7 Crucial, Unskippable Tips for the Perfect Roast Turkey

A turkey is de rigueur for Thanksgiving but it's a great way to feed a crowd any time of the year. Americans consume over 45 million turkeys at Thanksgiving time!

If you've never cooked a turkey before, you might find it intimidating, especially if you're looking at those beautiful turkeys on the magazine covers during the holidays. Don't be fooled. Cooking a turkey isn't that hard if you follow the steps.

Keep reading if you're ready to make the perfect roast turkey for your family and friends.

1. Choose the Right Size

A 12-pound turkey offers about 12 average servings or 8 if you've got big eaters. Smaller birds under about 16 pounds have less meat in proportion to the bone, so figure about one pound per person.

Using a big turkey? Figure a little less than one pound per person since big turkeys have more meat compared to bone.

2. Unwrap Your Bird

Take the plastic off your turkey the night before cooking and leave it unwrapped in the fridge. This dries out the skin which gives the cooked turkey a wonderfully crispy, brown exterior when cooked.

3. Cook the Stuffing on the Side

Perfect roast turkey doesn't need the stuffing inside. Stuffing your turkey first sometimes leads to an unwelcome side dish of salmonella!

Err towards safety and cook your stuffing on the side. It will taste wonderful and you won't stress about potential bacteria in the turkey cavity.

4. Tie the Legs

Professional cooks "truss" the bird for more even cooking. While trussing sounds fancy, it's another word for tying up the turkey.

Tuck the wings underneath the turkey's body and then tie the legs together with kitchen twine or string. Now your bird will look as well as taste professional.

5. Inject the Turkey Before Cooking

This adds a ton of flavor and gives you the perfect roast turkey! Injection seasoning is a cinch to mix, and you probably have all the ingredients at home.

Once you've mixed the seasonings, grab your turkey injector and inject the turkey. Do this right before putting the turkey in the oven. This adds moistness and flavor to your turkey.

6. Use Plenty of Oil or Butter

Basting is a common way of adding moisture to the turkey but it comes at a price. Every time you open the oven door you lose heat, causing temperature changes. This creates uneven cooking and sometimes results in a dry turkey.

Instead of basting, rub the entire turkey with olive oil or butter before cooking. Make sure you oil it well.

7. Meat Thermometer

Follow the cooking time instructions on the turkey. When it's almost done, insert a meat thermometer in the thick part of the meat around the thigh. If it's 165 degrees, your turkey is done.

Take the turkey out of the oven and put a loose foil tent over it. Let it rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Now You've Got the Perfect Roast Turkey

Yum! Now you're ready to eat the perfect roast turkey!
Cooking a turkey isn't hard, it only takes a little preparation, time, and patience. It's well worth it when you serve up a delicious roast turkey for your family and friends.
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