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Tips for Crispy Thanksgiving Turkey

The fully cooked and browned Thanksgiving turkey.
Posted at 9:00 AM, Nov 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-25 11:00:43-05

Smith's Chef Jeff Jackson offers some helpful tips on how to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey.

1. Brining the Bird

Add 1 cup kosher salt and 1 cup sugar with ½ gallon (8 cups) water in a pot. Simmer and then add another ½ gallon ice to cool it down. Submerge the turkey overnight. Remove from the brine pat dry.

2. Rest the Bird

Place the dried turkey in the fridge to just sit another 8 hours to let the skin dry out.

3. Butter the Bird

Completely coat the bird in softened butter. Under the skin on the breast as well. Season with kosher salt and pepper.

4. Baste the Bird

Only baste with melted butter or canola oil. No Broth. Pure fats help the process.

5. Cook the Bird

Cook at 400° F for a normal size bird. Cook a large bird at 350° F. The goal is to cook it to an internal temperature of 155° F. To monitor the temperature, stick a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast.

Rest 30 minutes before slicing. This will allow the juices to stay in the bird and make it much easier to carve.

6. Carve the Bird

There are many different ways to carve a turkey, some good, some not-so-good. Here are a few basic methods you can use for carving the turkey. All you will need is a sharp knife.

Legs and Thighs: Make a small cut where the thigh meets the body of the bird and pull the leg slightly away. This will make it easier to cut through the rest of the way. Once you've completed the cut, you can pull the leg and thigh off.

Wings: The wings are connected to the breast, so start by gently pulling the wing back, away from the body of the bird and slice where the wing meets the breast. Continue pulling gently as you slice until the wing is free.

Breast: Start by finding the bone in the middle of the turkey. Run your knife along this bone and down the side to separate the breast from the bone of the turkey. Once separated, you can slice the breast as needed for serving.