Roasting turkey

From timing to temperature, these tips will help you avoid turkey disasters.

Roasting a turkey is actually pretty simple. To put your mind at ease and prevent any major poultry disasters this Thanksgiving, embrace these foolproof tips and tricks for roasting the perfect bird.

Give yourself enough time to defrost. If you go the frozen bird route, you are going to need 1 day of defrosting time for every 5 pounds of turkey. So, if any of you plan on roasting a frozen 20 pounder, you should put that bad boy in the fridge on Saturday.

Unwrap your turkey the night before. Leaving your bird uncovered in the fridge for 8-10 hours before cooking dries out the skin, which will give it that beautifully browned, extra-crispy exterior that we all dream about.

Rub the skin with plenty of fat. Before roasting, lube your turkey up with a generous coating of butter or oil if you want delicious golden skin. It’s the one time I’m going to tell you to use shameless amounts of the stuff.

Do not overstuff your turkey. A turkey cooks most evenly when the cavity is only loosely filled. In fact, it’s actually best to cook the stuffing separately from the turkey and fill the bird’s cavity with aromatics (onions, garlic, herbs, etc.) instead.

Stop opening the oven door! You’re going to be tempted to check on your turkey, but opening the oven door reduces the oven’s temperature, which means that your turkey will take longer to cook, and it will dry out more easily. Resist the urge!

Remove your turkey from the oven when the thickest part of the breast reads 155-160 degrees on a thermometer. This may sound early to you, but the temperature will continue to rise to about 170 degrees once you take the bird out of the oven.

Let your turkey rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. Resting the bird loosely tented with aluminum foil allows all of the delicious juices to redistribute, giving you the most tender meat possible.