Is achieving crispy Skin on your Holiday Feast Turkey a hit-and-miss affair? Can’t seem to figure out why you sometimes get the result you want but, other times, get only yellow, rubbery Skin? There are some basic rules to ensure you’ll get beautiful, crispy, golden brown skin on the Bird every time!
Rule No. 1: Whether your rinse your Bird before cooking or not (I recommend it!), it’s important to dry off the Bird before you put it in the oven. This is a good tip when handling any meat you want to brown or crisp-up on the outside. If the meat is wet on the surface, it will only poach, not roast! This is particularly true when you cook in a covered pan. You’re setting up a sauna bath for the Bird, not driving off moisture and caramelizing the Skin. Which brings us to…
Rule No. 2: If it your practice to roast under a lid or a cover of aluminum foil. Be sure to take the lid or cover off for the last 45 minutes or so of cooking to give the skin a chance to crisp.
Rule No. 3: Once you’ve dried off the Bird, you can enhance its chances of finishing up with golden, crispy Skin by rubbing it with Butter or Cooking Oil.
Rule No. 4: Some Turkeys come with a built-in advantage – pre-injection with Butter or Oil. This fat will bubble out to the surface and self-baste the Bird, helping crisp-up the Skin in the process.
Rule No. 5: To avoid burning the Skin, cook your Bird low and slow. Pre-heat the oven to 325 F and allow 30 minutes per lb. / 500 g of total cooking time. Use a meat thermometer to test the Bird after the first 2/3 of estimated cooking time. It should be well on it’s way to its final destination – 175 F – by then. Check the internal temperature regularly after this point to assure that the Bird does not overcook and get dry! Allow the bird to rest under a foil tent for 20-30 minutes after removal from the oven.
Rule No. 6: Use any or all of the above Rules in combination to ensure that your Holiday Bird comes out just the way you want it!
~ Maggie J.