Brine the bird. Most people agree that the leaner heritage birds are the best candidates for this technique, but if you like, you can brine any bird you choose. Brining will guarantee not only moistness, but also beautiful color on the skin.
Bird on the counter. Thomas Keller of Per Se says that allowing the bird to come out of the refrigerator and closer to room temperature before cooking allows the bird to cook evenly. A general rule is 1 hour for every 10 lbs.
Baste often. Baste every 10 minutes to achieve moistness, says Tom Colicchio of Craft. Start the temperature at 425° for the first 30 minutes, then bring it down to 325° for the remainder of the cooking time.
Take a temperature. If you don’t have one, invest in a digital thermometer. You want a reading of 155° in the deepest part of the thigh and breast. Once you reach that reading, take the turkey out of the oven and allow it to rest lightly tented for 20-30 minutes (this will ensure juicy, tender meat and an easier cutting job). During the resting time, the temperature will rise to 160°-162°, which is perfect.
Sharpen those knives. If you haven’t taken care of it yet, go to the Knife Sharpest this week so your tools are in good working order. Sur La Table has complimentary knife sharpening for the first knife, with an added cost for all other knives (now through 11/21).
In case you don’t want to cook, there are lots of options for ready-made meals to bring home from places like Whole Foods, Central Market, Lee’s Meat Market, Hoover’s, Salt Lick, Trace and Wheatsville Co-op. If you want to wash your hands of all entertaining responsibilities, eat out at The Carillon, Trace at the W Hotel, Trio at the Four Seasons, Congress and Bar Mirabeau which all have special Thanksgiving menus or buffets. For a more low key dining experience consider 2nd Bar + Kitchen, 24 Diner, Hoover’s or Kerbey Lane Café. Be thankful! (Cathy)