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Are you in charge of cooking the Thanksgiving turkey this year? This is a big part of the day, and the turkey is often the make or break of your holiday. With it playing such a vital role in your Thanksgiving celebrations, cooking it comes with a lot of stress and pressure.

Thankfully, despite its importance for your holiday, cooking the perfect Thanksgiving turkey can be easy with the right recipe. That is why to help you this festive season, we have answered some of the most common questions about cooking the ultimate meal this year.

Why do we eat turkey on Thanksgiving?

Before we take a look at your burning questions about cooking the perfect Thanksgiving turkey, we thought we would first explore why we eat a turkey on the day. There are many theories as to why we consume the bird during the holiday, with the most common being that the bird was eaten on the first Thanksgiving between the Pilgrims and Plymouth colony.

However, historians do question this, and the first common mentions of eating turkey on Thanksgiving came in the 19th century. The primary reason behind this was that turkeys were in plentiful supply and were raised for the meat, unlike cows or hens who provided milk and eggs.

How to cook a Thanksgiving turkey

Although cooking the perfect Thanksgiving turkey can seem a little daunting, with the right recipe, your friends and family will be able to enjoy a delicious meal! One of the most common questions that people have is how to cook their turkey, and below are some top tips to help you:

1) Season it well

The first thing to remember is to season your turkey well. In a small bowl, mix together rosemary, parsley, thyme, sage, salt, and lemon-pepper before rubbing it generously throughout the cavity. You should then stuff the cavity with orange, onion, carrot, and celery.

2) Prepare your turkey

Once you have seasoned and stuffed your turkey, the next step is to prepare it for roasting. To do this, place it in your roasting pan, ensuring it has been lined with enough foil to fully wrap the bird. Then pour some champagne and broth over the turkey and into the cavity.

3) Roast your bird

Finally, wrap the foil around your Thanksgiving turkey to seal it and place it in the oven. You want to roast it until the juices run clear, then remove the foil and cook until the skin is a gorgeous golden brown.

How long do you need to thaw a turkey for?

This is one of the most common questions when it comes to a thanksgiving turkey, and it is an important one to ensure that your family is safe. The safest way to thaw your turkey is to place it in the refrigerator, with it commonly taking 24 hours for five pounds of meat.

How should you season your Thanksgiving turkey?

Seasoning is the essential part to ensuring your Thanksgiving turkey is juicy and flavorful. There are various methods you can use to season your bird, but one of the best mixes is an herbaceous blend of:

  • Dried parsley
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Lemon-pepper
  • Thyme
  • Salt

This will give your turkey a delicious flavor, while for added extra, you should create a champagne and chicken broth that you pour over your bird before roasting it. This will help to keep the meat incredibly moist and juicy while also helping to enhance the flavor even further.

What temperature should you cook your turkey at?

Another very common question when cooking your Thanksgiving turkey is what temperature your oven should be at. This is crucial to ensuring your bird is juicy and moist, and for a standard 15-pound turkey, you should be roasting it for around three and half hours in an oven that was pre-heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

How long should you cook a Thanksgiving turkey for?

For the perfectly cooked bird, the recommended cooking time is around 13-15 minutes per pound. However, this is just a recommended time, and it is vital that you check the internal temperature of the bird before serving in order to avoid the risk of food poisoning.

At what temperature will the turkey be done?

Checking the internal temperature is an important step before serving your Thanksgiving turkey. To do this, you should insert your food thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, which is by the bone. The temperature should then read at least 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

How do you carve your Thanksgiving turkey?

Once your bird is at the right temperature, it is time to take your Thanksgiving turkey to the table, ready for carving. This will require a sharp carving knife, a cutting board, and a meat fork to ensure that the bird remains in place.

When it comes to carving your turkey, there are several things to remember:

1) Let it rest

You should let your turkey rest for around twenty minutes under foil before you start curving. This will allow the meat relax and the juices evenly redistribute throughout the bird.

2) Remove the legs

Locate the joint that attaches the leg to the breast, and using your sharp knife, slice down through the joint to fully remove the leg.

3) Remove the breast meat

Next, find the breast bone that runs through the center of the bird and make a long, clean slice along one side. Angle your knife and slice along the rib cage to free the breast meat.

4) Remove the wings

Next, cut through the joints that attach the wings to the breast, repeating it again on the other side.

5) Slice the breast

When it comes to slicing the breast, it is always recommended to cut against the grain. You can cut your Thanksgiving turkey into as thick or as thin slices as you like.

6) Arrange your meat

Finally, the last step of serving a delicious thanksgiving meal is to arrange your carved meat on a warmed platter. This will allow your friends and family to select which parts of the bird that they want to eat.

How should you store your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers?

Leftovers are always one of the best parts of thanksgiving, but storing your turkey correctly is vital to ensure that you do not become sick. The best way to safely store your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers is to place them in an airtight container or zip-lock bag, ensuring that you are removing as much air as possible.

You will then need to immediately place it in your refrigerator. If stored in this way, the meat will be safe for consumption for up to four days. The turkey can be eaten cold or reheated in the oven or microwave.

Final Thoughts

While it might seem a daunting prospect to be cooking your Thanksgiving turkey, these answers will help to ensure the process is as smooth and simple as possible, ensuring you can cook up a storm for your friends and family!