The holidays are just around the corner so it’s time to start thinking about family food get-togethers. According to the National Turkey Federation, Americans eat 46 million turkeys at Thanksgiving. This equates to about 736 million total pounds of turkey making turkey the most popular meat item for the Thanksgiving holiday. Proper organization ahead of time will make holiday cooking a breeze. Using the correct roasting pan will ensure a bird that is cooked to perfection. Choose an oval roaster set with a rack so the turkey won’t rest directly on the bottom of the pan. This will provide the best heat distribution.
Roast the turkey without the lid for the first hour so the skin will get brown. Then, place the lid on the roaster or cover the turkey with foil to keep it from drying out or getting too crisp. Roast the turkey with the breast facing up in a 325° F. oven. The length of time needed to cook the turkey depends on the size of the bird as well as whether the turkey is stuffed. For example, a stuffed turkey that weighs 9 to 18 pounds will need to roast for 3 ¾ to 4 ½ hours. Use a fast read food digital thermometer to determine when the turkey is done. The temperature should be 165° F. in the breast or stuffing and 180° F. in the thigh.
Before carving the turkey, allow it to rest for about 30 minutes after taking it out of the oven. In the meantime, use the pan drippings to make delicious gravy. Remove the rack from the pan. Add some turkey or chicken stock to loosen the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Heat the gravy on the stove, adding flour and butter mixture to thicken it before serving.