I am in full Thanksgiving mode, cooking friends! This is the time I check all my equipment so I don’t have to fight the crowds in Williams-Sonoma the night before Thanksgiving because I can’t find my meat thermometer. Today I’m sharing my favorite essentials for cooking and serving a turkey!
A good roasting pan will properly cook your turkey and not allow the juices to burn. I highly recommend a stainless steel pan, as opposed to nonstick or aluminum. The bottom should be thick so you can put it on your burner to make gravy. I also prefer straight-sided roasters and not flared which take up more oven space. The roaster should have sturdy handles so you can carry the bird safely out of the oven.
Williams-Sonoma has a great selection of roasters here. If your oven is small, do not assume every roasted will fit. You may want to take measurements. This is the All-clad roaster I have and love. You will also need a v-shaped rack, but you do not need turkey lifters. I just use rubber gloves to flip the turkey and to carve.
I’m into basting the turkey every 20-30 minutes because I think it helps keep the bird moist. I do not, however, like to use plastic with hot foods. So I recommend a stainless steel turkey baster. Try and buy one that comes with a brush so you can clean the inside easily. I like this one by Aroma.
The only way to determine whether the turkey is done is to test the temperature of the bird with a meat thermometer. You cannot go by a chart on the packaging of the turkey or even a recipe. Those provide good estimates, but there are too many variables that can affect how the turkey cooks. If you are not sure if your meat thermometer works, place the tip into boiling water (wear an oven mitt to protect your hand). If the temp reads 212 degrees (although not every thermometer goes that high,) your meat thermometer is accurate. If it’s off by a lot, you need a new one. I have had this inexpensive thermometer for many years and it’s great. Although I was so intrigued by this one from provisions.com that hooks up to my iPhone that I bought it. You get an alert when the turkey reaches the right temp. So no more trying to guesstimate. I’m going to try it out this week!
Cutting Board with Deep Grooves
It is not ideal to carve a turkey on a cutting board that is straight across with no grooves to catch the turkey juices which end up spilling onto your countertop, or worse, on you and your new shoes. Get yourself a nice big wood board with deep grooves so the juices stay put. I have one similar to this one by John Boos and I’ve had it for years. It is perfect for the job. This Boos board I found on amazon is a similar size and style, but also has hand grips on the side (for $20 more.) If you want a carving board that looks beautiful too, I love this one from provisions.com. It doesn’t have grooves, but instead slopes on an angle and collects run-off that way.
I like a good sharp knife for carving the turkey that is about 8-10 inches long with a pointy tip, not a round one. You also want a straight edged blade and not a serrated blade which will tear the meat. This Wustof set is what I have been using for many, many years, and I think it does a great job. All knives, even very high quality ones, have to be sharpened regularly, though. If you haven’t taken yours to be sharpened in a while, now is a great time to do that because everyone else will want to do that the weekend before Thanksgiving. Your best bet is to go to a local cutlery store. If you don’t have one of those where you live, try a cooking store. Sharp knives are safer and much more enjoyable to use than dull!
Until next week!