The countdown to Thanksgiving is on. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of cooking advice over the years. Well, here are some tips from Bon Appetit Writer of the Year Harold McGee. He breaks down the most common Thanksgiving dinner myths.
Myth #1: For the moistest turkey, soak it in brine before you cook it. That’s false. Brining the bird can make it too salty. The fix: Take the bird out of the refrigerator to warm up a couple hours before roast time. Then, put ice packs on the breast to keep it cold so it’ll heat up more slowly than the tougher dark-meat legs. Then, while it’s roasting, check the doneness early and often to avoid overcooking.
Myth #2: You can cook a turkey slowly overnight. Don’t do it. Food expert McGee says that low temperatures and long cooking times are the perfect recipe for out-of-control bacteria growth. To avoid serving a toxic turkey, cook your stuffing separately and roast the bird at a temperature above 300 degrees.
Myth #3: The bird will come out perfectly if you follow a cooking chart. False. The chart is a guide, not a science book. That’s because all ovens and birds are different. Instead, check the bird’s doneness with a meat thermometer.
Myth #4: It's safe to put leftovers away before you go to bed. Nope. Harmful bacteria can survive cooking and at room temperatures can double their numbers several times an hour. The fix: Refrigerate leftovers before you slice the pumpkin pie.