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How to Prep Turkey for Roasting

Watch and learn our techniques on how to prep a turkey for roasting for Thanksgiving or Christmas in this video from EVERY DAY WITH RACHAEL RAY magazine, plus get tricks and tips on the best way to defrost and clean your turkey. From our collection of Step by Step cooking videos.

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Hi. I'm Teri Tsang Barrett, the Food Editor here at Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine. And today, I'm going to show you everything you need to know about getting your turkey ready for pretty much any Thanksgiving turkey recipe. Here, we've got a defrosted turkey. In our Test Kitchen, we use two different methods. One is to actually to frost the bird. You need about a day for every 3 to 4 pounds. This bird weighs about 12 pounds. You need roughly 4 days. So, we like to give another day just for good measure, just to make sure it's defrosted entirely. The other method we'd use is something you can do if you've forgotten to defrost the bird and you can do it either the day before or the day of, that's definitely pushing it. And there you'd wanna soak the bird in a tub full of [unk] is a good option. Leave it in the plastic wrap and you'll defrost it for roughly 30 minutes for every 3 to 4 pounds. So, for this bird, you need probably about 6 hours and you'd need 12 different changes of water. And again, this bird is defrosted. So, we're gonna start by cutting up in the package. I got my kitchen shoes handy. And you're gonna wanna throw the wrapper away. And here you can see, this is a pop up thermometer. We're not big fans of this. It's not all that dependable. So, I'm just gonna pull it out and we're gonna remove this plastic bit up here. You can suddenly just pull it out or you can actually just cut it out. Let me show you guys. And it usually just slides right out and you can see other bits in here that you wanna snip away to release it. So, we're going to remove the neck of the turkey and then the giblets which are usually in a plastic bag and these are basically the offal of the turkey which include like the heart, the gizzard and the liver. Just kind of run your hands to the cavity to make sure it's empty and this guy is all good. So, the next thing we're gonna do is actually rinse the turkey. And you take it to the sink and now I'm going to rinse the bird. The easiest thing to do is, start with cold running water and hold it by the cavity, and rinse the bird. Be sure to get under all the joints and most importantly, remember to rinse out the cavity. I like to just run it under the water beginning at the end of the bird and just kinda flip it through and there we go, that's all there is to it. Now that we've rinsed the bird, we're gonna pat it dry and you wanna be sure to get it extremely dry 'cause that is actually the secret to really crisp brown skin. Let's start with the top. And just kind of lightly press, you can feel it kinda soak up a little bit like a sponge. Get under all the joints, making sure to squeeze up all the excess water. And don't forget the cavity too, it's just where a lot of the water ends up getting trapped. So now that we've patted the bird dry, I'm going to actually transfer it to the roasting pan. Just again lift it to the cavity, set that aside and I'm gonna show you how to truss the bird and you know what, trussing is essentially, is a step that-- method that we use to keep the bird's shape intact so that it bakes, roasts evenly in the oven. All right. And for this, it will need you some kitchen twine or you can also use unwaxed dental floss to be sure that you're not using cinnamon or mint flavored or even wax dental floss 'cause that will get all over your bird. If you have someone to help you, you can easily just kinda hold it together and have someone tie a bow around it. Otherwise, a trick I have is to actually tie one of the legs, cross it over and you really kinda got like a lasso grip on it. Cross the legs, wrap it underneath and you can wrap both legs together, and sort of just tuck it underneath one of the loops and you're all set. And the last part is, if you're using an oven meat thermometer, you're gonna wanna stick it in the thigh part of the bird pointing towards the body. So, right here, we're going to job it in. You wanna make sure you're avoiding the bone and also remember the physician thermometer or the dials that you can see it from the oven. So, I'm gonna actually slide it into the oven like this. And so, I want it exposed and we're set right there. If you're stuffing the bird, you also need to check the thermometer at the end of cooking. You can use an instant read thermometer for that and you'll need it to reach 165 degrees and all you need to do is basically check it through the cavity of the bird, make sure not touching bone again. Just slide it right through, wait for it to hit 165 or through the neck, same with the-- checking the temperature of the bird. If you want, it needs to reach 180 for it to be U.S.A approved and you can also, you can also, same thing with an instant read thermometer, just stick it in to the thigh and be sure you do not touch the bone. And that's it. After that, you're ready to go season the bird up and pop it in the oven and just be sure to wash your hands. Thanks for watching.