Tips for Roasting the Perfect Holiday Turkey

Many people claim they do not like preparing roasted turkey because it always comes out dry. I’m certainly not claiming to be any great chef, but I have never had that problem. I’ve always followed a few tips from my mom, and every time have had a successful turkey “experience.” Allow me to share those tips with you!

First, follow the guidelines on your turkey’s packaging. Always be sure that your bird is completely thawed and ready to be put in the oven on Thanksgiving morning. Follow the thawing directions on package if using a frozen turkey. Remember to rinse the bird well under cold water, and remove both bags of packaged giblets and neck from inside the body cavity of the turkey.

When you are ready to place the bird in the roaster pan, if using a foil, disposable variety, always place roaster pan on top of a wide, sturdy baking sheet for extra support. Coat turkey with corn oil or vegetable oil before placing in pre-heated oven. Again, refer to package guidelines for cooking temperature and approximate cooking time for the appropriate size turkey.

After you’ve placed the oiled turkey in the oven, there’s not much else to do with it for about another 30 minutes or so. Check at the half hour mark to see if the breast shows any sign of browning. If not, keep checking at approximately 15 minute intervals until it does show slight signs of browning. Then, cover the pointy parts of the wings, and the top of the breast, with aluminum foil. taking care not to burn yourself in the process. If there is at this point, enough liquid gathered in the bottom of the pan, use a turkey baster to suction pan drippings onto turkey. If there is not enough to baste the turkey with, check back in about another 20 minutes.

Now that the cooking is underway, check the bird about every 30 minutes or so and baste often, using only the drippings that have accumulated in the roaster pan, not adding any additional oil. When you reach your last hour or so of cooking time, uncover the foil wrapped portions of the bird, to ensure thorough cooking. Leave previously covered portions uncovered for 15 minutes, then re-check often to ensure they do not overcook.

By covering the vulnerable parts that tend to burn during much of the cooking time, and by basting at regular intervals, you should end up with a thoroughly cooked, juicy, tender turkey.

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