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Turkey Talk – Tips for Making Your Bird Shine This Thanksgiving

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Between the jingling Christmas ads on television and polishing off the last of the Halloween candy, we find ourselves a week away from Thanksgiving. If it’s your turn to host the big meal, make sure your turkey has guests trotting to the table and gobbling about your bird all the way home.

1. Give That Bird a Salt Soak

Turkey Talk – Tips for Making Your Bird Shine This Thanksgiving

Photo: pioneerwoman.com

Brining involves bathing your bird in a salty, flavor-loaded liquid for several hours before cooking. The salt guarantees a moist tender bird because it allows the meat to fill with liquid decreasing the likelihood of overcooking. It also adds a flavor infusion depending on the herbs, spices, and brining liquid used. Just add one cup kosher salt per one gallon of liquid. Use apple cider, water or broth. Add ½ cup sugar and any spices you like, such as cinnamon, cloves, and peppercorns. Toss in some sliced apples, lemons and oranges. Then bring mixture to boil until sugar dissolves. Cool to room temperature. Completely cover the bird in the liquid and chill for one hour per pound of turkey up to 24 hours.

2. To Stuff or Not to Stuff – That is the Question

Turkey Talk – Tips for Making Your Bird Shine This Thanksgiving

Photo: foodnetwork.com

When most folks picture a perfect turkey, it’s usually the one on grandma’s dinner table shiny and golden roasted with aromatic stuffing spilling out from the inside. No offense to grandma, but let’s face it, the stuffing was usually a mass of wet and mushy breading. Ever fearful of overcooking the turkey, sometimes we do just the opposite and undercook it slightly. The stuffing inside now has the potential for hiding bacteria like salmonella. If you can’t imagine a turkey without stuffing, dressing easily replaces its sister side dish. Dressing is simply stuffing cooked outside the bird. Cooked in a separate dish, dressing maintains its own distinct flavors and transpires into the lightly browned herbal goodness we really want sharing the plate with our turkey and sweet potatoes. Here’s a five star dressing recipe courtesy of Chef Robert Irvine: Cranberry Apple and Sausage Dressing.

3. Roast, Deep Fry, Smoke or Grill

Deciding not to stuff your bird opens the door for other cooking options. Whether you decide on a traditional oven roasted bird or cooking it outside really depends on how you prefer to eat turkey. Rachel Ray of Food Network discusses tips to each method here

Turkey Talk – Tips for Making Your Bird Shine This Thanksgiving
Photo: foodnetwork.com

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