How to spatchcock a turkey properly
Spatchcocking a turkey can cut your cooking time in half.
ProblemSolved, USA TODAY
Whether you like it fried, dried, barbecued or braised, everyone has their own way of cooking a Thanksgiving turkey.
But however you prepare it, there’s one thing all turkey chefs should strive for: a fully-cooked bird!
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a turkey must reach 165 F to be considered fully safe to eat. Though, some recipes will say the bird is good to take out of the oven once a meat thermometer reaches 155 or 160 F, as the temperature will rise as it rests.
Here’s the right temperatures to cook your turkey, from a beginner’s method to a more professional approach.
What’s the right temperature to cook a Thanksgiving turkey?
The slow-and-steady method:
This method is for the do-everything cook who wants to stick the bird in the oven and have it do its thing while you prepare the rest of the dinner.
Simply put the turkey in the oven at 325 F and leave it at that temperature the entire time. The amount of time you cook the bird depends on its size, but the end goal is the same: a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest portion of the turkey breast should read 155 F.
Brushing the bird with olive oil or butter every 20 minutes can help maintain moisture and darken the color of the skin.
The crispy-skin method:
This method is slightly more work than the slow-and-steady method, but will result in crispier, more golden skin on the bird.
Put the turkey in the oven at 325 F and leave it at that temperature for most of the cook time. Then in the last 45 minutes in the oven, remove the cover from the bird, bump up the oven temperature to 425 F and baste the turkey with butter.
The expert method:
For those confident in their turkey-cooking skills who wanting to achieve a crispy golden, perfectly moist bird, this method is for you.
Put your turkey in the oven at 425 F for 40-45 minutes. Then lower the oven temperature to 350 F for the rest of the cooking time.
Like the slow-and-steady method, brushing the bird with olive oil or butter every 20 minutes can help maintain moisture and darken the color of the skin.