If you’re hosting family or friends for Thanksgiving this year, you might be worried about how the turkey comes out. After all, it is the centerpiece of the meal! You don’t want to screw this up. Here are some of the best tips for cooking the perfect Thanksgiving turkey, courtesy of our friends at the Food Network.
1. Choose the right type of turkey for you.
Heritage? Organic? Fresh? Frozen? There are lots of choices out there. A heritage turkey is right for you if you want to try an old-fashioned breed of turkey, often leggier and leaner and more flavorful, and don’t mind paying a little extra for it. If organics are important, you may already have your eye on a turkey raised according to organic standards, and fed organic feed. If you’d prefer a traditional fresh or frozen bird, pick the healthiest-looking one in the weight range you need, and make sure it looks well fed for its size. And, remember, fresh may not necessarily be better than frozen; frozen turkeys are snap-frozen just after butchering.
2. Figure on 1 to 1.5 pounds of turkey per person.
To buy the right size turkey for your party, simply tally up the turkey-eating guests. Add a few pounds on for bones and you’ve got your turkey weight. For example, 8 people will require a 12 to 14-pound turkey.
3. Cook the turkey on a rack of vegetables.
Create a natural roasting rack for your turkey by layering carrots, onions and celery on the bottom of the roasting pan. Lifting the turkey off the base of the pan helps to increase hot air circulation around the whole bird so that it will get crispy all over. And the vegetables add great flavor to the gravy.
Read the Food Network’s full list of tips here to ensure you’ll have the tastiest Thankgiving turkey in town!