It’s that time of year again where cooking the elusive perfect moist turkey sifts out the amateur cooks from the chefs. No one wants to be embarrassed round the table or let the family meal down but by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. So you might want to read on…
If you want guests to still quote ‘the most amazing turkey they ever had’ years down the line, then all you have to do is avoid these top 10 common mistakes.
The ultimate sin of the meat cooking world – not letting it rest. For all the following steps to work, you must give the turkey a foil blanket and let it rest for 20-30 minutes. This allows all those juices to be soaked up and help keep flavor in the meat.
It’s a tool regularly found in the hands of designated turkey carvers but it’s actually much better to go without. The fork isn’t as stable as your hand, plus it can rip the golden skin away from the meat (the perfectionist in me weeps). The turkey will be hot though, so protect your hand with a towel or heat glove whilst cutting.
Sharpen your knife before you start as the more you tug, the more the meat and skin will tear. Think cutting swiftly through a block of butter. This only happens with a sharp knife.
If you have stuffed your meat (why wouldn’t you…), take care when removing it as not to rip the meat or skin surrounding it. Tongs or a spoon as a good shout.
Our eyes are always bigger than our belly and we never seem to learn, but do try not to over carve. Only take off the meat that you think you will eat otherwise the meat will go cold and dry super quickly.
Taking off the wings first seems to be a common step in making the carving process easier but hold off. The wings can help keep the bird balanced whilst you carve the rest of the meat.
No Thigh Meat
Personally, I’m a massive fan of the darker meat rather than the crisp white breast meat because when cooked right, it is so juicy and moist. Don’t let the soggy skin that surrounds it put you off – it’s honestly like hidden treasure and should be included when you carve.
Removing From The Bone
Get perfect widthwise slices by removing the whole breast and carving separate away from the bone. Trust me – you will find this way easier!
The Wrong Direction
Remember to cut straight down width-ways to get lovely unbroken slices at the perfect width. Lots get this wrong, especially when carving on the bone (return to previous bit of advice…)
Hot, Hot, Hot
Last bit of advice is to use a hot plate. We all know how quickly meat goes cold once its carved so make sure it’s kept as toasty warm as you’ll be cooking it!
If you still feel unsure of how to treat your bird with care, watch this handy guide:
Happy Holidays to all our readers!