- Take your time! This is a labor of love. Begin defrosting your bird at least two days before Thanksgiving. Season your bird the day before. That way you have plenty of time for the flavor to sink in.
- Pat the turkey completely dry. Then rub with high quality olive oil (you could also do butter). This will help the turkey be moist on the inside but still have crispy skin.
- Okay, I am going to be controversial on this one…cook the stuffing on the side. I know that this goes against what many people did growing up. Here’s why I stand by this: stuffing is extremely porous and soaks up the raw juices from the turkey. This creates a breeding ground for bacteria. If you decide to cook the stuffing inside the bird, be sure that you cook it until the stuffing reaches a minimum of 165°F in order to be safe, as recommended by the CDC. Unfortunately, getting the stuffing to this temperature usually means overcooking the turkey.
- Keep the oven door closed as much as possible! Opening the oven door lets heat out and prevents a crispy skin from forming. Don’t baste too frequently and invest in a thermometer that has an external monitor so that you don’t have to keep checking.
- Give it time to rest after removing it from the oven. Experts recommend up to 2 hours, but I can’t wait that long. Even waiting 30 minutes will ensure a much more moist bird!
Do you have any other tricks to getting the perfect Thanksgiving turkey?
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