Everyone has their favorite way of preparing turkey for holiday feasts. Sometimes it even becomes a family tradition to use a certain method and recipe. But no matter how you like your turkey, Todd and Sheri Duerden share three tips to make ANY turkey better in any oven!
First, Sherri says to use a roasting rack. You want the bird to sit above the juices and the air in the oven to flow easily around it. You are roasting the meat, not just boiling it in its juices. You don’t want the skin on the bottom loose and moist. What we are looking for is skin that is crispy and evenly done and meat that is juicy and tender. If you don’t have a roasting pan, you can improvise by setting the turkey on upside down ramekins or balls of foil within your pan. Anything to lift it up and out of the liquid.
Second, use convection if your oven has it. Drop whatever your normal recipe temperature is by 25 degrees, but at least 325. The fan will distribute the heat more evenly so that you are cooking from the outside in rather than the bottom up. It will also recirculate the moisture in the oven so your turkey is more moist. If your oven does not have convection, make sure you get it pre-heated well, then put an empty cookie sheet on the bottom rack and turkey on the rack just above it. Todd says this will even the flow of heat.
And third, it is critical to cook the turkey to the perfect temperature, and no higher. Turkey is done and safe to eat at 165 degrees. Todd says you can actually take it out of the oven at 160 degrees and it will finish cooking up to 165 degrees. Most turkeys come with a little red pop-up thermometer in them. These pop when the turkey is at 180 degrees. But they say not to wait for that.
Many ovens come with temperature probes that you can plug in and set a target temperature. If you have this, set your target temperature, not a time. If not, go get an instant read thermometer and use that.
And finally, when your turkey has reached its final temperature, take it out of the oven and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before serving.
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