Karl’s Turkey Tips

It’s the Belle of the Ball.  No wonder everyone gets a little anxious about the where for’s and the how to’s.  Here are a few helpful tips to help your bird earn the All-Star billing of your Thanksgiving table!

FROZEN BIRD

  • Defrost in refrigerator 72 – 48 hours in advance.  Seriously!  The bird should defrost in a functioning refrigerator!  Size is the big determining factor.  The bigger the bird, the more the time.  You need the cold temp to prevent the bad stuff from doing their thing.
  • The night before – Wash, trim and leave overnight, under loose foil, in the refrigerator
  • 1 hour before baking set on counter to bring up temp before baking

FRESH BIRD

  • 1 hour before baking set on counter to bring up temp before baking.
  • The night before – Wash, trim and leave overnight, under loose foil, in the refrigerator

QUICK TURKEY REMINDERS

  • Roast at 350 degrees F
  • 15 minutes per pound as a planning guideline.  Heritage and free range often cook faster.
  • Cook until deepest part of thigh registers 165 degrees and juices run clear.
  • If the breast is turning too brown, cover with foil, check oven temp.
  • Baste with butter every 30 minutes.
  • The instant-read thermometer is your friend.  When in doubt, check the temp.
  • If your bird has a pop up thermometer, please ignore.  You will be much better served by testing the bird in a few of the deepest spots.

BRINING YOUR BIRD

A very good option for Free range or heritage birds. It’s a must if you plan to grill your bird.

  • Mix brine according to instructions.  Make sure your vessel is large enough to completely submerge your bird.
  • 12 – 24 hours in the brine
  • Night before – Remove bird from brine, wash, trim and leave overnight, under loose foil, in refrigerator
  • 1 hour before baking set on counter to bring up temp before baking

For a brine recipe + more tips click here!

FLIPPING THE BIRD

Yes.  We said that!  In this case, it’s actually literal.  Our friend Lynne Kasper would say that flipping the bird is a thoughtful technique for minimizing dry white meat.  Using your roasting pan and rack for an oven-roasted bird, start the baking process breast down.  Keep it there for 45 mins to an hour, depending on the size of the bird.  Allow the juice to flow down into the breast.  

After the 45 mins, flip the bird so the breast side is up.  Be careful, the bird will be hot!.  Finish cooking breast side up.  Tent with foil, if the skin starts to get a little brown.

THE GOLDEN HOUR

When your bird has come to temp, remove it from the oven and set on or next to the stove top.  If you need the drippings for gravy, transfer to a platter.

Congrats, you’ll have 25 – 45 minutes for the bird to rest!  Not only does this give you some time to complete many of your T-day dinner tasks – warming, whipping, tasting, etc. – it allows all the juices to settle back into the meat.