Getting Ready for Thanksgiving: Turkey Tips

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(We promise, this is the last discussion of turkey until next year.)

  • To determine what size turkey to buy, count on each person eating 1/2 - 3/4 pounds of meat. If you want guaranteed leftovers, plan on 1 pound for each person.

  • Remove the your fresh turkey from the refrigerator at least a half hour (no more than an hour) before putting it in the oven.

  • If you have a frozen turkey, thaw it in the refrigerator for 24 hours per 4-5 pounds, or thaw it in sealed plastic, completely submerged in cold water for 30 minutes per pound (changing the water every half hour). This will make you get a fresh turkey next year.

  • Roast your turkey at 350ºF for 20 minutes per pound (for an unstuffed bird) and 25 minutes per pound for a stuffed one. Use a meat thermometer to test whether or not the turkey is done. Place the thermometer in the thigh, perpendicular to the pan where the drumstick and the thigh come together. Test also in the meatiest part of the thigh parallel to the pan. Once the reading reach 165 - 170, take it out.

  • After removing from the oven, wait at least 20 minutes before carving. This will help the juices set. Loosely tent the bird with foil and cover with a damp kitchen towel to keep the heat in.

  • Carve with a sharp knife that has a narrow blade. Here's how.

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Sara Kate is the founding editor of The Kitchn. She co-founded the site in 2005 and has since written three cookbooks. She is most recently the co-author of The Kitchn Cookbook, to be published in October 2014 by Clarkson Potter.