Thanksgiving day is often celebrated as a day for family togetherness and LOTs of good food. Take the pressure off yourself this year by following a few simple steps to learn how to cook a turkey and make sure your centerpiece turkey is perfectly cooked.
Temperature Tip: How to Cook a Turkey
Step 1: Thaw the turkey in its unopened wrapper on a rimmed tray on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Allow 1 day of thawing for every 5 lbs. of turkey.
Step 2: Take the turkey out of the wrapper, rinse, and pat dry.
Step 3: Rub the turkey skin liberally with butter.
Step 4: Season the turkey with salt, pepper, parsley, sage, rosemary, and tyme.
Step 5: Fill cavity with carrots, celery, and onions. Scatter leftover vegetables on the bottom of a roasting pan.
Step 6: Place the turkey in an elevated v-rack in the roasting pan.
Step 7: Place a leave-in probe in the thickest part of the turkey breast avoiding bone.
Step 8: Roast the turkey at 425ºF for about 1 hour.
Step 9: Rotate the turkey 180 degrees, lower the oven to 325ºF and roast for an additional 2 hours, or so.
Step 10: When the leave-in thermometer reads 157ºF in the thickest part of the breast. Verify that temperature with an instant-read thermometer.
Step 11: Probe the turkey with the instant-read thermometer, in several other places, to verify the temperature in other parts of the turkey. (Thigh meat should be about 175 – 185ºF).
Step 12: Rest the turkey uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the breast reaches 165ºF.
When you start focusing on hitting key temperatures, cooking your Thanksgiving turkey becomes less of a hit-miss kind of experience and more of an enjoyable adventure. The steps are simple and the results are so flavorful, you’ll find yourself wanting to cook a turkey in May. Want to practice? Follow these same basic steps with a whole chicken!
More In-Depth Instructions on Cooking a Turkey