Tricks and Tips to Making a Juicy Turkey, using a Turkey Bag

Turkey Bag
Turkey Bag

Two Tricks toTurkey Perfection

To make a fantastic turkey you need to remember two main things: use a turkey bag and put butter under the skin.

Oven Bag: The oven bag is of utmost importance, it keeps the juice inside the turkey while it cooks, thus keeping the moisture in. Turkey bags also have a huge advantage over traditional roasting in the pan, they require no maintenance. Not only do you not have to baste the turkey, you can't, the bag is sealed. Remember to use the cooking chart included in the oven bag. Turkeys cooked in a bag cook much quicker than those cooked outside of a bag.

You still use a turkey thermometer to check the temperature of the turkey, you just puncture the bag with the tip of the thermometer. Take the turkey's temperature in the meatiest part of the thigh. You do need to cut slits into the top of the bag for venting and put a tablespoon of flour into the bottom of the bag to keep it from bursting. Place the turkey bag with the turkey in it into the roasting pan.

I also add champagne to the turkey, inside the cavity and under the skin of the breast, I use about one bottle and stuff the cavity with halved apples. It's really very good and the combination of smells of the apples and turkey cooking is mouth watering. You can also stuff the cavity with onions, they cook beautifully and take on a really good flavor.

The turkey needs to be thawed before cooking. Don't forget to remove the bag of 'goodies' (neck and giblets) from the turkey before cooking!

Get Under the Skin: The other thing that you should remember is to get the butter under the skin. Most people don't do this but it makes a huge difference. Start at the edge of the breast, near the cavity and gently work your fingers under the skin, it can and will rip if you don't take your time. Continue to do this until you can get your hands under the skin and it is separated to the point that you can reach the entire breast and down to the thighs.

At this point I put chunks of butter directly on the breast. Since butter melts in the oven I tend to pile all the butter on the top of the breast, in a line going to the back, knowing that it will melt down and cover the sides of the breast and the thighs. I cube up one stick of butter for this. At this point your turkey will look lumpy and ugly, don't worry, when the butter melts it looks gorgeous.

If the skin does rip, don't fret, just pull it together the best you can. It won't be quite as pretty, but it will still taste absolutely wonderful. It's a good idea to brush the skin with vegetable oil to protect it. I also sprinkle it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

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