One of the best-loved things about the festivity is all the delicious food you get to eat. From creamy mashed potatoes to roasted Brussels sprouts and decadent pumpkin pie, there's plenty to choose from.
And one can forget about the centre-piece, which tends to be turkey. So if you're cooking this year, you're going to want to get it right!
Thankfully, Daily Star caught up with Jeff Baker – a chef who has been awarded a Michelin star in the past – to get his words of wisdom. And the foodie, who works at Farmison & Co, divulged his top five tips.
From prepping the turkey, to giving it time to rest, there are plenty of steps you need to take when preparing turkey this Thanksgiving. Here's all you need to know...
How to cook the perfect Thanksgiving turkey
1. Prep your turkey nice and early
Ensure the bird is at room temperature before you bang it in the oven – as this will help it to cook evenly.
Jeff said: “Before roasting, be sure to remove your turkey from its packaging, pat dry and allow it to come to room temperature. It is important that you do this as soon as possible as it will take at least an hour for the turkey to warm up.”
2. Don’t forget to preheat
To ensure the temperature is just right, and you get the correct amount of cooking, make sure your cooker is at the right heat before you put the poultry in.
Jeff recommends: “Once you have your turkey adjusting to room temperature, be sure to preheat your oven to 210°C for fan assisted or 230°C for ovens without a fan (gas 8). Preheating your oven early will give you that all-important head start.”
3. 'Tis the season
Make sure your turkey is seasoned before you cook it – this ensures it has plenty of flavour when it comes out. The food expert suggests using butter, salt and lemon to make the taste even more delicious.
He remarked: “When the oven has reached the desired temperature, it is time to get your turkey ready for cooking. Soften some unsalted butter and add 15g of good quality fine sea salt and some lemon zest.
“Once it is all blended together, massage the butter mixture into the turkey breast by gently pulling away the skin. Then place the turkey onto a roasting tray and roast for 20 minutes.”
4. Check it's cooked through
Grab a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey is cooked all the way through. You can then take it out before it dries out, which is a downside of the poultry item.
Jeff said: “After 20 minutes roasting in the oven, cover the turkey with foil, reduce the heat to 160°C fan assisted or 180°C without a fan (gas 4) and continue to roast for an additional 2 ½ hours removing the foil for the final 20 minutes. The turkey’s core temperature should be a minimum of 65°C before resting.”
5. Time to take it out
Always rest the turkey before you dig in – and when that’s done, carve away and get serving.
Jeff added: “Remove the turkey from the oven and place onto a clean tray. To make sure the turkey retains moisture and is kept warm before dinner, cover it with a sheet of foil.
“Allow it to rest for up to an hour before carving. And voila!"
When is Thanksgiving and why is it celebrated?
In the US, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. This year, it falls on November 23.
Government offices, businesses and schools close for the day, and sometimes the day after, making it a four day weekend in the States. And let's not forget that Black Friday comes the day after!
The origin of the national holiday is widely believed to date back to 1621. This is when the Pilgrims settled in an area they named Plymouth.
Nowadays, it involved families coming together to share a feast centred around a turkey, and remembering what they are thankful for.
The family feats on a meal of turkey, stuffing and vegetables, a feast that resembles a British Christmas dinner. Then they usually finish off with a pumpkin pie.
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