My wife and I have been married for 22 years, we were together for 2 years before that. In those 24 Thanksgivings plus a few Christmas's and Easters we have had a lot of turkey! A LOT OF TURKEY. While my wife does the majority of the cooking at home; she has never cooked a holiday turkey. That is my job.
After all those years, I have developed the perfect strategy to make your turkey perfect and moist...here is my secret.
- Cook the bird for the first 1 hour at 450 degrees...this seals in the juices and starts things going really well.
- After the initial high temperature period reduce heat to 325 degrees
- Cook the bird breast down until there is approximately 1 hour left on the estimated time. Then flip the bird and cook uncovered until you reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- Check the temperature often in the last hour do not exceed 165...remember the bird continues to cook for quite a while after being removed from the oven.
- Let the bird stand for at least an hour before carving. This allows the juices to settle and makes the meat firmer and the cooking complete.
- When carving, remove the legs and thighs first, then the wishbone! With the wishbone out, you can easily remove the entire side of the breast and use an electric knife to carve. Your results with the electric knife will be much better...don't settle for a sharp kitchen knife, it always tears up the meat.
This method is not typical but try it and you will find the perfect Thanksgiving turkey.