Thanksgiving is the quintessential American holiday, a time when people gather around a table with friends and family to celebrate the things they are thankful for. And the centerpiece of that meal? The turkey. Nothing says the holidays have arrived more than this particular bird. To ensure that your Thanksgiving centerpiece commands the attention it deserves, follow these 5 simple tips:
Size. Large gathering or small, you’ll need to determine what size of bird best fits your Thanksgiving needs. When choosing a larger bird, figure 1 ½ pounds per person.
Fresh? Frozen? A fresh turkey doesn’t require as much planning, as no thawing will be needed. Most people opt for the frozen route, as you can buy well in advance. Allow 1 day of thawing for every 4 pounds of turkey. Thawing is best done in the refrigerator, on a rimmed baking sheet.
Roasting Know-How. Be sure to roast your turkey in a sturdy pan just large enough to fit your bird. Heavy stainless steel pans will make this job much less precarious than aluminum. Buying a pan with a rack will save you headaches on Thanksgiving Day, as well! After the first hour, baste the turkey with pan drippings often. Roast until a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh (avoid the bone for accuracy!) reads 165 degrees.
Rest! The turkey, not you. Letting a turkey rest for at least 30 minutes gives the juices time to reabsorb.
The Aftermath. Leftovers might actually be your favorite part (sandwiches, anyone?). Be sure to cover and refrigerate them as soon as possible. Turkey meat will keep in the fridge for up to four days, or frozen for up to three months.
Whatever your Thanksgiving plans may be, having a perfectly roasted turkey will always impress! Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, everyone!