Holiday Feature


Chapter 5.
Preparing the Turkey for Roasting


Rule #8: Follow the safe-handling tips
Rinse the turkey in cool water, avoid cross-contamination by washing all surfaces that come in contact with raw turkey in hot soapy water before using on any other foods.

Turkey Tip: Remove the whole turkey from the refrigerator about an hour before cooking (no more than that) to bring the bird to room temperature. Make use of this time to cook the giblets or neck for the stuffing, stock or gravy.

Pre-Roasting Steps


Q: Do I need to truss the bird's legs, or can I just roast it without all that extra effort?

A: Trussing, tying the bird into a more compact shape with twine or string, is an old-fashioned method used mainly for presentation, so that the legs and wings would be held closer to the body and hence "more attractive." Today, many chefs recommend not trussing the legs and simply folding the wing tips under the body instead. Why? Because trussed legs take longer to cook at the joint than untrussed legs, and hence the breast also ends up cooking longer and becoming more dry. Many turkeys today come with metal or oven-proof plastic clamps known as "hock locks" or "leg trusses" which, when the legs are placed under them, do the same thing as trussing with string. The choice of trussing is up to the cook, but for a moister bird that takes less time to cook, we prefer not to truss.

Turkey Tip: The larger the bird, the heavier it is to lift in and out of the pan, especially if stuffed. You can by a commercial turkey lifter, which loops over both ends of the turkey and has handles for easy lifting. Or, pull off two 3- to 4-foot long pieces of foil (depending on the size of the bird. Fold each foil piece over lengthwise to form a 1-inch wide long strip. Before placing the turkey in the pan, lay one strip across below the legs and one below the wings. Place the turkey on top, let the ends rest over the sides of the pan. Bring the lengths up over the top of the bird as handles and use them to lift the bird out of the pan.

FoodWine's Perfect Turkey Handbook

Preface: Safety Tips Before Cooking

Chapter 1. Buying a Turkey

Chapter 2. Storing an Uncooked Turkey

Chapter 3. Thawing a Frozen Turkey

Chapter 4. Stuffing (or Not Stuffing) a Turkey

Chapter 5. Preparing the Turkey for Roasting

Chapter 6. Roasting the Turkey

Chapter 7. How to Tell When It's Done

Chapter 8. Making the Gravy

Chapter 9. Carving the Bird

Chapter 10. Storing Leftovers & Food Safety After Cooking


FoodWine's Perfect Turkey Handbook
Using a Meat Thermometer


This page modified November 2006