14 Step Recipe on how to roast a tender, mouth-watering Thanksgiving turkey.
Turkey at Thanksgiving is normally the number one favorite item on the menu for most people on Thanksgiving Day. Of course, all the other mouth-watering Thanksgiving foods like ham, sweet potatoes, home-made yeast rolls are very much our favorites also.
There is nothing that says Thanksgiving like the smell of roast turkey wafting through your kitchen ... and the rest of the house. Of course, a roasted turkey can also be the centerpiece of any special family occasion or holiday.
Despite its central role in family feasts, however, roasting a turkey for Thanksgiving can be a daunting task for many home cooks. Maybe they are afraid of the dreaded dry bird. Maybe they think a whole turkey is just too big to mess with. But roasting a turkey does not have to be a huge challenge. In fact, it is really quite simple.
The first step in ensuring that your Thanksgiving (or any day) bird is tender and succulent is to pick the right turkey. Here are some things you will want to keep in mind in choosing your turkey:
Fresh vs. Frozen
The biggest difference between a fresh and frozen bird is that a fresh turkey -- which most grocery stores carry in abundance around Thanksgiving time -- is ready to be prepped. Frozen birds, on the other hand, need to be thawed, which, depending on the size of the turkey, can take several days. That said, frozen turkeys tend to cost less -- often times significantly less -- than their fresh counterparts.
As a general rule of thumb, plan on 1 to 1.5 pounds of uncooked turkey per guest at your Thanksgiving table. Error on the side of largeness if you want to enjoy left-overs the following day.
There are two types of turkeys: Hens, which are smaller, and toms, which are larger. Hen turkeys can run from less than 10 pounds to up to 17 or 18 pounds. Toms usually start around 18 pounds and can be as large as 25+ pounds. According to the University of Illinois' Turkey Facts website, the average turkey for Thanksgiving purchased in America is 15 pounds.
White vs. Dark Meat
A typical turkey is about 70 percent white meat and 30 percent dark meat. If your family exclusively prefers white meat, or if you are feeding a smaller crowd, you might want to consider choosing a turkey breast rather than a whole turkey. A turkey breast can be purchased boneless and skinless or bone-in and with the skin on. The latter is the preferred option if you want to be able to "stuff" your bird. The stuffing is fitted between the skin of the breast and the meat itself. Keep in mind, however, that with a breast, the stuffing will not be as infused with turkey flavor as it will when you cook a whole bird.
Once you have selected and defrosted (if necessary) your turkey, it is time to prep your bird. While some chefs swear by deep-frying their turkeys, the classic method of turkey preparation is roasting.
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