It’s that time of the year again! Holiday season!
Those fortunate enough to spend time with their loved ones will likely be gathered around the dinner table. Or maybe the family is so big that they’d be spread across a couple of dining areas throughout the house!
Either way, we’ll be within arm’s reach of our nearest and dearest.
But since food is a big part of the holiday season, there are many misconceptions about cooking when it comes to the big meal. Particularly, for Thanksgiving, a lot of advice gets tossed around regarding what makes the best turkey.
Look no further! We’re going to dismantle ten of the most common myths about turkey preparation. After all, it is the centerpiece of the holiday. You might want to try not to ruin it!
1) Basting keeps the meat moist…
There are a lot of people who are actually split on this but the truth hurts sometimes. The idea behind basting is that it slows the cooking process so it supposedly retains the juices and keeps the meat moist. The experts over at Cooks Illustrated, ran some tests and found that though it does slow the cooking process, there wasn’t any noticeable difference between the basted turkey and the non-basted one.
However, the basted turkey was more evenly browned!
2) Pop-up thermometers are the way to go…
Toss ’em because oftentimes, they are overcooked!
Ideally, you want to cook your turkey at 165°F minimum but those thermometers often cook turkeys to 180-185°F.
It’s recommended that you invest in a digital instant-read thermometer. Test the innermost part of the thigh and thickest part of the breast for a proper read on the temperature.
3) Don’t cook that turkey frozen!
Though it isn’t recommended that you cook a partially frozen turkey, cooking one that is still completely frozen is fine! If you do so, the USDA recommends that it’s cooked 50 percent longer than a thawed bird.
Also, remove the giblets when they become reachable!
4) Leftovers can wait…
Put food that is sitting out away as soon as possible! Bacteria grows quickly.
It’s recommended that food be put away within two hours of eating. Then, you have three days to either eat it or freeze it.
5) You don’t really have to thaw the turkey out entirely…
If you want to make sure the turkey is fully cooked (and you should), then thaw it out completely! Not doing so can lead to the outside browning leaving the inside undercooked.
To thaw the turkey properly, place it inside the fridge in a tray for 24hrs (for every four pounds of turkey), breast-side up.
Set the oven to no less than 325 degrees to reduce the growth of bacteria.
6) It’s all in the thighs…
Check the thickest parts of the wings and breasts for doneness.
Once it registers at 165 in all of those areas, you’re in the clear. But Butterball recommends that the thighs reach 185 degrees and the breasts 170.
7) Brining is a must!
Brining does add moisture but does little in the way of adding flavor. When you do brine, all you need is salt and water. Or just use salt to dry-brine.
8) Wake up and put the turkey in the oven, STAT!
Depending on its size, you likely only have to cook the turkey for three to five hours.
9) Leave the skin alone!
Yes, the skin on a turkey is fatty but it isn’t the bad kind. Nutrition experts at the Harvard School of Public Health found that there is more monounsaturated fat than saturated fat on the skin.
10) Stuffed turkeys don’t cook through…
It’s recommended to avoid undercooking the turkey, heat the stuffing up to at least 130 degrees placing it into the turkey. Stuffing should be around 165 degrees when done (inside or outside the bird).
Enjoy your holidays and your turkey!
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