Local Chef Offers Turkey Tips
Follow these steps from local personal chef Darlene DeMesa, and your guests will be raving about your Thanksgiving bird.
Turkey is a Thanksgiving Day staple.
Thanksgiving just isn't Thanksgiving without it.
Before you head to the store, Cherokee County personal chef Darlene DeMesa offers these turkey tips:
- "I usually buy (a) one pound per person sized turkey."
- "Let it thaw in the refrigerator three to four days before Thanksgiving." (Smaller turkeys won't require as much time.)
- "When you're thawing, you can take the packaging off of (the turkey) a couple hours at the end (of the thawing process) for crispier skin."
- "I like roasting it in a Reynolds cooking bag because it comes out juicy and moist and cooks faster. Leave the marinade in there while you're cooking it. For crispier skin, take (the turkey) out of the bag the last 30 minutes."
- ALTERNATIVE PREPARATION STYLE
- "I did this last year. I had the butcher cut the turkey into pieces—a turkey breast, leg, thigh. Roast them on a baking dish and it's really faster cooking. I know it's not the traditional turkey, but it's the newer way of cooking turkey. You can cook them separately. It's easier to cook and serve."
- FINAL CHECK
- "Make sure the internal temperature is 180º between the leg and the thigh when you're done (cooking)."
- "For even cooking, cook stuffing in a separate dish. It's healthier that way. You risk bacteria in the stuffing if you put in the bird."
If all else fails, call the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line at 800-288-8372.
Darlene DeMesa started The Main Course personal chef service in 2006. She's a member of the United States Personal Chef Association and graduate of the Culinary Business Academy. Occasionally, she contributes recipes to Canton-Sixes Patch. For all of her recipes, go to the Cherokee County Personal Chef Darlene DeMesa topics page.