Whether it is Thanksgiving or Christmas, a small family gathering or a huge party, cooking the perfect turkey for the holidays is every chef’s goal.  Here are a few foolproof tips to cooking the perfect turkey!

Get The Right Equipment

The first step to the perfect bird is having all the right tools.  You will need:

  • Heavy duty roasting pan
  • Rack to keep turkey from resting on the bottom of the pan
  • Foil to cover turkey
  • Basting brush to brush turkey with melted butter
  • Baster for basting with pan juices
  • Fine sieve for straining the pan juices for gravy
  • Wire whisk for making lump-free gravy
  • Good quality carving set
  • Meat thermometer

Follow These Simple Instructions:

A small, fresh turkey that weighs less than 14 pounds will usually be a more delicious bird.  Large turkeys take longer to cook, which makes the outer meat overcook more easily.  If you’re feeding a large group, buy two small turkeys rather than one big one.

Brine the turkey.  Salt draws out the blood, which cleanses the bird and breaks down the meat.  This step is especially important if you purchase a frozen turkey, as it greatly improves the flavor.

Cook the stuffing in the oven, not inside the turkey.  A stuffed bird takes longer to cook and dries out the meat.

When carving the turkey, remove the wings and legs first.  Remove each breast half from the bone in one piece, and thinly slice each half crosswise.  Cut each leg at the joint, and then carve the meat from the thigh and drumstick.

These simple tips can help you make the star of your holiday meal—the turkey—taste fantastic, and will have your friends and family talking about it for the rest of the year!