3 Ways to Cook a Better Turkey This Holiday Season

Everyone has their own favorite way to cook the turkey for the holidays, creating the centerpiece for the festivities and traditions. Whether you have a tried-and-true way to prepare the bird, or experiment with something a little different every time, these three ways to cook a better turkey will take it to the next level.

3 ways to cook a better turkey this holiday season - so good! | Holiday cooking | Thanksgiving | duerdensappliance.com

Use a Roasting Rack

A roasting rack is the key to getting that crispy, even skin with juicy, tender meat hiding beneath. Place the bird on the rack to ensure it sits above the juices and allows the air in the oven to flow easily around it. Remember – you’re roasting the meat, not boiling it in its juices.

If you don’t have a roasting pan, you can improvise by setting the turkey on upside down ramekins or balls of foil in your pan. Do whatever works to lift it up and keep it out of the liquid.

Cook with Convection

Use convection if your oven has it, and don’t forget to drop the temperature recommended in the recipe by 25 degrees. With convection, the fan will distribute the heat more evenly around the oven so the turkey cooks from the outside in rather than from the bottom up. Convection will also give you a more moist bird since the moisture will also be recirculated.

If your oven does not have convection, make sure you pre-heat it well, and put an empty cookie sheet on the bottom rack with the turkey on the rack just above it. This little trick will help even the flow of heat.

3 ways to cook a better turkey this holiday season - so good! | Holiday cooking | Thanksgiving | duerdensappliance.com

Stop at 165 Degrees

It is critical to cook the turkey to the perfect temperature, and no higher. Turkey is done and safe to eat at 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and you can take it out of the oven at 160ºF and let it finish cooking naturally on the countertop.

Most turkeys come with a little red pop-up thermometer in them, which usually pop up when the turkey is at 180ºF. This temperature keeps the packing plant from the risk of anyone getting sick, but it also guarantees a dry, overcooked turkey, so don’t rely on it!

3 ways to cook a better turkey this holiday season - so good! | Holiday cooking | Thanksgiving | duerdensappliance.com

Many ovens come with temperature probes that you can plug in and use to set a target temperature. If your oven has this, use it to set the target temperature to 160ºF and don’t worry about setting a time. If not, go get a meat thermometer and use it.

 

When your turkey has reached its final temperature, take it out of the oven and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before serving – even up to an hour if you’re trying to synchronize the other dishes. Letting the bird rest is important, as it allows the heat to distribute itself evenly and the juices to reabsorb into the tissue. Instead of a puddle of liquid on the countertop, you’ll get moist, tender, and juicy meat.

3 ways to cook a better turkey this holiday season - so good! | Holiday cooking | Thanksgiving | duerdensappliance.com

3 ways to cook a better turkey this holiday season - so good! | Holiday cooking | Thanksgiving | duerdensappliance.com

For more information on cooking with convection, check out our blog post on the subject. Now that you have these three tricks up your sleeve, you can make this year’s turkey with confidence – and wow your friends and family in the process.

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5 Tips to Cooking with Convection

We get questions all the time about what a convection oven does. People are confused and intimidated by it, so let us shed some light on how cooking with convection can make you a better cook!

Who knew cooking with convection was so easy? | Duerden's Appliance

 

Why use convection?

You may think you need special training to use it, but it’s actually really simple.   Convection makes everything better because rather than cooking from the bottom up, it cooks food from the outside in. Convection ovens have fans that constantly circulate the air around your food so that the top, bottom and sides are all experiencing the same temperature. Also, because it constantly introduces fresh hot air, it is more efficient. This means you will not only be able to cook things quicker, but you’ll be able to cook things BETTER!

Who knew cooking with convection was so easy? | Duerden's Appliance

Myths about cooking with convection
  1. The first is the fear it that the fan will dry out your food. That would be true if we cooked with the door open, but we don’t. The moisture stays in the oven cavity and is constantly circulated back into your dish, so you will actually lose less moisture than in standard baking.
  2. The second concern is that you will have to adjust all your favorite recipes. Nearly all consumer ovens come with an automatic conversion feature.  This will calculate the appropriate convection temperature for whatever you enter based on your old recipe. It will automatically drop the temperature by a certain percent based on how that oven has tested.   (You can turn this feature off if you prefer manually setting the temperature).   Even if you don’t have this feature, you can just drop your temperature by 30 degrees and you’ll be fine.   If you want to be more precise, you can visit www.convection-calculator.com.

Who knew cooking with convection was so easy? | Duerden's Appliance

Types of Convection
  1. Standard convection means that the heat is coming from elements on the bottom, just like your classic oven, and that the fan is circulating the air. Some electric ovens use this method, as do all gas ovens. This will do a great job on roasts, casseroles, and single sheet baking. Where it will struggle is baking multiple racks at the same time.   Because the heat is still coming from the bottom up, you will see different results for the top, middle, and bottom racks.
  2. The second type is true convection. If you hear the term European or True European, it is the same thing.   The difference is that heating elements are added to the fans, so the heat is coming from the back rather than the bottom.   Now you are able to bake on all of your racks and get the same result.

Who knew cooking with convection was so easy? | Duerden's Appliance

Who knew cooking with convection was so easy? | Duerden's Appliance

Who knew cooking with convection was so easy? | Duerden's Appliance

Tips on Cooking with Convection

Since we have 12 live ovens in the showroom, we are always experimenting with different recipes and cooking methods. This has really helped us learn and given us confidence in what we recommend to our customers. Here are some things our experience has taught us:

  1. We bake absolutely everything on convection and find that the results are always superior to standard thermal oven cooking.
  2. Baking enthusiasts should avoid gas ovens and get true convection electric ovens.   If you prefer to cook with gas, we offer dual fuel ranges that offer gas cooking on top and electric baking in the oven.
  3. The size of the fan means nothing. Don’t assume that a model with a large fan will perform better than one with a smaller fan. The importance is how even the air flow is, not the speed of the air.
  4. Listen to our finicky bakers. When customers love to bake, we avoid trying to recommend a particular model. Instead, we invite them to bring in their favorite recipe and try it in as many of our ovens as they like. No matter how many bakers have taken us up on this challenge, the results are always the same. The top performer is always a Wolf wall oven. If this works with her budget, that is what she’ll select. If she doesn’t want to spend the money on the Wolf, she will select a GE Profile or GE Café convection oven. They are fantastic baking ovens at an affordable price.
  5. Give yourself some credit. If your current oven has a heating element you can see in the bottom (appliance people call these coat hangers) and if you don’t have convection, you have no idea if you are a good baker. Try using convection, and see how great you can be!
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