We spend all year dreaming about that juicy, flavor-packed turkey at our Thanksgiving feast, and the day is nearly here! Whether this is your first time taking on kitchen responsibilities, or you've been mastering Thanksgiving for years, we're sharing helpful tips and refreshers to get you in the holiday spirit. From finding the right turkey for your family to roasting it to perfection, we've got you covered.
Pick your turkey
When selecting your Thanksgiving turkey, you'll have to choose either fresh or frozen. In addition to their more affordable price per pound, we recommend frozen turkeys for a couple of reasons. They are snap-frozen upon butchering, so they retain their freshness and can be purchased early in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving day. In fact, a frozen turkey will keep for up to 2 years!
Select the right amount
Once you've decided on your type of turkey, you'll need to determine what size bird you'll need. For safe measure, plan on purchasing at least 1-1½ pounds per guest. To have enough for leftovers, lean towards 1½ pounds per person when selecting your turkey. The average-sized Thanksgiving turkey is approximately 15 pounds.
Brine your bird
Brining ensures a moist and flavorful turkey. Allowing the meat to absorb a brining mixture enables it to stay juicy and seasoned throughout the roasting process. Most solutions contain water, salt, sugar, and a handful of spices.
Roast to perfection
Keep a watchful eye on the oven and use a meat thermometer for cooking your bird to perfection. The last thing you want is a dry, overcooked turkey! Estimate your cooking time by allowing 15 minutes per pound of turkey at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Only cover with foil if the skin begins browning too fast.
Let it rest
After hours of tending to your turkey, you probably can't wait to cut into it and check for doneness. However, you'll want to refrain from carving your turkey until it's had time to rest, about 15 minutes. This allows the bird to perk back up and get the juices flowing before serving.