- Posted August 10, 2013 by
Perfect Bird to Roast: Turkey
Turkeys are perfect birds to roast and serve for many holidays all over the world. It’s large enough to share with the whole family, extended some more by the array of side dishes, entrées and stuffing that accompany each tray. Carving it is a tradition long-held especially in the United States where it is regarded as the must-cook bird when Thanksgiving and the Christmas holiday season rolls in.
Turkey is “a large North American gallinaceous bird that is domesticated in most parts of the world,” as defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), guinea fowls were originally thought to be turkeys by Europeans who came upon the American turkeys.
Turkeys are sold in the market as fresh or frozen with the giblets included or removed. Then giblets may be used in making gravy. According to the National Turkey Federation (NTF), turkey meat is sold as breast, cutlets, drumsticks, ground turkey, sliced deli turkey, tenderloins, thighs, sausage and wings.
Preparation for roast turkey recipes should take account the thawing and marinating time, which takes a few days before it can be finally roasted. If you buy frozen turkeys, don’t roast your frozen turkey the day it’s been bought from the supermarket. Thaw the turkey properly in the refrigerator before cooking. It takes about three days for a 15-pound turkey (that’s one day for every 5 pounds of meat).
If turkey is not properly thawed, you’ll end up with a bird that’s not cooked through and be prone to food contamination especially if you’re stuffing the turkey. The USDA however, indicates that it’s safe to roast frozen turkey (especially the pre-marinated ones) but it will take 50 percent longer to cook. Roasting a whole turkey takes 2 and ¾ hours for an 8 to 12 pound bird.
After cleaning the turkey and removing its giblets from the cavity, it’s time to infuse the turkey with seasoning and marinades. You’ll need about overnight for the flavouring to seep into the meat. Otherwise, a few hours would be enough if you prefer to season it simply with salt, pepper and butter. Roast turkey recipes vary on the amount and type of seasonings and marinades you can use.
The USDA does not recommend stuffing the turkey in order to maximize food safety. There is a probability of uneven cooking here so they recommend just cooking the stuffing separately. If you must put in stuffing, do so on the hour you will roast your turkey. Check the internal temperature of the stuffing as well as the turkey meat itself. “The stuffing must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F,” says the USDA.
Roast turkey recipes depend on different roasting methods. The classic method is to rub it with salt and pepper plus herbs and a dot of butter. For a more flavorful and moist turkey, the bird is brined in a salt and water solution before roasting.