If we're giving out turkey hacks for free, does that make us Turkey hackers? Although we like the image of a tech savvy turkey, this blog post is about the 8 turkey techniques you should be implementing for a better Thanksgiving dinner with your friends and family.
Remember to share this blog post with someone who could use some Thanksgiving turkey hacks!
Let The Bird Thaw Slowly
Ignore that defrost setting on your microwave or oven, or whatever it is. The best way to thaw a turkey is slowly. That being said, you should buy your turkey a few days in advance (maybe more because turkeys become hard to find when everyone wants one), and let it defrost in your fridge. This will help your bird retain the most moisture possible.
This one may seem like a no-brainer to you turkey-cooking veterans, but this is a crucial, yet often overlooked, step to get that crispy bird skin we love. So, if you're new to cooking - make sure you always pat your poultry with a paper towel to pick up the extra moisture lingering on the surface (especially the skin).
This will help your turkey cook a lot more evenly because there will be a more consistent "thickness" across the bird.
How to Spatchcock a Turkey:
1. Use butcher shears to cut out the spine and place the bird on its back.
2. Turn the thighs inward and press on the breast bone to flatten out the bird.
For safeties sake, be sure to use proper butcher shears and not just any scissors. You can also use a super sharp chef's knife if you're already a pro... but if you were already a pro, why are you here?
Tuck Wings Under
This can be done during the spatchcocking process, but we made it another point just to emphasize it's importance. You have to tuck with wing tips under the bird because those little things will burn if you don't - and you don't want to waste a great turkey wing!
Loosen Skin For Crispiness
You've got to loosen the skin before you begin to marinate your bird. Doing so will allow for the skin to heat up nicely on both sides as it cooks, which will cause it to crisp up.
How to Loosen the Skin:
- We recommend you wear disposable gloves for this process because salmonella is not your friend.
- Gently slip your fingers under the skin and move your hand across the bird, lifting the skin from the meat. Remember to do this to the breast, the thighs, and wings. It's not crucial that you get every bit of skin lifted, but the more the merrier and crispier.
Butter Under The Skin
Now that your skin is nice and loose, go ahead and place some butter under the skin. This will do two things: keep the bird moist as it cooks and "fries" the skin nice and crispy.
Two Methods to Placing Butter Under the Skin:
- The easy method: Simply place small sticks of butter under the skin. It's best to squish/flatten the butter before you slip it under so that the skin doesn't get punctured.
- The harder, but often tastier method: Scoop room temperature butter on a spoon, slide the spoon of butter under the skin, and push the butter off using your thumb or fingers from the other side of the skin. Keep pushing the butter around from above the skin to smooth out the butter. Do this multiple times until you're happy with the coverage of butter on the bird.
As you can imagine, the second method will provide a more even coverage of butter, which will cook the bird skin more evenly while it roasts.
Bonus Hack: use this recipe for a much more flavourful butter - How to Make Cowboy Compound Butter.
Remember To Add Broth
Remember to add chicken or turkey broth to the roasting pan. This will ensure your bird stays moist and flavourful as it roasts. No one likes a dry turkey.
Take The Bird Out Between 150°F-165°F
It'll pay off to take the bird out slightly before you reach the food safe temperature of 165°F because the bird will continue to cook as it rests. Depending on how big the bird is, the inside of the bird can continue to cook up to 30 minutes after taking it off the grill or out of the oven.
There you have it, 8 Top Turkey Hacks for Thanksgiving Dinner! Hopefully you noticed by now, but we also put these turkey tips in the order that you'll need them when cooking your Thanksgiving dinner, for your convenience.
If you liked this, you'll definitely love our blog post from last year, Top 15 Thanksgiving Recipes & Tips - just click here.
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