Preparing a turkey can feel like a daunting task. But there are easy preps you can do in advance that can make or break the taste. That's the word from Chef Kevin Minnick, owner of Maine Course in downtown Quincy.
Apply a dry brine for several days in advance of your big meal. Chef Minnick suggests a combination of salt, brown sugar and lemon and orange zest. Click here to watch the process and get his tips on a dry brine.
If you don't have that much time, try a wet brine. That's essentially a bath of sugar, salt and other seasonings.
"Once you submerge proteins, just like anything else, it's going to naturally absorb all that water. Once it absorbs all it can, it will stop. It's completely saturated," Chef Minnick said.
Soak and refrigerate your bird for up to six hours before baking for a moist cut of meat. Click here for a demonstration on a wet brine.
Bake your turkey at 350 degrees. Allow 15 minutes of cook time for every pound of turkey. But when it's done - don't cut in right away.
So you shouldn't just take it out of the oven and serve it?
"No never," Chef Minnick said. "
We've imparted moisture and flavor into it, so if we cut it hot, it will run all out. So you have to let the muscles and turkey relax before you cut into it again."
Remember, dark meat cooks slower than white meat. Once the turkey breast hits 165 degrees, remove it and allow the dark meat to roast longer.
Chef Minnick says your turkey stock is the most important part of your Thanksgiving dinner. Stock is used in almost everything, from the gravy to the dressing. Click here to watch how to make good stock.
From here, stock is used for turkey gravy. Click here to watch two different ways of making gravy.
Cocktails can also take hold of the Thanksgiving flavor. Click here to watch a demonstration of a homemade hot cranberry cocktail.