WHAT SIZE TURKEY SHOULD I BUY? For turkeys that weigh less than 16 pounds, estimate about 1 pound of raw turkey per person, which delivers around a half-pound of edible meat. Bigger birds are meatier, so with those, figure 1½ pounds per person. Note: Big-

HOW DO I KNOW WHEN MY TURKEY IS DONE? The most important thing you need when preparing a turkey dinner is a meat thermometer. If your turkey did not come with a pop-up timer, you will need to check the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees and the thickest part of the thighs reaches between 170 and 175 degrees. The thermometer should be inserted into the joint of the leg and thigh. Don’t push it in so far that it touches bone; the thermometer makes its reading within the first inch of the probe. WILL MY TURKEY GET COLD IF I LET IT REST? The turkey needs to rest for at least 30 minutes before carving, which gives it time to reabsorb the juices. Don’t tent the turkey with foil to keep it warm while it’s resting; it’s unnecessary and will make the skin soggy. And don’t worry about temperature. As long as the turkey is intact, it will cool pretty slowly. WHAT IF I UNDERCOOK THE TURKEY? Carve the breasts and legs off the carcass (keeping the pieces whole), place them on a rimmed baking sheet, and pop them back in the oven at 350° until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°. WHAT IF IT’S OVERCOOKED? Although there’s no real going back from an overcooked or dry turkey, you can add gravy to moisten it a bit. WHAT ABOUT FRYING? Be sure to use a fully thawed turkey, because moisture from a defrosting turkey may cause dangerous oil splatters.​ temperature with a food thermometer. Your turkey is ready to come out of the oven when the breast How To Spatchcock A Turkey Spatchcocking, or butterflying, can drastically reduce the amount of time you spend roasting your turkey. Because a flat turkey cooks more evenly, it can handle higher heat. You will want first to brine it, just as you would a bird for a traditional roast. With a large knife or shears, cut the bird open along the backbone on both sides, through the ribs, then remove the backbone. Once the bird is open, split the breastbone to spread the bird flat; this will allow it to roast evenly. When ready to roast, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, brush the turkey with oil and, depending on its weight, cook for 70 to 90 min- utes. (A 12-pound turkey will take approximately 70 minutes.) Because your turkey is splayed open with no center cavity, a safe internal temperature is 165 degrees. Once the roasting is complete, you’ll discover a very even cooking of the legs, thighs and breast. (The breast is typically the part of the bird that suffers most during a traditional roast, drying slowly over time. By opening the turkey with this technique, the breast will be far juicier and have more flavor.)

ger turkeys take longer to thaw and longer to cook, and can cook less evenly. If you’re serving a large group, or want more leftovers, we sug- gest you cook two smaller birds.

— 101 — Turkey

How To Carve A Turkey Place the turkey, breast side up, on a clean cutting board, and cut any twine that’s still holding the legs together. (If the turkey is still hot, let it rest for about 20 minutes before carving.) Feel for the wishbone between the neck and the breast where the meat joins the bones. Using a sharp chef’s knife, make a small cut behind the bone, then use your fingers to loosen the wishbone from the cooked turkey. Gently pull one leg outwards from the body until the skin is stretched taut. Cut where the leg joins the turkey. Repeat with the other leg. Separate the thigh and the drumstick by cutting through the joint between the two parts. Remove the skin if desired. Holding the wing tip with one hand, gently pull it away from the body with the other until you can fit the knife easily between the wing and the breast. Cut where the two join. Once you have portioned the turkey, use your fingers or two forks to shred or pull the meat apart. HOW DO I THAW MY TURKEY? You want to buy your turkey at least four days before Thanksgiving, because it will take a while for the bird to thaw in the refrigerator. Thaw it breast side up, in the un- opened manufacturer’s wrapper, on a tray in the refrigerator. Plan on about 24 hours per every four pounds of the bird’s weight. A thawed whole turkey will keep in the refrigerator for up to four days before cooking. UH-OH. Believe it or not, it’s actually safe to cook a turkey from the frozen state — but be aware that the cooking time will be at least 50 percent longer than what’s recommended for a fully thawed turkey, so make sure you put it in the oven in enough time. IS THERE A FASTER WAY? Yes, you can use a cold-water thaw, but it still takes 30 minutes per pound. Thaw breast side down, in the unopened wrapper, with enough cold water to completely cover the turkey. You will need to change the water every 30 minutes. DOES TURKEY REALLY MAKE YOU TIRED? Nope, turkey doesn’t actually contain any more tryptophan than many other foods. Run your knife along the backbone and under the breast meat to remove the breast in one piece.

CHEF’S TIP: If you remove the wishbone from a cooked turkey before you carve it, the breast meat will come off in one whole piece when you carve it.




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