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Thanksgiving Tip: Give Your Turkey a Break

It's easy to get excited when the star of dinner — the Thanksgiving turkey — is done, but the key to a moist meal is to remain patient. Once you've tested the turkey with a thermometer and it's reached 160-165°F in the middle of the thigh, remove it from the oven and let the bird sit for 20 to 30 minutes.

There are several reasons for doing this. First, the temperature will continue to rise — in fact, by as much as 10°F — even after the resting bird's out of the oven. This will ensure your turkey is fully cooked.

In addition, while a turkey roasts, its juices tend to move away from the heat to the middle of the turkey. Cutting into the turkey immediately, therefore, will result in all of the juices running out.

Instead, focus your attention on the sides, and give the bird time for its juices to redistribute. Even the leanest parts of the turkey, such as its breast, will remain succulent. A juicy turkey is also significantly easier to carve than a dry one.

How long do you like to let your turkey rest? Do you have any other tips for keeping your turkey moist?

mtiger mtiger 8 years
Jude...we always inject it. The flavor really gets in there, and it's so good!
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
You can also make a sort of melted butter/seasonings liquid and inject it under the skin with one of those flavor injector things--sometimes it's hard to work with the breast skin without breaking it.
bransugar79 bransugar79 8 years
Liss the butter under the skin thing really does work. It keeps the breast moist and flavorful if you add herbs. I watched the Barefoot Contessa make turkey on her Thanksgiviing special and it was so easy I tried it and got the best results ever. All you do is take a lemon and an organe and an onion and a couple of celery stalks cut them all in half and stuff them in the turkey with some rosemary or thyme or whatever herbs you like. then make the herb butter and slather it on the outside of the turkey as well as under the skin on the breast sprinkle some salt and pepper inside the cavity with the veggies and raost like normal. It turns out really moist and brown and so yummy. Makes great leftover sanwiches too
TidalWave23 TidalWave23 8 years
Jude C and I love our turkey skin and cook it with care...but we won't get into that whole discussion again... :rotfl:
Liss1 Liss1 8 years
I am going to have to try butter under the skin this year. I keep seeing it on the cooking shows. They mix butter and herbs and it looks so good. I will try and let the turkey sit but it is so hard :) I can't wait for Thanksgiving. YUM!
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Yes, we always let the turkey rest for a while, even though it is hard to resist digging in :) I also put butter under the breast skin before putting it in the oven. That helps a lot to keep the breast meat moist.
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
Yes. Very important.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
this makes a lot of sense if you think about it since it's similar to when you cook meat on the grill. lucky for me i don't eat turkey but i know that there will be plenty of it next week, so i might add in my thoughts before carving time.
TidalWave23 TidalWave23 8 years
I cook my turkey breast side down in the pan...pour some chicken stock in, with a little rosemary, lemon, and thyme and then I create a tent over the whole thing with foil. The stock reduces down and can be added to or made into the gravy. I also like to put an herb butter under the skin of the breast. I learned these tricks from my mom (a former chef) many years back and it always provides me (and my bf) with a moist turkey. :feedme:
krae85 krae85 8 years
yum yum yum
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