First when it comes to cooking large roasts, turkeys or even a whole chickens it is best to cook the meat slow and for a long length of time to make sure it is cooked properly. I learned this over time of course, since in my earlier years all the meat was done but it wasn’t as tender as I had wanted it.
I can remember learning that if I slow cooked any large meat in a oven, well wrapped with aluminum foil and basted it well, allowing for plenty of liquid in the pan it would eventually start to pull apart easily and then you could tell it was going to be mouthwatering delicious. Allowing the meat to cook slower in it’s own juices was the best tenderizer anyone could ask for.
Here are some turkey tidbits that may help others during their thanksgiving holiday.
A. (Okay this one is cheating a bit.) The easiest turkey idea that I have used in the past is to buy a frozen smoked turkey ( Just remember to buy a good brand), they are cooked already and all you have to do is take them home defrost them and place them in aluminum foil with some water in the pan and cook them using the directions or I typically use a 350 degree oven to cook the meat until it is tender. Remember to baste the turkey every so often in it’s own juices from the pan. Usually several hours until you can easily cut down to the bone with a carving knife and see the juices run. Trust me this is a winner cause for some reason not everyone knows that there are smoked turkeys and people will comment on how did you get the smoky flavor in the meat. Makes me laugh every time.
B. Take a Butterball or any of the popular uncooked turkeys (I just prefer Butterball and now they even have pop up thermometer in them). Take a whole turkey or even the smaller breast of turkey home along with some injectable marinade ( I prefer Tony Chachere’s Cajun injectable marinade), they have many flavors to choose from. Once the turkey is thawed properly inject the turkey with the marinade, placing the marinade in the legs, breasts, etc. Wrap the turkey up good in aluminum foil with some water in the bottom of the pan and cook using the directions or again I prefer 350 for several hours, basting as I go with all the juices. After several hours the turkey can easily be carved into and you will be able to tell it is very tender. Take the aluminum foil off the top of the turkey and rub the top down with butter and baste again. Cooking a little longer to allow the turkey to brown. Don’t worry it wont take long to brown you can even turn your oven up to 375. After it is brown let it rest before carving. Your family and friends will again compliment you on the spices and flavoring the turkey has all through the meat.
C. Last turkey hint. It isn’t necessary to be a great master cook at turkey, there are so many ready made turkeys in your freezer section. Even the uncooked variety with their pop up thermometer are great for the beginning cook. I have been cooking turkeys for a long time and even a seasoned cook buys the turkeys in the freezer for the convenience they give. No matter which turkey you buy just remember to baste it and I’m sure you will do fine.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!