In This Article
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, now's the time to start thinking about what you'll need to cook the perfect turkey. While some people are content to roast their turkey in a standard oven, there are plenty of other options out there for those who want to get a little more creative.
Turkey is often hailed as the star of the show, and for good reason. A properly cooked turkey is juicy, flavorful, and satisfying. But if you've ever attempted to cook a turkey yourself, you know that it's not always as easy as it looks. There are a lot of moving parts, and if one thing goes wrong, it can ruin the whole bird. That's why we've put together a list of the best turkey-cooking tools you need this Thanksgiving, so you can avoid any dinner disasters.
1. A Good Roasting Pan
The first (and arguably most important) tool you'll need is a good roasting pan. This will be the vessel in which you cook your turkey, so it's important to choose one that's the right size for your bird. If your roasting pan is too small, your turkey will be crammed in there like a sardine, which won't allow it to cook evenly. On the other hand, if your pan is too large, all your juices and drippings will evaporate before they have a chance to do their job. In short: make sure your roasting pan is just big enough to comfortably fit your turkey.
2. An injector syringe
Injecting your turkey with flavorful marinades is a great way to ensure that it's packed with flavor from the inside out. All you'll need is an injector syringe (available at most kitchen stores) and your favorite marinade recipe. Just be sure not to overdo it; otherwise, your turkey will end up being too salty.
3. Basting Brushes
Basting brushes are essential for keeping your turkey moist as it cooks. Every 30 minutes or so, you'll want to take some of the juices that have accumulated in the bottom of your roasting pan and brush them over the top of your bird. This will help keep the skin from drying out and add flavor at the same time. Just make sure to use sturdy basting brushes so that you don't accidentally rip the skin on your turkey.
4. An Instant-Read Thermometer
An instant-read thermometer is an absolute must-have if you want to make sure your turkey is cooked all the way through without drying it out. And trust us—you really don't want to end up serving your family or friends raw poultry for Thanksgiving dinner (talk about a disaster). There's nothing worse than carving into a beautiful bird only to find that it's still raw in spots. To avoid this catastrophe, insert an instant-read thermometer into different parts of the turkey—thighs, breasts, wings—to make sure that each section has reached an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Aluminum Foil
We know what you're thinking—aluminum foil? Really? But hear us out on this one! Aluminum foil can actually be quite helpful when cooking a turkey (we promise). Once your bird has reached its ideal cooking temperature and you're happy with how crispy or juicy the skin is, simply remove it from the oven and tent it lightly with some foil before letting it rest for 20 minutes or so.[Insert image here] Doing this will help preserve all those delicious juices so they don't all end up pooling on your cutting board when you go to slice into the meat later on.
6. A Good Carving Knife
A good carving knife is the next tool you'll need to make quick work of that turkey. And when we say "good," we mean a sharp knife that's up to the task. There's nothing worse than trying to carve a turkey with a dull knife, believe us. Not only will it make the job harder, but it also increases the chances of you slicing your fingers open in the process (yikes!). So save yourself the trouble and invest in a good carving knife before Thanksgiving.
7. A Turkey Lifter
A turkey lifter is a tool that looks a bit like a giant fork and is specifically designed for, you guessed it, lifting turkeys. This will come in handy when it's time to transfer your cooked turkey from the roasting pan to a cutting board or serving platter. Turkey lifters have long, sharp tines that will penetrate the meat easily, making it simple to lift and move your bird without shredding it to pieces in the process.
8. A Cutting Board
You'll need a sturdy cutting board on which to carve your turkey. Choosing a board that's too small will make the job more difficult, while one that's too big will make it difficult to maneuver the turkey around. Look for a cutting board that's made of hardwood or bamboo; these materials are gentle on knives and will help keep your blades sharp.
9. A Serving Platter
Once you've carved up your turkey, you'll need a serving platter on which to transfer the meat. If you don't have a designated turkey platter, any large, flat surface will do. Just be sure it's big enough to fit all of the turkey slices (and maybe even a few extra side dishes, too).
10. And Last But Not Least, Patience!
Cooking a turkey takes time—a lot of time. So don't be tempted to cut corners by cooking it at a higher temperature or for less time than recommended. Not only will this result in an overcooked, dry bird, but it also increases the chances of food poisoning (no thanks!). Just be patient and cook that turkey low and slow; trust us, it'll be worth the wait.
There you have it—the four best tools you need for cooking a delicious Thanksgiving turkey this year! By following these tips (and using these tools), you'll be well on your way to impressing your guests with a perfectly cooked bird. So get out there and start prepping—your feasts await!