GREENSBORO, N.C. — It’s just one item, but if you get the turkey wrong on Thanksgiving, it doesn’t matter what else happens, right?
Let’s make things easy. Turkey for dummies. It could have been a book back in the day. These next three things help to dummy-proof your turkey cooking and they come right from the experts at Butterball.
THAW YOUR TURKEY. (Like now, it needs to be thawing!)
The time to thaw is now, or really before now.
One of the most common mistakes is not giving the turkey enough time to thaw. A turkey takes one day to thaw for every 4 pounds. If you’re taking it out too late, you’ll have to also do the cold-water thawing method to make sure your bird is ready to cook. Butterball has calculators and guidelines for the thawing processes.
STOP THE BASTING.
Butterball experts say basting is a waste of time. When you take the bird out of the oven to baste it, you are releasing heat and it prolongs cooking time.
Won’t not basting make the turkey less juice? Nope. The Butterball expert says when you baste the juices don't penetrate the bird, it just rolls off.
WHEN IS THE TURKEY DONE? USE A MEAT THERMOMETER!
Over or undercooking the turkey is really easy to do.
The only way to really know if it's done is to take the turkey's temperature.
“Using a meat thermometer is the easiest way. Your breast meat needs to be 170-degrees, the stuffing in your turkey needs to measure 165-degrees, and thigh meat to be 185-degrees. I think a lot of people think, it's done if it's brown, but no. Get a meat thermometer, it's the safest way to know the turkey is done,” said Coren Hayes, Butterball hotline expert.
Meat thermometers are cheap. The Butterball turkey hotline is free. Not giving your guests food poisoning is priceless.