You had a beehive of activities since morning. It's Christmas, and the visitors will be arriving soon. You start putting foods in different dishes, and the turkey catches your attention. You had tested it with the meat thermometer before, but who knows, maybe the thermometer was faulty. You decide to check the thigh, and alas, a pinkish liquid drips. So what do you do with the undercooked turkey? You can't afford to give it to the visitors before it's fully cooked. They can get food poisoning. Time is flying; you need to act.
Turkey is delicious but cooking it will cost you time and effort. If you are not careful, you can mess with it easily. Failure to cook it well will result in food poisoning. Remember, the meat has fat, liquid, and proteins. If you overcook it, heat will drain all the fat and liquid, and you will end up with tough meat. To avoid all the extremes, follow this recipe next time.
How to Cook Turkey
Choose The Right One.
If you want to cook a finger-licking turkey, go for the fresh one. Avoid the turkey that has overstayed in the freezer or display. A fresh turkey should not have preservatives since it will interfere with the taste. Depending on the number of visitors, buy the right size. To avoid looking mean, ensure that every visitor will get at least a pound.
If you fail to get a fresh turkey, you can still take a frozen one. Cooking it at that state will take longer, and you risk ending up with undercooked meat. Start by defrosting it either in a fridge or a sink full of water. Since raw meat has bacteria, wash your hands before handling any other food. Ensure that the turkey doesn't get into contact with other food. Clean the utensil that you will use on your turkey.
If you are in a hurry, you can start by preheating your oven up to 415 degrees F. After roasting the turkey for at least 30 minutes; you should reduce it to 325 degrees F. That should minimize the time it will take to cook your turkey. Otherwise, you can preheat your oven up to 325 degrees F and cook without changing the heat. Use an aluminum foil to cover the roasting pan.
Determine the cooking time using a turkey-cooking calculator depending on its weight. Put the turkey on the roasting pan and place it in the oven. Let it cook for some time before checking. If the breast is turning the color quickly, cover the turkey with foil to lock the moisture in. 30 minutes before it gets ready, consider removing the foil and help it acquire a nice crispy color. Note that if you keep on opening the oven when cooking, the heat will sneak out. That means your turkey will take longer to cook.
Test If It's Ready
You can test if the turkey is ready using various ways. The most accurate way is using a meat thermometer. The thigh is meaty and takes longer to cook. That means if the thigh is well cooked, then the entire turkey is ready. Take your thermometer and check the thigh. If the temperature is 180 degrees F, the meat is ready.
What if your thermometer is faulty? Glancing and judging by its color can be deceiving. Pierce the thigh and take a look at the color of the liquid. If it's clear, the meat is ready. If it's reddish/pinkish, add more minutes but don't overcook. If it's ready, leave it for 20 minutes in the oven. If the visitors are yet to arrive, you can wrap it with aluminum foil to keep it warm.
Now that you know how to cook the turkey, what happens if you end up with an undercooked turkey? Knowing how to recook undercooked turkey will save the day. Luckily, you can quickly fix it even when the guests are already seated.
Fixing Undercooked Turkey
If you notice that the turkey is undercooked when serving, don't embarrass yourself. Start by excusing yourself and take the turkey with you. Slice it into smaller pieces to enable it to cook faster. Preheat your oven and place the pieces on the baking sheet. Let the turkey bake at a temperature of 375 degrees F.
Since you don't want to overcook it, check after 15 minutes. If it's not ready, give it another 15 minutes. If the internal temperature gets to 165 degrees F, allow it to rest for another 15 minutes. The internal heat will get to 180 degrees F. Take your turkey and serve your guests cheerfully.
Storing Left Overs
Maybe you had overestimated the size. After eating, avoid leaving the leftover at room temperature for long. Bacteria will accumulate faster and spoil it. Let it cook first before putting it in your fridge. You should eat it within 3-4 days. You can decide to freeze it. Start by cutting into smaller pieces before putting it in an airtight container and freezing it. It will be okay for the next three months.
Eating Left Overs
Whether you put it in the fridge or the freezer, don't defrost more than you are willing to eat. Regular defrosting will only ruin the turkey's flavor. If you handle it well, it will retain its delicious taste.
Cooking turkey can be frustrating and rewarding at the same time. Preparation and cooking can take along. If you're not careful, you will end up with an overcooked/undercooked turkey. An Overcooked turkey means that the meat will be tough. An undercooked turkey can make you have food poisoning. You can test if the turkey is fully cooked by using a meat thermometer. You can also pierce the thigh and check if the liquid is clear. If the turkey is undercooked, slice it into smaller pieces, and place them in the over. Let them cook at a temperature of 375 degrees F. Keep on checking at a regular interval of 15 minutes. Once it's ready, serves the guest.