Facebook Live

Turkey Talk: How to Cook the Bird

In our third Thanksgiving Facebook Live segment we serve up advice for how to prepare your bird this holiday.

Published Nov. 17, 2016.

Tired of dry, tasteless turkey? In this week’s Facebook Live segment, America’s Test Kitchen TV hosts Bridget Lancaster and Julia Collin Davison show you how to prepare a foolproof turkey and add flavor and moisture with a few simple solutions.

Whether you are roasting a turkey for the first time this year or just want to brush up on the basics, we’ll be your turkey support group this holiday and provide instruction and tips for getting a perfectly cooked, juicy turkey. Find more inspiration for how to cook your Thanksgiving turkey in our Thanksgiving Guide.

How to Cook the Bird

Turkey Talk

Watch as Bridget Lancaster and Julia Collin Davison answer your pressing turkey questions and offer their expert advice to ensure your Thanksgiving is as successful as possible.  
Watch the Video
Julia and Bridget share advice on how to get a perfectly cooked, juicy turkey.

In this week’s Facebook Live, Bridget and Julia share advice on what you should be doing this week to prepare for Thanksgiving. We recommend cleaning out your refrigerator to make space for your Thanksgiving groceries, baking bread on National Homemade Bread Day, and planning for when you need to start defrosting your bird. To thaw your turkey, we recommend storing it in your refrigerator one day for every four pounds. Place it on a tray to catch any liquid, and if you are brining or salting we suggest factoring in an extra day before Thanksgiving to do so. Check out our full Thanksgiving countdown calendar here.

No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without turkey. During the segment, Bridget and Julia showed fans how to make two of our favorite turkey recipes: Turkey for a Crowd and Slow-Roasted Turkey with Gravy.

If you have one oven and a long guest list for Thanksgiving, only a large turkey will do. For our Turkey for a Crowd recipe, initial high heat achieves crisp, mahogany skin, while lowering the heat for the remaining cooking time finishes the turkey and ensures tender, moist meat.  

While we combat the issues that often plague roasting a large turkey in our Turkey for a Crowd recipe, roasting a whole turkey can be a race to keep the white meat from drying out while the dark meat cooks through. So who says you have to roast it whole? With our Slow-Roasted Turkey with Gravy recipe we forgo a whole turkey in favor of a breast and two leg quarters (or whatever turkey parts your family prefers—it's customizable!), which we roast on a rack over baking sheets to promote air circulation, guaranteeing moist, flavorful meat and bronzed skin for your holiday table centerpiece.  

Knowing how to carve a turkey can give you a leg up on Thanksgiving Day. We suggest removing the leg quarters first—and then detaching the wings—to make carving the breast easier. Carving the breast meat off in piece first and then cutting the breast meat crosswise into thin slices for serving makes for a tidier presentation and more attractive portions. We also avoid turning the turkey breast side down during carving so as not to mar its crisp skin. Make sure to rest the bird before carving so it is cool enough to handle and its juices have time to redistribute.

Tune in next week, November 22 at 12PM EST, for our Thanksgiving Hotline Facebook Live segment. Come with your Thanksgiving cooking questions! Turn on live video notifications for America's Test Kitchen on Facebook to get viewing updates, and join the conversation by asking your best Thanksgiving questions.

Start a 14-Day Free Trial to access all of our Thanksgiving recipes and more. For more recipe inspiration, visit our America's Test Kitchen Thanksgiving Guide.

This is a members' feature.