My dad, Jack, loves turkey more than anyone I have ever met. He has also mastered the art of perfectly cooking the Thanksgiving turkey. Before I hop on a flight to Maine so I can enjoy his (and my Mom’s!) cooking, I called my dad to find out his Thanksgiving turkey secrets.
1. Make sure your turkey is completely defrosted. Sometimes even fresh turkeys are frozen in the middle.
2. Remember to remove the giblets. You can add the giblets and neck to your stock if you like. My dad puts everything in the bag of giblets except the liver into a medium pot and starts his stock when he cooks the turkey. Then the next day he adds that into the big pot with the turkeys bones and stock vegetables.
3. Rise the turkey and the cavity. Pat it dry. Put salt and pepper on the cavity and then rub the outside of the turkey with olive oil.
4. In order to prevent the drumsticks from drying out put foil over the ends of the drumsticks. Tie the wings back with butchers twine.
5. Tent the turkey with foil. Remove the foil for the last hour of roasting to brown the turkey.
6. Baste the turkey with its own juices.
7. Once the turkey is fully cooked, let it sit for at least 20-30 minutes. You do this so the turkey doesn’t loose it’s juices when you cut into it. Cover the turkey in a couple layers of foil to keep it warm.
8. My dad cooks the turkey at 350 degrees and when he buys the bird he purchases one pound per person.
9. If you really love turkey, go to the grocery store the day after Thanksgiving – they will be on sale!