10 Turkey Cooking Tips to Roast the Perfect Bird Every Time

, Food Network, http://www.foodnetwork.ca/than...key-with-crispy-skin

Plan Ahead and Season WellRoasting a turkey is often the most stressful part of cooking a holiday meal. There’s the questions of cooking time and temperature, the quest for crispy skin and the question of to stuff or not to stuff. We’re here to help you eliminate the head-scratching with these 10 tips that will make cooking a turkey as stress-free as eating it.

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Plan Ahead and Season Well

Plan Ahead and Season WellIf you bought a frozen bird, make sure it's completely defrosted before roasting it. To do so, defrost in the fridge for a few days before you plan on cooking. Once defrosted, or if you bought a fresh bird, take the turkey out of the refrigerator 45 minutes to 1 hour before roasting. This technique will allow the turkey to come to (almost) room temperature, helping it cook more evenly and quickly. When you’re ready to roast, rub salt, pepper and olive oil or melted butter all over the bird to encourage a crispy, golden skin.

Learn how to defrost meat safely.

Add Liquid

Add LiquidPour some chicken stock (or turkey stock if you have it) in the bottom of the roasting pan. Throw in the turkey giblets, organs and neck (all taken out of the plastic bag they usually come in) along with the aromatic vegetables (see: previous step). This quick step will help you create a tasty gravy for serving your turkey with.

Start High, Keep It Low

Start High, Keep It LowPreheat oven to 450ºF. Once the turkey goes into the oven, reduce the heat to 325ºF. The bird will brown evenly all around at this temperature. If the breast is getting too brown, tent with foil for the last 30 to 45 minutes of roasting.

Get the ultimate guide to turkey cooking times here.

Basic Basting

Basic BastingEvery 45 minutes, transfer the liquid at the bottom of the roasting pan over the breast of the bird using a turkey baster or large metal serving spoon. This will keep your turkey moist during roasting. When basting, remove the whole roasting pan from the oven and shut the oven door immediately to help maintain the heat of the oven.

Stress The Rest

Stress The RestOne of the most important parts of successfully roasting a turkey is giving it ample time to rest outside of the oven. Whole, your turkey will stay hot for a few hours after cooking, so don’t be apprehensive – it won’t be cold at the table! Resting allows the juices to settle and will make for incredibly moist meat. Rest the turkey for a minimum of 30 minutes, preferably 1 to 2 hours.

Carve with Care

Carve with CareCarving a turkey is just like carving a roast chicken, only much bigger. You want to begin by deconstructing the turkey. Don’t slice the meat on the bird, cut off the large pieces (breasts, thighs, drumsticks, etc.) and slice the meat portion of the larger pieces on a cutting board. Pre-slicing makes it easy for guests to help themselves and avoids mess at the table.

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