Secrets Behind the Perfect Turkey

Posted at 2:00 PM, Nov 05, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-05 14:00:00-05

GREENSBORO, NC (November 5, 2013) – Stressed about the thought of preparing the ideal Thanksgiving Day feast?  Intimidated by cooking that mighty bird to perfection?  The Fresh Market is pleased to offer Holiday Turkey Tips & Tricks for roasting your best holiday turkey ever.  Below, the specialty grocer dishes up advice for a delicious, easy holiday feast this year!

Raised in Pennsylvania’s Amish Country, TFM turkeys are fed a vegetarian diet free of animal by-products. The Fresh Market turkeys are sold fresh, never frozen, and are unmatched in taste and tenderness.  

The Fresh Market Tips for a Perfect Turkey

  • Don’t underestimate how much turkey to buy - To ensure enough meat for leftovers and seconds, allow at least one pound of turkey for each person. Large tom turkeys (about 14 pounds and up) have more meat on their bones than smaller hens, but this is a good rule of thumb.
  • Be flexible with roasting times - There are many variables that can affect the roasting time: the temperature of the turkey, inaccurate oven temperature, too-frequent opening of the oven door (which drops the temperature), and even the temperature of the stuffing. Tack an additional 30 minutes onto the estimated roasting time, just to be sure.
  • Use an accurate meat thermometer - Use the pop-up thermometer as an indicator that the turkey might be done, but back it up with a digital meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer in the thickest part of thigh (between the thigh and the drumstick), not touching the bone.
  • Stuff warm stuffing in a cold turkey - Contrary to what you might think, it is best to stuff a turkey with warm, freshly made stuffing. Stuffing must be cooked to 160ºF to kill any potentially harmful bacteria, so it has a better chance of reaching that temperature if the stuffing is warm.
  • Let the turkey rest before carving - A rest period before carving (for the turkey, not the cook) is one of the secrets to a moist, juicy bird. The hot juices in the turkey must cool and relax back into the meat—if carved too soon, they will squirt out and contribute to dry meat. The larger the bird, the longer it can stand at room temperature without cooling off. Allow 30 minutes for an average-sized bird of about 15 pounds and up to one hour for large birds around 20 pounds. With the turkey on the platter, the oven is now free for reheating side dishes.

For additional turkey inspiration and Thanksgiving recipes, pick up a copy of Cooking in Season with The Fresh Market (sold exclusively at The Fresh Market stores nationwide).