How to Cook a Juicy Roast Turkey

Turkey is a one of the most common food items served at the holidays. Whether you enjoy it as a holiday staple or a simple family dinner, you want your meal to be perfect. Learning how to cook a juicy roast turkey may take a few more steps, but the extra effort is worth every juicy bite.

Choose the type of turkey

Grabbing the biggest turkey from the meat department is the easiest way to buy a turkey but it is not necessarily the best way. There are different types of turkeys available including heritage, free-range and the standard turkey that is typically found in every supermarket. The standard turkey generally has more breast meat and that can be a drier meat. While heritage turkeys have less breast meat, they can also be harder to find and typically are more expensive.

The brand of turkey can also make a juicy difference. Some of the more popular brands have prebasted breast meat for a juicier and more flavorful turkey. When in doubt, read the label. If a previously cooked turkey turned out dry, opt for a different brand this time around.

Choose the size of turkey

After you have decided the type of turkey, choose a size. Consider how many people are will be serving, how much the people may eat (children generally eat less), and if you want leftovers to place in the freezer.

For every one adult and two children, you will need at least one pound of bird. If you want leftovers or you are serving big appetites, go for at least two pounds for every one adult and two children. To make it simpler, Global Gourmet recommends a size equal to one pound of turkey per person. This should ensure enough for leftovers.

Cooking the turkey

How you cook the bird is the important factor in a juicy roast turkey. There are many techniques that home cooks have used to roast the perfect, juiciest bird on the block. What many of these cooks have in common are prepreparing the turkey for the oven and continuous basting.

Certain parts of the turkey need special attention -- primarily the white meat or the breast. Whether you use vegetable oil, butter or a special marinade, spread a layer of flavor generously on the body of the turkey. Applying this layer also helps prevent the skin from drying out during the roasting process.

Even if you prefer to have your stuffing cooked separately, add some additional flavor to the turkey's cavity with some type of ingredients. Stuffing or other ingredients such as onions and other vegetables will release juices while the turkey cooks.

Cover the turkey to prevent over-browning and baste about every hour. Roast the turkey low and slow for the recommended amount of time. Approximately 30 minutes before the turkey is done cooking, remove the foil and brown the skin to perfection.

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