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10 Turkey Tips

A turkey is the most essential part of the holidays, be it Thanksgiving or Christmas. At the same time, it can also be the most intimidating part. From planning portions to creating a delicious gravy, following are 10 tips for making your holiday turkey experience a good one.

1) Portions

When deciding on the size of your bird, plan on one pound of turkey per person. Once it's roasted and the bones are out, this will provide about three-quarters of a pound of meat per guest.

2) Buying Frozen?

If purchasing a frozen bird, be sure to give yourself ample time to thaw the turkey, be it in the refrigerator or in cold water.

Plan on one day of thawing in a refrigerator for every four pounds (e.g., four days for a 15-pound bird).

If you're thawing the turkey in cold water, it will take about 30 minutes per pound (e.g., eight hours for a 15-pound bird).

Note: For food safety, change the water every 30 minutes.

3) Stuffing

For food safety, bake the stuffinf in a separate caserole dish.

4) Flavorful

Want to make the turkey even more flavorful? Add Carrots, Celery, Leeks, Thyme, Rosemary and Garlic to the cavity of the bird. Not only will it flavor the bird, but also the gravy.

5) Basting

With the exception of more fatty birds (like duck and goose), poultry should be basted while roasting to help retain moisture. To baste, spoon or brush the fat that collects in the bottom of the roasting pan over the bird every 15 to 20 minutes.

6) Flip the Bird

To also help in retaining moisture, roast the turkey the first 20 with the breast-side down. If you want the breast to be browned, put it under the broiler for five or so minutes.

7) Done Yet?

To determine if the turkey is done, use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickets part of the breast and the innermost part of the thigh (avoid contact with the bone). The temperature should be 165 degrees. At that point, remove the turkey from the oven, cover it with foil and allow it to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

8) Cutting

Always begin with taking off the legs and wings. Then make a long cut in the center of the breast, right along the breastbone. Cut down along the bottom of the breasts to remove that half completely. Lay the breast half on a cutting board and cut it into serving-size pieces. Repeat with the other side. Arrange the slices in the center of the serving plate and place the wings and legs on the corners.

9) Gravy

With the turkey is resting, pout a cup or two of broth into the roasting pan and scrape all the bits from the bottom. Then follow the instructions in our Turkey Gravy.

10) Save the Bones

Think twice before tossing the turkey bones. You can use them to make a nice turkey stock, which can be strained, cooled and frozen for use in soup later.

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     food·ie (fd)
     noun. Slang.  A person who has an ardent or refined interest in food; a gourmet.