Local Chefs Give Turkey Cooking Pointers

By: Jordan Meserole Email
By: Jordan Meserole Email

Deep fry, open pan roast, smoke, slow cook – there are many ways to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving.

But whether a person is cooking a turkey for the first time or is an experienced pro, the task can always be a daunting one.

“I think the common mistake is either overcooking it or undercooking it,” said James Kneip, executive chef with Epicures Catering.

Lisa Fritz, a cooking ‘coach’ for HEB and food columnist for The Eagle, said another big mistake the amateur turkey chef can make is waiting too long to thaw the bird out.

“If it’s still frozen right now, you need to probably start doing the soaking it in a water bath, and changing that every few minutes to help thaw it out,” Fritz said.

Seasoning the turkey can be an area for more mistakes David James pointed out, an executive chef for Christopher’s World Grille. He said keeping it simple is the best route to go.

“Basically what I have in my mixture is salt, pepper, garlic, sage, and a little bit of olive oil. And all you do is just rub your turkey down real well,” James said.

Cooking methods varied between the three chefs, from Kneip’s technique of cooking it at 300 degrees for roughly 20 minutes per pound to James’ system of roasting the bird at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, then turning down the heat to 300 degrees for the remaining cooking time. But all the chefs did agree on one important part in cooking the turkey – a thermometer.

“If you’re going to cook your bird stuffed, it will take a little longer. And you’ll definitely want to cook that to an internal temperature of 165 degrees because [less than that] could be a potential food borne illness hazard,” Fritz said.

For more tips and tricks for cooking a turkey, be sure to visit the websites listed in the “Related Links” section under this story.

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