Winners are Samantha Cruz and Kathy Sykes*
My husband and I have been cooking turkeys for years and after today’s conversation I’m convinced that I need to rethink my battle plan for cooking this year’s bird. I had an opportunity to interview Mary C. a Butterball Hotline Specialist and boy oh boy did she know her stuff.
I thought it was so important for me to gather these tips for those of you cooking a turkey for the first time and have no idea where to start. Many of us are away from home for the holidays and can use alittle help as well.
In addition to the tips provided below by Butterball here are Army Wife 101’s tips for a good turkey:
1. Rub butter all over the turkey and place alittle up under the skin.
2. Let marinate with lots of poultry seasoning and garlic
3. I prefer the bag method of cooking.
Below are just a few of the ideas and tips I left the conversation with from the Butterball expert:
Buying and Thawing The Turkey
* To determine the size of the turkey you will need to think about the amount of people you will have over to eat. Butterball has made it easy for you by having a calculator that tells you how big of a turkey you need.
* Many refrigerators are colder then people think so it is best to purchase your turkey about a week before and let it thaw out in your fridge because it can actually take a few days to fully thaw. Also many people think that just because a turkey is fully thawed that you need to cook it right away. The truth is you have up to four days to cook it, so it is not as if you will need to cook it right away. Always allow a good amount of time for proper thawing.
Cooking The Turkey
* I was surprised to find out that “basting” a turkey does not do anything to moisten the turkey. Basting would be the same as pouring water on a raincoat , it runs right off. Every time you open the oven door every hour or so you are loosing heat , essentially causing the turkey to take longer to cook. While basting makes for great drippings it’s definitely not the end all be all of a great turkey!
* For a perfect sheen spray alittle vegetable oil on the turkey or rub some olive oil on it.
* Butterball’s tried and true method of cooking a great turkey is to use a pan with sides between two to three inches high. While a rack inside the pan is very important it doesn’t necessarily need to be a metal rack. You can use a bed of carrots or ball up aluminum foil to create a base to lay the turkey on . The purpose of doing this is to raise the turkey from the bottom of the pan and allow better heat to flow all around the turkey.
How To Tell When a Turkey is Done Cooking &Preventing a Dry Turkey
* While all Butterball turkeys come with a timer, the definitive way to tell if it is done cooking is to use a meat thermometer.
* Many people cook turkey in a cooking bag and leave them in the oven thinking it won’t dry out. The truth is once a turkey has reached it’s done temperature , cooking it further only dries it out .
* The suggested temperature for a turkey is as follows:
Thigh meat- 175°-180°
*Because the darker meat takes longer to cook then the white meat, about half way through the cooking process, place a piece of foil over the breast area to avoid drying it out. Shielding the breast makes for a tender and juicy turkey.
*Poke the thermometer in the turkey in several different spots to ensure proper temperature is reached all over.
*The ideal temperature to roast a turkey is 325° while the bag method recommended temperature is 350°.
Both the roast method and steaming (bag) method are perfectly safe ways to cook a turkey.
Safe Storage Methods for Turkey
* Never put a whole cooked turkey back in the fridge because it takes to long to cool down and reach proper safe cool temperatures. You should always carve and cut the turkey into pieces and then place back in the refrigerator.
*Butterball goes by a rule that a turkey should be cut up and leftovers stored within two hours of removing it from the oven for safe consumption.
*Avoid leaving cooked meat sitting on the counter for hours.
The Butterball Hotline launched today for the holiday season and they are there to answer your questions and guides you through the turkey making task.
Call 1-800-BUTTERBALL to talk to one of they 50+ Turkey Talk-Line experts.
In the spirit of the holidays Butterball is graciously allowing me to give (2) readers a chance to win a FREE Butterball Turkey for Thanksgiving.
How To Enter
Simply leave a comment telling me a favorite Thanksgiving tip of yours.
Giveaway ends 11/14/2011 and winner will be chosen via Random.org
Winner must respond within 48 hours of me receiving notification email or another winner will be chosen in their place.
Please leave a valid email address so that I may contact you if you are the winner.
Disclosure: Butterball provided me with a free turkey certificate and two certificates to facilitate a giveaway. All thoughts and opinions are my own and do not reflect or represent Butterball in anyway.
You can read more about about my disclosure policy here.
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