-Coco Morante, Recipe Editor for Garlic Gold®
7 Incredible Turkey Tips from Garlic Gold®
- Make roasted turkey stock in advance. This’ll add incredible flavor to your gravy, stuffing, and any other dishes requiring a little extra moisture! Simply roast a few pounds of turkey necks, backs, and/or wings, sprinkled liberally with Garlic Gold® Nuggets in Oil, then put them in a large stock pot and cover with water. Two hours later, strain the stock, chill, and skim the fat off the top. The stock can be stored in the fridge for up to three days, or frozen for up to six months.
- If you’re buying a frozen turkey, allow ample time to defrost it. A fridge defrosting is best, allowing the bird to retain as much of its moisture as possible as it slowly comes up to temperature. A small-to-medium bird will take three to four days to defrost, so clear out some fridge space over the weekend and buy it on Sunday or Monday of Thanksgiving week.
- For hands-off cooking, use a probe thermometer with a remote display. This will allow you to monitor the turkey as it cooks without even opening the oven door! Simply insert the thermometer probe into the thickest part of the turkey thigh, making sure it’s not touching the bone. Set the thermometer to sound an alarm at 150ºF, and you’ll be able to leave it in the oven unattended for a considerable amount of the cooking time. When the alarm goes off, baste the turkey and place it back in the oven until the temperature registers 165ºF in the thickest part of the thigh.
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- Cover larger turkeys. While a small to medium turkey will roast evenly in an uncovered pan, larger birds (14 pounds and up) tend to dry out and over-brown before they’re fully cooked. To prevent this problem, use a covered roasting pan or tent the bird with aluminum foil for the first two hours of cooking.
- Allow the bird to cool before carving. Don’t be tempted to tuck into the turkey straight out of the oven! It needs 30 to 45 minutes to cool before carving, so the juices can reabsorb back into the meat. Don’t wait longer than an hour, since the cooked turkey should only sit at room temperature for up to two hours before going into the fridge.
- Make gravy while the bird cools. Use this time to make the gravy, starting by skimming the fat off of the juices in the bottom of the roasting pan, Transfer the drippings into a medium (2-quart) saucepan, then whisk in a couple tablespoons of flour and a quart of turkey broth. Bring up to a boil and simmer until thickened, whisking in more flour for a thicker gravy, if desired.
- Splurge on the serving platter, not the roasting pan. There’s no need to buy a triple-clad or enameled cast-iron roasting pan. In fact, a super-heavy pan will just make it more difficult to transfer your turkey in and out of the oven! While you need something more substantial than those aluminum disposable pans at the grocery store, there’s no need to go high-end. Our favorite pick is the rack and roasting pan combo from Granite Ware, which will set you back about $20.
Those are our best turkey tips — if you’ve got some more great ones to share, let us know in the comments below!