Millions of people about to host their family’s Thanksgiving dinner are under stress to get it just right.
Turkey is not the easiest dish to prepare.
West Virginia Northern Community College has some tips for how to cook the perfect bird.
One of the students said Thanksgiving dinner is so important because it’s about family and thankfulness and celebration.
So you don’t want to whip up a dinner disaster.
What’s the number one crime that cooks perpetrate on this day every year?
“A burnt, dried-up turkey!” said Stacia Littleton, culinary arts student at WVNCC. “You’ve got to have it moist and perfect.”
Chef Gene Evans says there are ways to make sure your turkey is juicy.
“One of them is basically a butter rub with some fresh herbs with salt and pepper,” Evans noted. “It’s very simple. And the ingredients are things most of us happen to have around the house.”
The butter rub he suggests is made up of softened butter, salt, pepper, sage and rosemary.
He said you start with a whole pound of butter, massaging the rub under the skin of the turkey.
“Whatever I have left, I just put in the cavity of the turkey,” he explained. “It will melt and go out into the bird.”
Or he said you could soak your bird in a brine mixture.
Ideally, he says that’s a three-day process–soaking the bird, letting the bird “dry out” in the refrigerator, and finally roasting the bird.
For the brine, he suggests a mix pf water, salt, sugar, sage and ice.
He advocates making the dressing outside the bird.
He says when you get it hot enough to properly cook the dressing, you’ve gotten it too hot for the turkey.”
“Then the breast is going to be running 180, 185 degrees, which means it’s going to be dry as a bone,” he noted.
And finally, he advised, don’t rush the bird from the oven to the table.
Let it “rest” for 30 minutes, so it can reabsorb the juices instead of running out all over the cutting board.
And finally, enjoy.
Chef Evans says the college has already done several turkey dinners, with more to go.
“I’m almost overloaded on turkey,” he admitted. “I’d say by the time Thanksgiving is over, I won’t need any more turkey until next year!”
Here are a couple of Chef Evan’s recipes: