Posted by Jane N on November 21, 2021
My brother always says that Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday, because it’s all about food and family. I agree! Gift giving is not my love language, so Christmas kinda stresses me out. But I’m all about the food, baby!
Most people I know dread making the turkey, but I have a few secrets that will give you a moist, tasty bird and will be the easiest thing you’ll prepare for the day.
And remember that you don’t have to cook a whole turkey. Turkey breast is a tasty, smaller option that is super easy to make in your slow cooker, which also frees up oven space for all those delicious side dishes!
If you ARE roasting a whole turkey, plan on about 1½ pounds per person (more if you want leftovers). Here are some of my best turkey roasting tips:
1. Never underestimate how long a big ‘ol turkey takes to thaw.
A 12-pound turkey takes three days to thaw in the fridge. You can speed things up (and save fridge space!) by thawing it in a cooler filled with cold water. That way it takes about 6 hours to thaw a 12-pound turkey. Figure 30 minutes per pound. I keep the cooler in the garage, which this time of year is about 35°F here in Minnesota, but if you live in a warmer climate, change the water a few times to ensure it stays cold and food safe.
2. Tie your turkey and tuck the wings.
There’s nothing less appealing than a turkey that comes out of the oven spread eagle with burnt wing tips! For a lovely (and modest) turkey, tie the legs together with string or dental floss, and tuck the wing tips under the bird.
3. If you don’t have a roasting rack, make one with veggies!
Toss some carrot, celery, and onion pieces in the bottom of your pan. This will both hold the turkey up for better baking and also add flavor.
5. Bake at 325°F, 15 minutes per pound.
For a 12-pound turkey, that’s about 3 hours. Take the guesswork out and use a meat thermometer to know for sure when it’s done – you are shooting for 165-175°F. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone.
Let it rest 20 minutes before carving to let the juices redistribute.
So this Thanksgiving … volunteer to make the turkey! It’s super simple and your masterpiece will be a glorious treat for your family and friends.
PS: I have to share our FANTASTIC Wild Rice Stuffing recipe – it’s legendary!