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8 Easy Steps for Cooking the Thanksgiving Turkey

Cooking CornerClarksville, TN – To help the bird you serve get “gobbled up” this holiday try these easy tips from “Flavors of America” TV host and cookbook author Chef Jim Coleman and Chef’sChoice.

These experts have teamed up to take you through the process of serving up the perfect bird, including choosing, seasoning, cooking, and carving the turkey.


Choosing The Turkey

Step 1

When choosing your turkey, allow 1.5 pounds for each guest. For eight guests, you’ll want at least a 12 lb. turkey. There will be ample leftovers.

Step 2

If you’re buying a frozen turkey, allow 24 hours of thawing for every four-to-five pounds;a fresh turkey should not sit more than 48 to 72 hours before preparation.

Hints: According to Coleman, there is no scientific evidence that bird gender makes a difference in quality or taste. Environment and feed, however, can determine a taste difference.

Turkeys can be frozen for up to 12 months. If you have a frozen turkey from last year, it’s safe to cook for this year’s feast if it has remained frozen throughout the year.

Step 3

Flavor your turkey with Coleman’s “holiday rub” (recipe for 12 Ib. turkey).

Thanksgiving Recipe
The Holiday Rub

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves (save stems)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary (save stems)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage (save stems)
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. minced shallots
3 lemons

Mix all ingredients above, and set aside stems. Pepper to taste.


Step 4

Wash turkey inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place turkey in a roasting pan and lift up the skin starting near the neck, and rub the mixture onto the meat under the skin.

Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the turkey. Use the remaining herb mixture to coat the top of the bird. Prick two lemons and place them into the cavity with the stems from sage, rosemary, and thyme.

Step 5

Preheat oven to 350’. Cook until the juice runs clear when the turkey is pierced at the base of the leg. The turkey is done when the meat thermometer reads 180 in the thickest part of the bird. After the turkey is cooked, let it cool for 15 minutes. Cooling makes the meat easier to slice.

Step 6:

Follow these simple steps when carving a turkey.
Follow these simple steps when carving a turkey.

How to Carve A Turkey

Use a very sharp carving knife to carve the turkey. Sharp knives are safer and they will help you smoothly cut thin, even slices without shredding the meat.


You don’t have to be an expert to put a razor-sharp edge on your knife. A sharpener like Chef’s Choice EdgeSelect 120 can make sharpening easy. The sharpener uses 100 percent diamond-coated disks and a revolutionary polishing stage to create a professional knife edge in seconds. The precision guides eliminate guesswork, making predictable, razor-sharp edges every time it’s used.

Step 7

Remove and set aside the legs and the last joint of each wing. Make a long, deep (to the bone), horizontal “base cut” into the breast just above the wing. Be sure to use a good, sharp knife.

Step 8

Slice down vertically through the breast until you meet the original base cut. This will release perfect, even slices.

Two common mistakes people make after cooking their turkey are not waiting long enough for the bird to rest after it comes out of the oven, and improperly carving the turkey by using a dull knife or the wrong technique.

If you slice the turkey too soon, most of the juices will run out and your meat will be dry. And if you carve improperly or use a dull knife, carving may be more difficult and your turkey could become unappetizing.
 
By following these turkey carving instructions, you can have a turkey that looks as good as it tastes.
 
For help finding a sharpener that’s right for you, call 800.342.3255 or go to www.chefschoice.com.
 
Happy Thanksgiving!

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