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How to Cook a Turkey That's Not Dry

How to Cook a Turkey That’s Not Dry

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Whether you’re responsible for cooking the holiday turkey for your family this year or you want turkey in the middle of summer, cooking a turkey that isn’t dry is always a priority. If roasting the turkey upside-down isn’t doing enough to keep your bird moist and delicious, consider employing these strategies on your next attempt.

Why turkey gets dry

If you’re fantastic at cooking everything except for turkey, you may wonder why you can’t seem to get it right. It’s not you; it’s the turkey. Literally.

The bulk of commercial turkeys available for sale are mostly white meat, which can naturally be dry because of how little fat it possesses. If that wasn’t bad enough, your turkey isn’t technically considered done until all the dark meat is also cooked through, which is problematic because it cooks to a higher temperature than your white meat.

Roasting your turkey

When your goal is to present that perfectly roasted whole bird, your only real option is to turn the oven temperature down and bump up the length of time you let it cook. Brining your bird prior to cooking can impart more flavor to the meat and add necessary moisture that can keep it succulent when it comes out. While basting can help deliver moisture to the breast meat throughout cooking, using a flavor injector that will allow you to deliver the juices back into the meat would be the better option.

Ditch the dark meat

If no one in you family is really all that wild about dark meat, there’s no reason to cook a whole turkey. Instead, look for a turkey breast or turkey breast roast. You’ll brine it and cook it as you would the whole turkey, except it will cook faster because it lacks all the tough connective tissue found in the dark meat.

Staggered cooking

In most households, people let the dark meat that requires extra cooking time hold the entire bird hostage in the oven. If you’re not particularly into the whole bird on the table meal presentation, you can cook your bird in stages. This means that you can take the turkey out to remove the breast meat as soon as it’s ready and then put the rest back in the over to finish cooking. Of course, this method really works best when you’re preparing the turkey in advance of your meal. Otherwise, you’ll have dark meat lovers waiting while everyone else is eating.

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