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How to Cook a Thanksgiving Turkey

A fully cooked, golden-brown turkey on a plate surrounded by oranges, blueberries, and a gravy boat, prepared for Thanksgiving in Springfield, IL.

Most people use a traditional oven to make their Thanksgiving turkey, but there are many other ways to prepare a delicious meal. At Loukinens’ on 4th, we know many ways to prepare different foods and have experience with what flavors taste the best, but it all comes down to what you prefer. Here are the steps we recommend to prepare your Thanksgiving Turkey for your family banquet.

Pick the Right Seasonings for Your Turkey

It should go without saying that the first steps are always buying the turkey and letting it thaw appropriately before starting your preparations. Once that is completed and you’re ready to start cooking, you should select the flavors and spices you want and start seasoning your turkey. We recommend adding salt and fresh herbs to the cavity and wine or water to keep the turkey moist. Feel free to season the night before to save time and help the flavors infuse more deeply into your turkey.

Secure the Skin and Oil it Up

One secret to making your turkey look its best is to use toothpicks to secure the skin to the inside of the bird. Then, pin the skin near the legs; your turkey will look more delicious and professional when you’re finished cooking. A final touch before cooking is to rub the skin with oil, such as canola, vegetable, or olive oil. Any of those choices will work well and will help give the bird an all-over gold brown glow and crispier skin.

Cook Your Turkey the Way You Want

There are many ways to cook a turkey, and you should choose the method you want. The chef decides whether to use a traditional oven, a slow cooker, an instant pot, or an air fryer. Choose an option you’re comfortable with and use the appliances that are available to you. Then find a recipe that sounds good or trust your cooking instincts. If you’re unsure how long you should cook your turkey based on the method you’re using, look up a cooking chart to ensure your turkey looks and tastes its best. At Loukinens’ on 4th, we prepare our turkey dishes, which you can find on our extensive menu.

Checking the Temperature and Let it Rest

When you feel confident that your turkey is almost done cooking, the best way to tell is to use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature. Insert the pin of the thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey’s thigh. To get an accurate reading, avoid coming into contact with the bone. When the internal temperature is within 5 degrees of the desired number, remove the turkey and let it rest, as it will continue to cook in a process called carryover cooking. Allow it time to finish cooking, and trust that because you removed it early, your bird won’t overcook or dry out but will stay juicy and flavorful. For more tips and advice, feel free to contact us today online or call us at 217.670.1363.

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Casual, Upscale Dining in Downtown Springfield, IL

Visit our restaurant in Downtown Springfield, IL for a dining experience that’s sure to impress. Chef Loukinen, creates menu options that are designed to delight your eyes and stimulate your palate.
Loukinens' on 4th 517 S. 4th St. Springfield, Illinois 62701

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