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The Art of the Thanksgiving Turkey
Top Tricks for Preparing The Perfect Holiday Bird
Without a doubt, Thanksgiving is one of the year’s best American holidays. What’s not to love about the gathering of family, friends, and loved ones around a dinner table? Pair that with parades, football games, and a valid excuse to indulge in delicious food all day long, and there’s no better recipe for an amazing day. Speaking of recipes, the day can also come with a bit of stress for those preparing the Thanksgiving feast. The daunting task of roasting an entire bird, and ensuring that said bird comes out delicious and juicy is no easy feat. Not to fear though, we’ve gathered some of the trade’s best tips and tricks to ensure your Thanksgiving turkey is the perfect centerpiece for your family feast.
Give Yourself Ample Time To Thaw Your Turkey
True story- my first Friendsgiving in the city, I volunteered to bring the turkey. The plan was for all of our friends to spend the day cooking together after a game of football in the park. Unbeknownst to me, picking up the turkey from the frozen food section of the grocery store on the way to the gathering was not the best plan of action and we ended up eating the turkey well after midnight. It was a rookie mistake, and for all of my fellow rookies, bear in mind that it takes 24- hours for every four pounds of turkey to fully defrost. Also remember that you will need to thaw it out in the refrigerator, so plan accordingly when shopping.
Brining is Your Best Friend
For a fail-safe secret to ensure your turkey doesn’t come out dry, brining will help ensure your turkey comes out perfect, no matter your culinary prowess. This easy step will ensure the bird will stay juicy, even if your cooking time isn’t perfect. Originally used for food preservation before refrigerators came into play, brining enhances the texture and flavor by infusing meat with flavorful liquid and ensuring it has a higher liquid and salt content and therefore, a more forgiving consistency. Experts advise to brine your meat for one hour per pound, and ratio one cup of salt to one gallon of water. For an absolute pop of flavor, add in your favorite ingredients and herbs like rosemary, thyme, citrus, or peppercorns. For the ultimate and easy brining recipe, check out this recipe from culinary goddess, Nigella Lawson
Let it Rest
After all of the hard work, resting is key. And we don’t mean you, we mean the bird. Though it will be tempting to immediately carve into your perfectly cooked creation, it’s imperative to allow the bird to rest once it comes out of the oven. This will ensure that the juices in the meat distribute evenly and don’t all run out when you carve your turkey. Not only will it make carving easier, it will ensure that all of the delicious moisture you infused during the brine process actually stays in the meat. For a large bird, at least forty minutes of resting time is ideal.
Alcohol Makes Everything Better
The truth is that even if your bird comes out drier than the sahara, burnt to a crisp, or doesn’t thaw in time (oops), it’s the pure joy of being around your loved ones and sharing in memories and gratitude that make the day truly amazing. No matter if you have a turkey the Barefoot Contessa would be proud of or if it comes out resembling a Griswold family feast, it’s about the company of your family and friends. And as our absolute favorite trick, alcohol truly makes everything taste a little better. We’ve asked our resident mixologist at District M for the perfect Thanksgiving cocktail and he recommends one of the bar’s most popular drinks, The Gentleman’s Club. To make, simply mix Mckenzie rye, Contratto Rosso, cherry and angostura bitters and black cherry for the perfect Fall cocktails.
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