To Baste Is a Waste: Alton Brown's Six Expert Tips For Perfect Turkey

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To Baste Is a Waste: Alton Brown's Six Expert Tips For Perfect Turkey

Television personality and food expert Alton Brown reveals six tips for cooking perfect turkey. Discover the best kind of bird to buy, how long to let the turkey rest after cooking and why he doesn't bother to baste.

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1. Brown, Tent And Then Roast to 161 Degrees.

Alton advises cooking the turkey at 500 degrees for 30 minutes, tenting the breast with an aluminum foil triangle, reducing the heat to 350 degrees and cooking until the bird reaches an internal temperature of 161 degrees.

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2. Don't go straight from fridge to oven.

"Bring it to room temperature an hour before cooking," suggests Alton. "This will actually cut down on the cooking time by making the bird's thermal trip shorter."

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3. Let cooked turkey rest.

"Let the cooked bird rest outside the oven for 20 minutes before carving," recommends Alton. "Remember, heat is like pressure; it'll squeeze the juice right out of the turkey if you cut it when it's still roasting hot. Resting will allow some of the juices to be retained in the meat."

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4. Leave the stuffing out.

"Stuffing adds to the mass of the bird and therefore the cooking time," Alton explains. "If you can't live without stuffing, cook it outside the bird and put it in while the turkey rests so it can absorb the juices."

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5. Don't bother basting.

"Basting does not make meat juicy. After all, skin is designed to keep things out. It's like a raincoat. Basting only makes the skin taste good… nothing wrong with that but all that door opening lets out heat and slows the cooking process which results in drier meat," Alton reveals.

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6. Buy frozen.

"I find that a straightforward frozen 'natural' Tom in the 16 lb. range gives me the best bird. I don't mess with fancy 'heritage' birds, or those injected buttery things or kosher birds which just make you pay for water weight," Alton shares.

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TV personality and food expert Alton Brown, halfway through his first national tour, Alton Brown Live!, shares his six essential tips for cooking the perfect turkey. Find out the best kind of bird to buy, how long to let the cooked turkey rest and the surprising reason why he doesn't baste.

Check out the slideshow above to discover Alton Brown's six expert tips for perfect Thanksgiving turkey.

For more on making the PERFECT turkey, check out our friends at Style Me Pretty.

More From Kitchen Daily:
How to Tent a Turkey
20 Things You Didn't Know About Thanksgiving
How to Carve the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

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