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Turkey Tips: How to Cook the Best Turkey this Thanksgiving

McGonigles Turkey Tips_0This year, impress your friends and family by baking them the most delicious Thanksgiving turkey their taste buds have ever met. Here are Mike McGonigle’s turkey tips that will leave your guests coming back for seconds and thirds.

What You Need

  • Fresh Turkey from McGonigle’s
  • Butter
  • Salt & pepper
  • Poultry spice
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Thyme
  • Cheesecloth

Prepare Your Bird

Before you can enjoy the fruits of your labor, you first must prepare. Start by rinsing your fresh turkey from McGonigle’s Market, inside and out. Next stuff your dressing into the large cavity between the legs, as well as the smaller cavity on the opposite end. But don’t over pack. Stuffing will expand, so leave a little wiggle room in there.

Next, tie the bird’s legs together with string before placing it in a large roasting pan. Now it’s time to add your spices and herbs. Liberally salt and pepper your bird, and add in some poultry spice (a mix of sage and other spices), some ginger, garlic, and thyme. The amount you use will vary depending on the size of your turkey.

Lastly, add the secret ingredient that gives our famous turkeys so much flavor; butter, and lots of it. Use enough cheesecloth to fully wrap the turkey in. Then soak the cheescloth in melted butter and cover the turkey in it. Also add one inch of chicken broth to the bottom of the roasting pan. If you want to get really fancy (like Mike does) use turkey giblets, neck, wing tips and tail to make a turkey stock. Mike suggests starting this the night beforehand. Then, form a tent of foil over the turkey, and make sure the foil is open at both ends to allow heat convection.

Bake Like a Pro

Bake your turkey at 325 degrees. Baste often with pan juices. Once you get about 2/3 of the way through the cooking time, remove the foil tent to allow it to brown. (We will provide rough time estimates for turkey sizes below). Always make sure your meat is cooked thoroughly by using a meat thermometer. We suggest you steer clear of the pop-up thermometers, which are unreliable. The same cheap pop-up timers that are put in 7 lb. turkeys are also used in 12 lb. turkeys. Use a real meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh for the most accurate reading. Your ideal temperature will be 170 degrees. This is because the meat will continue to cook as it sits once you remove it from the oven. Remove the turkey and let is rest for 20-30 minutes before serving.

Cooking Times:

  • 8-12 lb. Turkey, 3 1/2 –4 hours, stuffed, 3-3 1/2 hours unstuffed
  • 12-16 lb. Turkey, 4-4 1/2 hours, stuffed, 3 1/2-4 hours, unstuffed
  • 16-20 lb. Turkey, 4 1/2-5 hour, stuffed, 4-4 1/2 hours, unstuffed
  • 20-24 lb. Turkey, 5-6 hours, stuffed, 4 1/2-5 hours, unstuffed
  • 24-28 lb. Turkey, 5 1/2-6 1/2 hours, stuffed, 5-6 hours, unstuffed

Come down to the corner of Ward Parkway and 79th Street or visit our website to reserve your McGonigle’s Market Thanksgiving turkey and to pick up all your other holiday meal necessities today.

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