Tips for Thanksgiving Dinner
Studio Brow loves to see people happy and this year, we want to make sure everyone has a happy and healthy holiday. Here are a few tips to help make yours just that –
- Go over your recipes the night before.
Have your plan of action in mind. If there is time and you are not feeling very tired, chop onions, celery and carrots and hold them in the refrigerator in zip bags. Get out the turkey’s roasting pan and any baking dishes you have not used since last year. Be sure to check them because they might need a good washing.
- Start with a fully defrosted turkey.
The information here does not apply if you have forgotten to defrost your turkey. If you have bought a frozen one the night before, you are in trouble. Yes, you can try sticking a blow dryer up the turkey’s cavity, but you will not only create a heated incubator for bacteria in the cavity, you will end up with a gross blow dryer you’ll never want to use ever again.
If caught short the night before, buy a fresh turkey. If you are so unlucky that fresh turkeys are sold out, buy a smaller frozen one around 10 to 12 pounds. While it is still wrapped, You can defrost it safely in a sink filled with cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes, calibrating one 30-minute soak per pound of turkey. A 10-pound turkey will take a little longer, about five to six hours to defrost.
- Tackle the clamp.
Either fresh or frozen, the turkey’s drumsticks are constrained for shipping by the meanest item in cooking, which is the clamp. No matter if metal or plastic, the turkey comes with no directions on how to free the drumsticks. You have got to open the cavity to remove the giblets.
Metal clamp: With a towel, pull the upside-down “U” toward you. With your other hand, find the strength to lift the loosest drumstick up, over and out of the clamp. Once the first drumstick is free, the second one will come over and out easily. But the clamp is still in the bird! Squeeze its sides in, and push it away from you. It will slide out.
Plastic clamp: Snip it with scissors, free the drumsticks, reach in and remove the bag of giblets.
- Always use a meat thermometer.
Turkeys are tricky. The breast meat cooks first, but it’s still attached to the bird while it waits for the dark meat to finish. White meat is ready at 170 F, dark meat at 175 to 180 F. To take a reading, insert it in the dark meat, which takes the longest to cook. Newer digital thermometers stay in the turkey for the entire roasting time and beep when the set temperature is reached.
A 10- to 14-pound turkey should be cooked at 350 F for 2 to 2½ hours. A 14- to 18-pound bird should cook at 325 F for 2½ to 3½ hours.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, here’s the old-fashioned method. Gently pull a drumstick (use a towel to hold on) away from the body. Where the skin has stretched, use a small knife to make a cut to expose the meat. Take a look. If you see red juices or pink meat, keep roasting. Check for doneness at 15-minute intervals until juices run clear. I like this method because no one will see the cut.
- After the turkey has roasted an hour, add about 2 cups of water to the bottom of the pan.
This is the start of your gravy from natural pan juices.
- If, after carving, parts are undercooked, microwave them for a minute or two.
No one will know the difference.
Hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving!