Reasons to Not Stress Out About the Thanksgiving Turkey
If I see one more article extolling the virtues of dry brining vs wet brining, smoking vs. frying, organic local turkey vs. Butterball, I'm going to lose my mind. PEOPLE! It's one meal. It's supposed to taste good and be on the table in time. That's it. So, here's a foolproof guide.
- •Thaw the turkey before you cook it.
- •Remove the plastic bag full of giblets and the other internal organs most people don't eat.
- •Turn on the oven to 500 degrees. Get it smoking hot.
- •Slather the turkey in olive oil and salt and pepper.
- •Cook in the oven for 20 minutes. This means crispy skin.
- •Turn the oven down to 375.
- •Brush melted butter all over the turkey every 30 minutes or so.
- •Cook until the internal temperature of the legs has reached 180. It doesn't have to be an expensive digital thermometer. Just the one you got.
- •Tent the turkey in tin foil, stealing a piece of crispy skin first, and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- •Carve. Eat.
- •That's it. You could add herbs under the skin, if you want. Not necessary.
- •Do you want to brine? You can. Add about 11/2 cups of kosher salt and lots of herbs and peppercorns to a container of 5 quarts of hot water. When the salt has dissolved into the water, pour it into a pot big enough to submerge the turkey. Cool water. Insert turkey. Let it sit overnight. Dry it off and let it sit for an hour before you cook.
- •Dry brine? Take the salt and herbs you could use in a wet brine and make a paste with some oil and spread it over the turkey to sit overnight. Wipe it off before cooking, using the instructions above.
- •If you botch it and turkey comes out dry, use more gravy.
- •And remember this: the thousands of articles you are reading about how to make turkey in a new and better way? They're the work of food writers trying to figure out something to say to keep their jobs.
- •Mostly, this. Food isn't the real point of the meal anyway. Enjoy your family and friends. Play board games. Laugh a lot. No holiday should ever be ruined because the turkey wasn't perfect.
- •What in this world is perfect anyway?