For chicken and turkey that will delight you and your guests, here are 7 tips that will have you cooking poultry like a professional cook, from cleaning raw chicken to keeping your turkey moist with apples.
1. Cleaning raw chicken
Poultry must be thoroughly cleaned inside and out before cooking, in order to remove any residue that may be left from the slaughtering process. If you detect a slight “off” odor when you open the package, rinse the bird under cool water, then submerge in a solution of water plus one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar and one teaspoon of salt per cup of water. Then refrigerate one to four hours before cooking.
2. Beautifully browned bird
Try basting your bird with a small amount of white zinfandel or vermouth—it will help crisp the skin, and the alcohol imparts a brown color and glaze to the outside of the meat. Or, brush the skin with reduced-sodium soy sauce during the last 30 minutes of cooking to produce a beautiful burnished color.
See also: Clever Cookst's 1 Chicken, 5 Meals
3. An apple a day keeps dry turkey away
If your roasted chicken or turkey tends to be too dry, try stuffing a whole apple inside the bird before roasting. Just toss the apple afterward.
You can also line the bottom of the pan with lemon and onion slices. They’ll give the bird a lovely flavor and make sure it stays moist.
4. Crispy chicken secret
We’ve got the secret to crispy chicken skin: salt! The next time you buy a whole chicken, sprinkle it with about a tablespoon of coarse salt and place it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight. The salt and the dry air in the refrigerator will draw out moisture—the enemy of crispiness—and you’ll roast up a super-tasty bird.
5. Another secret to crispy chicken
Make your fried chicken super-crispy by adding three to four teaspoons cornstarch to each cup of flour. Or add one teaspoon baking soda to the batter. Then sit back and wait for your fried chicken to win praise!
Related: Domestic CEO's How to Thaw a Turkey
6. Tender poultry trick
For the most tender poultry you’ve ever cooked, submerge the chicken or turkey in buttermilk and refrigerate for two to three hours before cooking.
7. Let poultry rest
Once poultry has finished cooking, it should be allowed to rest for about 20 minutes (but not more than 40 minutes) before carving. As with other roasts, this standing time allows the proteins in the meat to reabsorb the juices, so they stay in the meat rather than spilling onto the cutting board.
Just for fun: 5 Rules for Cock Pot Success
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