Cooking tips for the perfect Thanksgiving turkey

Thanksgiving is just days away and for most home cooks the most daunting task is the turkey. we're going to dispel some common myths surrounding the preparation of the holiday bird.

"You want to cook the turkey safe and correctly. It can be a little bit scary so you just need to think of it as a big chicken." That's according to chef Noah Stephens has been cooking the Thanksgiving staple ever since he can remember and says the most imperative step- thawing the turkey.

"It can take 3 to 4 days to thaw a turkey in the refrigerator." But, if you wait too long- there is a faster way.

You can thaw the turkey in the sink in cold water. Be sure to leave the turkey in the packaging and change the water in the sink every 30 minutes so that it stays cold.

Next it's time to clean the bird before placing it in the roasting pan.

"Don't be afraid of the turkey." Rinse the whole turkey with cold water. No need to use soap. Thow away most of the inside parts, but you can save the jiblets to use in the gravy

If this is your first rodeo here's a simple recipe for preparing the bird.

Coat outside of turkey with:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Butter 

Then stuff the turkey with lemon, onion, tyme and sage."

"I recommend taking some carrots and celery stalks and laying it on the bottom with a little bit of onions and it will give it flavor and will keep it up off of the bottom as well."

Now into the oven:

  • Temperature - 325 degrees
  • Time - 15 minutes per pound
  • Cooking your stuffing in a separate pan will help save time

Check the temperature with a meat thermometer

"So until you get a 165 or higher in everywhere you check- it's not finished." during the roasting process Noah says every cook should use a meat thermometer. 

"You want to check it in a few spots. Right here in the breast and we are almost done it's at 140-150. And the other spot you want to check is right here in the joint."

As for the turkeys with a built-in timer - when it pops out that means it's a good time to check the turkey's temperature. it does not mean it's done.

For those delicious turkey leftovers, Noah says to prevent bacteria from growing let the food cool before putting it in the fridge and sealing it in a container with a secure lid. Also, use multiple containers instead of piling it into one large one.

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