Thanksgiving is right around the corner, stressing out a few aspiring holiday chefs who are gearing up to prepare, cook and serve their first ever turkey. Meanwhile, veteran holiday cooks may also be feeling the heat as they plan to prepare their bird as the centerpiece for their family dinner. To save the day, the Butterball Turkey Talk-line representatives are on hand to answer any questions regarding how to properly cook a Thanksgiving turkey.
One such representative, Amy Roska, talked turkey with WKVI’s Tom Berg and offered a few suggestions. Berg asked if there are any benefits to cooking a turkey breast-side down, but Roska explained cooking the bird breast-side up is way to go.
“If you’ve ever looked at a turkey, if you try to roast it breast-side down, it’s very wobbly. It’s going to tip in your pan from one side to the other, and then most of those recipes then require you to flip a hot turkey midway through the cycle, and if you’ve ever tried to flip a 24-pound, stuffed, hot turkey – not real easy, not safe, and it also doesn’t give a real nice appearance to the breast,” said Roska.
Oftentimes, cooks have a hard time telling when the turkey is done cooking and make the mistake of leaving the bird in the oven for much too long, drying it out. Roska said this is where the number one tool comes in handy – a meat thermometer.
“I think a lot of times, cooks are concerned with, ‘Oh, I don’t know if it’s done. I’m going to cook it an extra half hour or an hour to make sure.’ Now, that’s the point the turkey gets overdone. If you have a good quality meat thermometer, you can cook it just to the proper end temperature which is 165 in the breast, 180 in the thigh,” said Roska.
Roska said once the turkey has been taken out of the oven at the proper temperature, upon carving, the juices will flow right out of the breast.
A different method of cooking a turkey was also brought into question; deep-frying the turkey is not uncommon, but what are the benefits and are there any downsides?
“If you have about a 12 to 14 pound turkey, that is going to deep fry in under an hour. So, it is a very quick way to cook, you get beautiful, crispy skin, and the meat is really juicy. The only drawback I see is you have to do the gravy a different way because obviously you aren’t going to have drippings, or if you’re a stuffing fan, you’ll have to do the stuffing on the side. But other than that, it’s a great way and it’s neat to try turkey a different way. And it’s absolutely delicious,” Roska said.
To contact a Butterball Turkey Talk-Line representative, call 1-800-BUTTERBALL.