Wood Words

Talkin’ Turkey: Foolproof Tips for Cooking that Bird

At Wood Personnel, we believe in doing things the right way. Our pursuit of excellence extends beyond the workplace – and into the kitchen!

Here are our favorite tips for cooking an amazing turkey this Thanksgiving.

Plan Ahead

Cooking a turkey is a marathon – not a sprint. Make sure you build in extra time for thawing and resting. Here are a few points to remember:

  1. Be patient when thawing. A frozen, 20-lb. turkey can take up to 5 days to fully defrost in the refrigerator!
  2. If you need to speed up the thawing process, place your turkey in a cold water bath and change the water every 30 minutes. This method will thaw a 20-lb. turkey in about 8 hours, but you’ll need to cook it immediately, once it’s defrosted.
  3. Allow adequate cooking time: 20 minutes per pound for a frozen turkey / 10 to 15 minutes per pound for a fresh turkey (cooking at 350 degrees).
  4. Give your bird time to rest, so it can re-absorb its juices. Cover the turkey with a foil tent once it’s finished cooking, and allow it to sit for 25 minutes.

Add Flavor

There are so many amazing ways to season a turkey.

  1. Brining. This is a great option for flavorful, moist meat. If you want to brine, add an extra 12 to 18 hours to your prep process (you can find lots of great brining recipes online, including tips for customizing the seasoning to suit your taste).
  2. Season under the skin. Loosen the breast skin and slide a layer of seasoned butter under it. This imparts great flavor that really penetrates the meat!
  3. Rub the turkey’s surface with butter or oil. Before you cook your bird, pat the skin dry and lightly coat it to create a crispy (not scorched) skin.

To Stuff – or Not to Stuff?

Whether you opt for stuffing or dressing, remember these tips:

  1. Stuff loosely – never jam it in! Stuffing needs room to expand in the bird, and it requires extra cooking time.
  2. Truss loosely, too. If you tie the legs too tightly together, you risk overcooking the breast (and undercooking the legs).

Don’t Make These Rookie Mistakes

  1. Cranking the heat too high. Crispy skin is one of the best parts of a turkey, but cooking yours at too high a temperature will lead to burnt skin and a raw middle (and nobody wants that). Cook your bird at a steady, moderate temperature (325 to 350 degrees).
  2. Eyeballing “done-ness.” Turkey should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees when removed from the oven. Don’t judge a turkey by it’s skin. Grab a reliable meat thermometer and measure the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh (without touching the bone).
  3. Ditching pan drippings. You know all those lovely brown bits in the bottom of your roasting pan? They’re full of concentrated flavor – and make the base for a perfect gravy. Pour them off into a measuring cup until you’re ready to use them.

From all of us at your Murfreesboro employment agency, have a happy (and tasty) Thanksgiving!