Thanksgiving is about getting together with family, spending time with loved ones, celebrating all of the things we have to be thankful for, and of course the food. Bring your thanksgiving dinner to the next level this year with top of the line gourmet spices and blends from The Spice House. Here we’ll answer your most frequently asked questions about Thanksgiving turkey to make cooking dinner easier, and to leave more time for spending quality time with those who matter. To make sure you’re not missing anything essential, check out our Thanksgiving Spices Checklist.
What Is the Best Turkey Recipe?
While this topic is highly debated, there are a few things that every good turkey recipe has in common.
Create a Turkey Brine
A turkey brine is used to combat the dryness that can be found throughout the turkey from being cooked for a long time. Soaking your turkey in a salty brine for 8-18 hours before baking helps the turkey take in more moisture initially, so less moisture is lost during the baking process.
Season Your Turkey
After your turkey is brined, seasoning your turkey is a quintessential step before baking your bird. The Spice House’s Turkey Stuffing Seasoning is the perfect blend for thanksgiving; heavy on sage and freshly ground white pepper with a hint of fresh lemon. This seasoning is perfect in stuffing, and also great when used on the turkey itself when mixed with a stick of butter and rubbed on the outside. Learn more about how to season your turkey here, and check out all of our turkey rubs and blends.
How To Cook a Turkey in the Oven To Be Moist
After working hard to brine your turkey, and season it to perfection, the last step in the turkey process is baking. While you can have the perfect brine and seasoning, everything can be lost if the turkey is baked for too long, or at too high of a temperature. The shape of a turkey isn’t conducive to being baked, with the breasts on top which tend to dry out first, and the legs on the bottom, which need to be cooked for longer, the traditional way of cooking a turkey makes it hard to get every piece of meat cooked to be juicy and flavorful. One way to combat this design flaw, is to spatchcock your turkey.
How To Spatchcock a Turkey
Spatchcocking a turkey results in less cooking time, crispier skin, and a more evenly cooked, juicier turkey, and all it takes is a little extra preparation. You can ask your local butcher to spatchcock your turkey for you, but if that doesn’t work, follow the simple steps here.
- Pat your thawed turkey dry
- Flip your turkey to be breast side down on a cutting board
- Starting at the tail, cut along one side of the backbone until you’ve cut through the rib bones up to the neck
- Spread the turkey open slightly, and begin to cut along the other side of the backbone
- Remove the backbone (Save this for turkey stock)
- Flip the turkey over and press down on the breast bone until the turkey lays flat
- Spread the turkey legs, and tuck the wing tips under the breast to avoid burning
- Cook your spatchcocked turkey for about 6 minutes per pound and until you’ve reached an internal temperature of 165°F in the thigh, breast, and wing
What Temperature To Cook a Turkey
This is a huge question around the holidays, do you cook a turkey at 325°F or 350°F? The answer could be more gray than black and white. What seems to work the best is preheating your oven to 450°F and then dropping the temperature to 350°F after putting the turkey into the oven. Cooking a turkey on too hot of a temperature can cause your bird to dry out, but keeping the temperature too low can prevent the turkey from getting done all the way though. Heating the oven high at first and then letting it slowly drop will create the perfect balance without striking too hot and too cool.
Now that you have all of your turkey questions answered and you’re ready to make the best Thanksgiving turkey yet, check out these Thanksgiving side dish recipes, and don’t forget to stock up on Roasted Turkey Stock, that makes incredible gravy, without the hassle of creating your own stock.