Everything You Need to Know About Thanksgiving Turkey

Save this link: It's everything you need to know about the big bird from Food Network Magazine.

Photo by: RYAN DAUSCH

RYAN DAUSCH

What to Buy:

  • Plan on 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per person (you’ll still have leftovers!).
  • If you’re brining, don’t get a self-basting or kosher turkey—these birds are presalted.
  • Consider roasting two smaller birds for a big crowd; they’ll cook faster and more evenly.

How to Brine:

  • For a 12-pound bird, dissolve 1/2 cup sugar and 2/3 cup kosher salt in 1 gallon warm water; cool. Place the turkey in a large stockpot and pour the brine over it (add cold water to fully submerge, if necessary). Refrigerate 8 to 24 hours.
  • A dry brine has a similar effect but it takes up less space in your fridge: Rub a 12-pound turkey with a mix of 1/4 cup kosher salt, 1 tablespoon sugar and some chopped herbs. Refrigerate uncovered overnight.
  • After brining, rinse the bird inside and out with cold water, then pat dry before roasting.

How to Thaw:

  • Start thawing a frozen turkey early: Set the wrapped bird on a rimmed baking sheet and thaw in the fridge—you’ll need 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds.
  • To thaw the same day, submerge the wrapped bird in cold water and change the water every 30 minutes; this will take 2 to 3 hours for every 5 pounds.

How to Roast:

  • Pat the bird dry and let stand 30 minutes at room temperature before roasting.
  • Plan on about 15 minutes roasting time per pound in a 350 degrees F oven. The thigh meat should register 160 degrees F to 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer. (If you’re stuffing your turkey, the stuffing should reach 165 degrees F.)
  • Let rest at least 30 minutes before carving.

How to Carve:

Turkey_FN_111673.jpg

Turkey_FN_111673.jpg

Step 1: Slice through the skin between the leg and body on one side; pull the leg away from the body, then cut through the joint to remove the leg.

Turkey_FN_111689.jpg

Turkey_FN_111689.jpg

Step 2: Separate the drumstick from the thigh: Locate the joint in the middle of the leg and cut through it.

Turkey_FN_111701.jpg

Turkey_FN_111701.jpg

Step 3: Working on the same side, pull the wing away from the body and cut through the joint to remove. Remove the leg and wing on the other side.

Turkey_FN_111723.jpg

Turkey_FN_111723.jpg

Step 4: Remove the breast meat by slicing downward along the breastbone, following the curve of the ribs on each side.

Turkey_FN_111743.jpg

Turkey_FN_111743.jpg

Step 5: Place each breast on the board skin-side up and slice.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Everything You Need to Know About Pantry Pests

Moths in your flour? Beetles in your wheat berries? Don't panic. Here's the lowdown on kitchen critters – and how to make them buzz off.

5 Turkey-Themed Platters for Your Thanksgiving Feast

These festive, shareable platters are just the thing to tide over a hungry crowd before the turkey hits the table.

Thanksgiving Countdown Planner

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner and not sure where to start? Relax — getting ready for the holiday is easy with our tips and recipes.

Worry-Free Wine Presentation at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving can bring out the worry. Happily, there's one area that doesn't require excessive concern, and that's wine presentation. Here are my stress-relieving tips:

10 Thanksgiving Wine Tips And Pairings

Be the wine hero of Thanksgiving by bringing the perfect bottle — use our tips and wine pairing ideas.

Meat and Poultry Temperature Guide

Use our internal-temperature chart to serve perfectly cooked meat every time.

How to Pick a Wine for Turkey

One might assume different shadings of bird would pose a pairing problem, especially once you factor in the cranberry-yammy-beany caravan that trundles across the table. Not so: There are several wines that bridge the Turkey Day food gap.