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turkey 101 
Yee-Fan Sun
1 2 3

Maybe you think you don’t like turkey. It’s so dry, you complain – though you grudgingly acknowledge that Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same without it. So despite the fact that you’re not really a fan, you’ve resigned yourself to making a turkey this year … because if you don’t, you know your guests will be declaring mutiny come Thanksgiving day. Or maybe you’ve invited 15 friends and family over to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast at your humble abode – and haven’t a clue what to do with that 21 lb. frozen hunk of poultry now taking up space in your fridge. Either way, you’re in desperate need of a last-minute turkey-roasting tutorial – and we’re here to save the day. Check out these secrets to a perfectly browned, juicy, flavorful turkey that’ll have your guests begging for leftovers to take home.

get equipped
big ol’ roasting pan, with a v-shaped rack
kitchen twine
toothpicks or skewers
aluminum foil
pastry brush
meat thermometer

turkey, of course (you'll need about 1.5 lbs per person, to yield the requisite generous leftovers) 
2 cups or 1 can stock for basting at the beginning
1 cup white wine for basting at the beginning
butter or olive oil
fatty bacon strips
salt and pepper
1 onion, quartered
2 carrots, broken into 3" pieces
1 stalk celery, broken into 3" pieces
stuffing of choice for the turkey, fresh-cooked 

2-3 days before
Thaw your turkey in the fridge at least two days before the big meal for a 10 lb. bird, 3 days for a fifteen-pounder, and even longer for anything much bigger than that. Write yourself a note and stick it on the fridge if you must: there’s pretty much no safe way to speed up the thawing process if you wake up Thanksgiving morning and find you have a rock-solid frozen turkey, so it is absolutely imperative that you remember to do this ahead of time. (Even defrosting a turkey in a cold water bath, my usual technique for speed defrosting, will take eight hours or so with a hunk of meat this size).

If you’re planning on buying a fresh turkey rather than a frozen one, make certain to order the turkey way ahead of time.

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