My Secrets for the BEST Thanksgiving Turkey
Last year was the first time my family let me make the centerpiece of Thanksgiving, the turkey.
I think everyone was skeptical of my abilities. Half my family thinks I'm "vegan" (because I don't eat a lot of meat), plus my family holidays revolve around food and tradition - so, something *new* is always scary.
I'm happy to report that my turkey was a HIT! In years past, everyone would mostly compliment the sides- the stuffing, my mom's stuffed mushrooms, the mashed potatoes, but for the first time EVER, everyone was raving about the turkey!
It was moist, flavorful, and truly the star of the table. Everyone unanimously decided that I would be in charge of the turkey from now on. The best part is, it wasn't that hard to achieve this level of turkey perfection.
Some of you might know, I used to be a producer for a Food Network show - which is where I learned A LOT about cooking, especially for the holidays. I really took a deep dive researching the best methods for turkey day success.
Today, I'm sharing my tried-and-true secrets. Since Thanksgiving is going to look a little different this year, I think it's a great opportunity to perfect your turkey-making skills, so you can come back with a delicious bird to bring to the table next year!
Here's my secrets for the BEST Thanksgiving Turkey:
Amp up the flavor with a dry brine - This method is seriously the simplest way to infuse flavor into your turkey. All you need is LOTS of Kosher salt. The night before Thanksgiving, rub handfuls of salt all over the turkey. Seriously, don't skimp on this! Then, place the bird uncovered overnight in the fridge. What happens overnight is the salt infuses deep into the meat - adding flavor while changing the protein structure of the meat and releasing moisture, so when you roast it- you get a juicier , more flavorful turkey!
Skip basting, keep things *moist* with a cheesecloth - You can say GOODBYE to hourly basting and those weird oven cooking bags. We seriously have ENOUGH to worry about when preparing Thanksgiving dinner, so let's skip basting and use this method instead. Soak a cheesecloth in melted butter or olive oil and place it over the turkey breast while you roast the turkey. The cloth will keep the breast moist while it cooks! For the last 30-45 minutes, take the cheesecloth off so the breast can brown a bit. Even dark meat lovers will be begging for more turkey breast!
Make it a Double (Breast) - This is a great trick if your family only likes the white meat, or you want extra turkey for leftover sandwiches (*insert Friend's moist-maker sandwich here*), or if you're keeping things small (like you should be) and don't want to go overboard on turkey. Buy 2 turkey breasts, dry brine them using the method described above, then coat them with a flavorful rub before roasting. I like to use a combination of salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and smoked paprika.
I'd love to see your turkey dinner pics (send them to me @bewellwithmarissa ).
And, let me know YOUR favorite turkey day tricks in the comments below!
I hope you have a happy, SAFE, and flavorful Thanksgiving!