and serve it with hot gravy instead.

Here’s a few other professional holiday prep tips: 

  • Use pennies, uncooked rice, or dried beans as pie weights when pre-baking your crust to prevent it from fluffing up.
  •  Mashed potatoes cool quickly. Combine them in a crock pot with some heavy whipping cream and butter so that even those who return for seconds will be scooping warm spoonfuls on their plates.
  •  Delicious gravy is de-greased gravy. If you don’t have a fat separator, fill a glass measuring cup with the gravy and place it in the freezer for a short time. The fat will rise to the top and can be easily skimmed off.
  •  Here’s a little trick to keeping your skimmed gravy hot while keeping your stove top turned off: a quality thermos.
  • Overcooked turkey? Drizzle the sliced meat with warm chicken broth to add delicious flavor and moisten your meat. Even if your bird wasn’t overcooked, this is still an excellent trick for seconds and leftovers.

At Geppetto Catering, we’re always happy to help with your Thanksgiving hosting. Browse our menus and place an order at any time. Speaking of Thanksgiving…we’re thankful to have you as our clients! Wishing you a wonderful holiday with delicious, perfectly-cooked food!

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