A Thanksgiving feastIn the next two weeks, you'll be hearing about all kinds of gadgets and gizmos that supposedly will help you produce a gorgeously burnished bird like the ones you drool over in magazine spreads. But really all you have to do is pop a fresh or defrosted turkey into a 325°F oven and let it roast until it's done. If you don't have a roasting pan, pick up a disposable aluminum one in the supermarket -- trust me the results will be just the same as if you invest in a multi-hundred dollar beauty (I know because I've used both -- many times). If you like you can rub the skin with a little butter and oil and/or salt and pepper, place an onion in the center cavity, insert cloves of garlic into the flesh, baste Tom occasionally, but all of these tricks make a minimal difference in the taste, texture or appearance of the roasted turkey.Taylor Instant Red
Related: Food Thermometer Reviews
But there are two pieces of equipment you absolutely must have if you want to serve something delectable. First of all, arm yourself with an instant-read thermometer ... not a meat thermometer. With an instant read model you get quicker and accurate results. Let's face it, there's nothing worse than carving up your roast and finding that the juices and flesh are pinky ... it's unappetizing, not very tasty, and could be downright unsafe. And when everyone's seated, waiting impatiently to dig into the candied sweets, biscuits, and cornbread stuffing that are already on the table, it's way too late to salvage an undercooked turkey. According to the USDA, turkey's safe to eat when the temperature is 165°F but my advice is to make sure it's 170°F in multiple spots in the breast, thighs, and legs. This might mean slightly drier white meat (that's where gravy comes in) but eliminates any chance of slimy raw-looking meat at the joints or close to the bone. Check out our Best Thermometer Reviews to choose a top-tested thermometer but full disclosure: I use a Taylor dial model ($7)!
Related: A Made-to-Order Thanksgiving
OK, you've cooked it to perfection ... now make it easy to carve and look beautiful on the platter by using a sharp knife! A long thin carver like the Wüsthof Classic Ikon Carving Knife ($130) is nice to have but even a chef's knife can do the trick as long as it's sharp. Test the sharpness by letting the edge just rest on top of a ripe tomato ... if its weight pierces the skin, no need to do anything but if it's not, now, a few weeks before Thanksgiving, is the time to pull out or buy a knife sharpener or if you prefer send your knives out to be honed.
Interested in making just a small investment in in a carving set? Check out the new Joseph Joseph Duo Carve ($30), a carving knife and fork that store together in a slim protective sheath.
For tips on carving the turkey like a pro, be sure to see our step-by-step instructions.
- By Sharon Franke
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