NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – If you’re planning on cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving, listen to these do’s and don’ts from a pro to cook the perfect bird.

This time next week, a lot of families will be getting ready to cook a turkey, and there are lots of truths and myths when it comes to getting it right, reports CBS2’s Cindy Hsu.

Chef Herve Malivert, the culinary director at the International Culinary Center in Soho, says look for an organic free-range turkey. When it comes to size, go for a 12- to 15-pound bird.

If you have a larger group, opt for two turkeys instead of one huge one. It’s easier to control cooking time.

“The smaller bird, they’re a little bit more tender where a larger bird will be a bit older with less flavor,” he said.

If your turkey is frozen, defrost it slowly in the refrigerator over two or three days.

Make-up a brine with water, vegetables and any seasoning you like.

Bring it to a boil then strain it.

Fill a syringe with the brine and inject it deeply into the turkey all over the place.

To get a moist turkey with crispy skin, use your hands to loosen up the skin from the meat. Whip-up some butter, add lemon zest and parsley, and rub the butter mixture in between the skin and meat, and all over the outside of the turkey as well.

When it comes to stuffing, cook it outside the turkey, but if you’re including veggies in your stuffing you can cook the vegetables inside the bird.

Instead of a rack in the cooking pan, Malivert uses big chunks of veggies and fresh herbs so the bird doesn’t stick to the pan.

He also takes the wings and flips them underneath the bird, then into the pan. He adds corn oil and cheap wine for more flavor and moisture.

He says the biggest mistake is trying to cook quickly.

“Do not rush the cooking time on a turkey,” said Malivert. “Start slow, start with a 300-degree oven.”

He says to check on your turkey every half hour and keep basting it with juices in the pan.

But if this all sounds too much, “just go to a restaurant,” said Malivert. “We take care of you.”


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