Years ago, when I attempted my first ever turkey, I think everything that could go wrong did go wrong. It came out dry, stringy, tough, and overall disgusting. I had no idea what I was doing wrong or how to fix the problem. After all, it was my first Christmas with my husband and I wanted everything perfect. You know how that is, right? You want to create that picture-perfect Christmas dinner that you will talk about for years to come. I was excited and felt like the best wife in the world for even attempting to create our first Christmas meal together. But, then I over-estimated my cooking skills. For all you out there struggling to figure out what recipe is right or what you should do I dedicate this post to you. You are not alone and never will be again.
After that Christmas turkey disaster, I read and watched every cooking channel on how to fix a turkey. But, honestly what I did not realize is I had all the talents within myself to create that perfectly moist and delicious Christmas turkey. It really is not as difficult as the movies make it and no you do not need a fire extinguisher like the Santa Clause movie.
How to cook a turkey?
What You Do Need:
- Organic or Butterball Turkey.
- Injectable Needle
- Basting Ball
- Turkey pan (2) if you are using the cheap aluminum.
You want to choose the ‘best’ turkey so let’s get educated. Organic and free-range will mean extra tender and no chemicals. I have used organic and free-range whenever I cannot get my hands on a wild turkey. Wild turkeys are the ‘best’ to choose. The meat is tender, juicy, and you know there is zero chemicals. Now, I know not everyone can afford the ‘organic’ route that is why I would suggest a butterball brand turkey from a local grocery store.
This is something I actually picked up on my own over the years and I am happy to share the tips with you. Choosing the right turkey is not enough we have to marinate and baste it for that juicy and extra tender taste. I start thawing out the turkey three days in advance. By day 2 it is fully thawed out and ready to be marinated.
Butter, Salt and Pepper, Dash of Mrs. Dash. I melt the butter, add the spices, stir together. Put the mixture into my injectable needle and inject into the meat around the bones. You can use pretty much anything based on your desired taste. The point to this is when it starts cooking in the oven it has extra liquid inside the meat to keep it tender. It is my little turkey hack to make the juiciest turkey possible.
Everyone says ‘baste’ the turkey. But, when I did the research everyone comes up with their own, how often you should baste. The main question you want to ask yourself is how crunchy you want the skin to be. If you want it to be crunchy like you fried it, baste every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours. After that you can go to every 45 minutes to 1 hour until it is fully cooked. If you more just want a golden brown outside baste every hour. I have found that my family loves the crunchy taste so I baste every 30 minutes.
Go for the cheap aluminum pans or one expensive reusable turkey pan. When I use the aluminum pans and I double up just to make sure the turkey does not fall through. It would be maddening if the turkey fell through after spending all that time cooking it.
Consider putting the whole turkey on a serving dish and stuffing it with homemade stuffing. It makes for that picture-perfect table setting. Typically, I cut the turkey in advance before it hits the table, but I leave it all on the turkey so it looks like a Hallmark picture.
Do you fix turkey, ham, duck, or a little of everything?