With the most anticipated meal of the year just weeks away, the countdown to turkey time is on. The Thanksgiving preparation spotlight can make even the most experienced home cooks feel the pressure to perfect their holiday turkey. Local poultry producer Foster Farms is offering tips to help home cooks brine, roast, grill, stuff and carve the perfect bird.
Foster Farms’ Turkey Tips webpage – which includes a turkey roasting/grilling timetable, a step-by-step carving tutorial with slideshow and a delicious stuffing recipe from Foster Farms co-founder Verda Foster – will help cooks of all levels prepare a flawless Thanksgiving turkey. A sampling of tips pulled from the webpage include:
Brilliantly Brined: Proper brining makes the meat very juicy – not salty. Flavor brining is used to enhance the texture and taste of the turkey to its most delicious potential. Use a heavy-duty container that can hold approximately eight quarts of liquid, such as food-grade plastic, stainless steel or glass, when brining the turkey. Do not use aluminum containers, as they are corrosive. Always refrigerate the brine solution, preferably overnight. If it is not cold, the meat will absorb too much salt. For a delicious twist try Foster Farms’ Honey Garlic Brine recipe.
Roasted Perfection and Grilling Guidelines: Always use a meat thermometer. While boneless or ground turkey is fully cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165F, bone-in turkey is fully cooked when the meat thermometer reads 180F. For specific roasting and grilling times based on turkey weight and whether it’s stuffed/unstuffed, check out the Roasting Turkey and Grilling Turkey webpages. And remember, at altitudes above 5,000 feet add approximately five to 10 minutes of cooking time per pound.
Sumptuous Stuffing: Don’t stuff the bird too tightly, as this will make the stuffing heavy and harder to fully cook. If you want more of the delicious side dish, bake stuffing covered in an oven-proof dish to an internal temperature of 165F. Verda Foster’s tried and true stuffing recipe has been a crowd pleaser for generations
Carve It Like a Boss: Stop. After cooking, give that bird at least 20 minutes before carving. To steady the bird, leave the wings on until you’ve carved both sides of the breast. To remove the wing, slice into the joint, which attaches it to the body, carving as much meat from the body as possible.
Kitchen Safety: Remember your ABC’s - Always Be Careful - when preparing, cooking and storing turkey. This means thorough hand washing, using separate cutting boards for raw meat, cooking to the proper internal temperature, refrigerating leftovers within two hours of cooking, and following package guidelines during preparation.
For complete details, holiday recipe inspiration and more advice, visit www.fosterfarms.com/turkey-tips/.