Cooking the perfect turkey is quite a challenge and on Thanksgiving, you probably have only one shot at getting it right! Thus, to save you some time and energy, you have to make sure to get it right the first time. These five tips, courtesy of Food & Wine, will help you have a perfect Thanksgiving dinner, thanks to a perfectly-cooked bird.
1. A thermometer plays an important role in the turkey cooking process, so make sure to check it a few days before Thanksgiving. Place it in a pot of boiling water and if it registers 212° it works and you are all set. If not, buy a new one!
2. To make sure that the turkey cooks evenly and to promote maximum air and heat circulation, put the bird on a rack in a large roasting pan.
3. You don't want to overcook the turkey! The top is the hottest part of the oven, thus, place the roasting pan on the lowest rack. Once the skin color of the turkey turns brown, loosely cover it with tin foil to make sure it doesn't become too dark.
4. The last half hour of the roasting process is crucial for your turkey success. Keep an eye on the thermometer during that time since the temperature might rise quickly and the turkey might overcook.
5. To see if the turkey is done you have to check the thickest, meatiest parts of the turkey using your thermometer. The widest section of the breast near the wing joint should have a temperature of 165°. The legs at the top of the thigh near the hip joint should have a temperature of 180°. Make sure to insert the instant-read thermometer about two inches from the tip to reach its heat sensor. If the juices have a pinkish tinge, continue roasting, but if they are clear, the turkey is done.