Cooking a turkey is all about timing. Cooking too long will dry out the bird, but cooking too little means you’re in for some undercooked meat. Brining your turkey helps keep it moist and flavorful as it cooks, but there’s still art to successfully roasting a bird. So let me walk you through my tips for brining your bird and cooking the breast meat first so that you can get perfectly juicy white meat every time!
Brining a Turkey
Brining is a cooking technique that involves soaking meat in a salt-water solution. It’s especially useful for poultry, which tends to dry out during roasting and can benefit from some extra moisture.
This method works best with whole turkeys because they’re larger than chicken breasts or thighs and therefore have more surface area for the brine to penetrate (and flavor). You’ll also want to use kosher salt instead of table salt when you’re brining because it dissolves more easily in water–this will ensure that all parts of your bird get evenly coated with seasoning!
Tips for Brining Turkey and Cooking the Breast Meat
- Brining a turkey is easy, but there are a couple of things to remember when cooking.
- If you brine your turkey, remember to rinse it well before cooking. The salt can make the meat tough if not rinsed properly.
- Also remember that if you brine your turkey, pat it dry before cooking so that the skin doesn’t stick or tear during roasting time.
How Long to Cook a Turkey
The cooking time for a turkey depends on several factors, including the size of the bird, how it is cooked (baked or roasted), and even how long it has been brined.
The weight of your turkey is not the only factor that affects how long it takes to cook; its shape also matters. A turkey with more breast meat will cook faster than one with more thigh meat because there’s less fat insulation around its legs to protect them from overcooking. And if you’re using an oven that doesn’t heat up as quickly as others might–or if you’re using an old-fashioned roasting pan–your bird could take longer than expected due to lower heat retention in those materials!
Finally: don’t forget about temperature! If your oven isn’t hot enough yet when it comes time for cooking day (or if someone forgot), then they can still use their microwave as an alternative means of preparation!
It takes about one hour per pound to cook a turkey.
- Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. The turkey should be cooked through, with no pink in the center or juices running clear.
- Don’t use a roaster. A roaster will not have enough room for all of your ingredients and may cause them to burn before they are fully cooked; instead, place your turkey directly on an oven rack lined with aluminum foil (to make cleanup easier).
- Don’t stuff it! Stuffing makes it difficult to tell when your bird is done because there’s no way of knowing how much heat has been lost between stuffing and meat during cooking time–and if you’re trying to keep things simple by keeping things out of the bird itself (like potatoes), then this step becomes especially important! Instead: season whatever side dishes you’re planning on serving up alongside with herbs like sage or rosemary before adding them into their respective dishes; then just serve those alongside each other later when everything else is ready!
So, if you’re looking to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving, it takes about one hour per pound. If you want to brine it first, add an extra hour or two for that process. Then again, if your turkey is frozen when you buy it (as many are), then plan on cooking longer than usual because of the ice crystals inside!