CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -
It’s nearly turkey time and the experts at Ohio City Provisions have all the step-by-step pointers to ensure a perfect bird at your holiday table.
Owner Trevor Clatterbuck says the most common question they get is “how big of a turkey do I need?”
He says nearly a third of the pre-cooked weight is bone.
“We suggest a pound and a half to two pounds per person. And that’s because if you have an audience who wants all white meat, you’ll tear through this and you’ll have a lot of dark meat left over,”
Clatterbuck suggests brining your turkey to keep it juicy through the cooking process.
“Brining is going to be the process of essentially soaking a protein in salt water. It’ll change the structure of the protein to allow them to exchange flavorless water for salted water. It’ll season your turkey and allow it to hold more moisture,”
You'll want to pull the turkey out of the brine on Thanksgiving day, rinse it and set it out for about three hours to bring it back up to room temperature. Dry off the skin to ensure crispiness, said Clatterbuck.
Vinnie Delagrange, a butcher at Ohio City Provisions says it’s important to truss your Thanksgiving turkey.
"What it does is tighten the whole bird up, and creates uniform cooking. You can end up with a lot of air gaps. You already got that big cavity in the middle of the bird. To kind of get the legs and breast and wings to roast evenly you want to tighten everything back up. The last step where we cinch up under the breast bone, that will plump the breast up and give you a nice presentation," he said.
If you’re planning traditional stuffing, Chef David Kocab, co host of Taste Buds says cook it outside the bird.
“You have to cook the stuffing all the way through and by the time the stuffing is cooked all the way through the bird is usually overcooked,” he said.
When you’re ready to put the turkey in the oven, it’s best to put it on a rack in the roasting pan, according to Clatterbuck.
“But at a lot of places you don’t have a rack, so you can use your carrots, your onions and your celery to create a bed underneath your turkey to roast on. The benefit of the rack is it’s easier to remove later,” he said.
He suggests drying the outside of the bird, then seasoning the cavity with salt and pepper.
“Put aromatics like rosemary, thyme, maybe a lemon, onions whatever you’re in favor of,” he said.
The team at OCP starts their turkeys at 400-425 degrees, for about a half hour and then drops the oven to 325 degress to finish it off.
In the bottom of the put a little bit of stock to keep your vegetables and any of the early drippings from scorching at the bottom of the pan. Then baste it with the liquid out of the bottom.
“For a crispy skin at the end you can finish with butter, oil or grease. Something like that will help it crisp up that last twenty minutes or so,” said Clatterbuck.
When it’s time to check the temperature, Clatterbuck says insert a thermometer into the back of the thigh.
“As you’re putting it in you’re going to need to feel around because you don’t want to be in the joint. You want to be off the bone but right in the lean meat. This is usually the slowest roasting spot,” he said.
Pull the turkey out of the oven when that spot registers at 155-157 degrees. Tent it loosely in foil so the steam can continue to escape and continue to carry over cook to 165 degrees. The turkey should rest for 10--30 minutes. It usually averages out to about 12 minutes per pound.