Thanksgiving: Stew Leonard's tips to choose and prepare your turkey

Chef Richard Dibble, from Stew Leonard's, visited News 12 this morning with tips for choosing a preparing your Thanksgiving Turkey.

News 12 Staff

Nov 24, 2021, 2:50 PM

Updated 972 days ago

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Chef Richard Dibble, from Stew Leonard's, visited News 12 this morning with tips for choosing a preparing your Thanksgiving Turkey. 
Below find all their tips:

Tip 1: How to choose a turkey

Stew Leonard's turkeys weigh in anywhere between 12lbs to 28lbs! Stew thinks that having leftovers is just as important as the big meal itself, so he always make sure that his family has a bird that allows for 2lbs. per person. If you're not a fan of leftovers though, then 1.5lbs per person is just fine. Stew's fresh turkeys can be purchased 10 days in advance, giving you more time to prepare for the big day!
Once you have your turkey home, it should be stored in the coldest part of your refrigerator, which is the bottom back corner. Keep it wrapped in the plastic until just ready to begin preparing. Our chefs also recommend putting the raw turkey on a plate or in a pan just to make sure no juices accidently drip inside the refrigerator.

Tip 2: How to prepare your turkey

Stew likes to use our chef's Turkey aromatics inside of our bird- it gives the meat a wonderful flavor and the aroma is incredible! If your family really prefers to stuff your turkey, just be sure to place fully cooked stuffing in the turkey right before roasting, never the night before (this could grow bacteria), and make sure the stuffing is at least 165 degrees F before removing from the oven. Keep in mind that when you stuff the bird the cook time increases slightly, up to 5 extra minutes per pound of turkey.
Before rubbing the butter under the skin, pat the turkey dry with paper towels. You can also place Stew Leonard's Turkey Aromatics into the bottom of the roasting pan and then place the turkey on top.

Tip 3: How to cook your turkey and check the temperature correctly

First, make sure the oven is fully preheated. Stew likes to turn the oven on when he takes the bird out of the refrigerator to begin preparing it. That way, a bit of the chill is gone from the turkey, giving it the opportunity to cook at a more even pace. You will want to cook the turkey for 15-20 minutes per pound at 350F. Once the skin is brown, tent the turkey with a piece of parchment paper and then a piece of foil on top. The parchment will prevent the foil from sticking to the skin. You'll want to cook the bird until a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh joint reaches 165F. Pop up timers will go off once the breast reaches 165F, but Stew's chefs say to check the thigh to make sure the turkey is cooked through!

Tip 4: How to carve your turkey

After you take the turkey out of the oven, allow the turkey breast to rest tented under foil for least 15-20 minutes before cutting and serving. This allows the bird to reabsorb the juices. You'll need a sharp knife, a large cutting board, and a serving platter. Start by separating the leg and thigh from one side, then separate the drumstick from the thigh bone. Remove the breast and wing from the same side. Repeat on the other side. Slice up the breast and thigh pieces. Serve and enjoy!


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