Advice on serving a juicy Thanksgiving Day turkey from FVTC culinary arts instructors.
USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
We asked the instructors for the culinary arts program at Fox Valley Technical College for the secret to serving juicy turkey on Thanksgiving Day.
BRINE, BRINE, BRINE. Just about everyone mentioned brining. Dissolve 1/3 cup salt and 1/3 cup sugar in 1 gallon of water (you may need to double the amounts for a 14-pound turkey). Submerge the thawed bird in brine mixture for at least 24 hours before cooking.
BEER CAN IT. Yup, just like chicken, you can beer can a turkey. You just need a bigger can says Gary Lyons. He uses Fosters — the “oil can” size — but any oversized can of your favorite beer will work. Pour out half the beer (preferably into a beer glass for the cook) and use a can opener to either remove the top completely or punch holes in the top. Place the bird on the can and stand it up on the grill. Cook at 300 F (plan about 15 minutes per pound) until the bird reaches 160 degrees internal temp. Plug the neck opening, says Lyons, to trap more moisture inside the bird.
BREAK IT DOWN. To get both white and dark meat to perfect doneness, says RC Schroeder, break down the turkey (after brining, of course) and cook the pieces separately. He suggests grilling or smoking the breasts to a temperature of 160 F while braising the dark meat until it is fall-off-the-bone tender.
DON’T OVERCOOK IT. Once the bird registers 160 to 165 F on a good meat thermometer, it is done. Pull it from the grill or oven. The surest way to overcook your turkey is to rely on that plastic popup thermometer embedded into the bird.
GIVE IT A REST. If you carve the turkey as soon as it comes out of the oven or grill or smoker, all the juices will end up on your carving board. After it is done cooking, tent it with foil, says Jen McClure, and let it sit for 20 minutes.
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