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How-To

How to Prep a Turkey for Roasting

Every recipe will give you slightly different instructions on roasting your Thanksgiving turkey. But in this video, you'll learn a few tips that you can use with any recipe to get a more tender, flavorful turkey and crisp skin.

Sarah Breckenridge
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First, rub the turkey with a little vegetable or olive oil all over the skin. This will help it brown evenly. The next step is most important: Season the turkey all over with kosher salt and pepper. You want to make sure to get the salt and pepper on the back, then turn it over and season the breast and leg. Don’t forget to season inside the cavity, as well.

Next, tie the turkey’s legs together with kitchen twine; this is called a basic truss. Trussing helps keep the turkey in a nice compact shape, which ensures it will roast evenly. Loop some kitchen twine around each leg joint, tie, and trim the ends. 

It’s a good idea to trim off the very tips of the wings, because they are so thin they tend to burn, and there’s not a lot of meat on them anyway. Tuck the wings back behind the turkey’s neck to keep the turkey more stable in the roasting pan.

Finally, it’s always a good idea to use a roasting rack inside your pan, which keeps the bottom from sitting in the pan juices. A V-rack is ideal because it allows hot air can circulate all around the turkey.

Bonus tip: For the juiciest breast meat, start out roasting your turkey breast side down. After 30 minutes, flip the turkey and let it finish roasting breast-side up. Any ridges in the breast from the rack will smooth out by the time the turkey’s finished roasting.

First, rub the turkey with a little vegetable or olive oil all over the skin. This will help it brown evenly. The next step is most important: Season the turkey all over with kosher salt and pepper. You want to make sure to get the salt and pepper on the back, then turn it over and season the breast and leg. Don’t forget to season inside the cavity, as well.

Next, tie the turkey’s legs together with kitchen twine; this is called a basic truss. Trussing helps keep the turkey in a nice compact shape, which ensures it will roast evenly. Loop some kitchen twine around each leg joint, tie, and trim the ends. 

It’s a good idea to trim off the very tips of the wings, because they are so thin they tend to burn, and there’s not a lot of meat on them anyway. Tuck the wings back behind the turkey’s neck to keep the turkey more stable in the roasting pan.

Finally, it’s always a good idea to use a roasting rack inside your pan, which keeps the bottom from sitting in the pan juices. A V-rack is ideal because it allows hot air can circulate all around the turkey.

Bonus tip: For the juiciest breast meat, start out roasting your turkey breast side down. After 30 minutes, flip the turkey and let it finish roasting breast-side up. Any ridges in the breast from the rack will smooth out by the time the turkey’s finished roasting.

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