Bob Pierson and Food Science students give CBS3 some Thanksgiving tips

Nov 25, 2009

CBS3 asked Bob Pierson, associate professor and chair of Food Science, for some tips on how to best prepare a Thanksgiving meal. CBS broadcast these tips on their morning show, which can be found at the below links. Bob was very generous in providing some recipes which can also be found below.

Have a great Thanksgiving!



Making the Perfect Thanksgiving Stuffing
Turkey Cooking Do's and Dont's



Basic Brine for Turkey

14 to 18 pound turkey
Have ready: 5- gallon bucket or very large stockpot

For each gallon of water, add:
1 cup salt
1 cup sugar

Stir until dissolved.

Fresh or dry herbs

Remove neck and liver, gizzard and heart from inside bird.
Rinse the bird inside and out.
Place turkey in a container with a 5-gallon capacity and add brine mixture to cover.
Cover the container and put in a cool place (refrigerator or even outside if temperature is 40 degrees or below).
Allow turkey to brine about ½ hour per pound. It works well to brine the turkey overnight before roasting the next day.

Roast Turkey
Brined 14-18 pound turkey
Aromatic fresh herbs, if desired (thyme, savory, sage are good choices)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Remove turkey from brine mixture and pat dry well with paper towels.
Place on rack in roasting pan. Season the outside of the bird with salt and pepper to taste.
Place fresh herbs in cavity of turkey.
Roast turkey uncovered in preheated oven for 3 to 4 hours, until meat temperature reaches 170 degrees measured with a meat thermometer. There is no need to baste the turkey. Insert meat thermometer where the thigh joins the body.

Remove cooked turkey from oven and allow to rest for at least 30-45 minutes before carving.

Turkey Gravy

2 cups cold water
¼ cup Wondra (you may use regular flour, but it's a bit trickier)

Dissolve flour gradually in cold water and stir until smooth. Set aside.

Remove turkey from pan to a platter. You'll see brown drippings as well as oil in the pan. Pour off oil. Place roasting pan on stove top over medium low heat. Heat until drippings begin to sizzle, then stir in water-flour solution. Use a soft spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan. Bring liquid to a boil and stir until browned bits release from the bottom of the roaster. Simmer briefly until gravy is thickened, then transfer right away to serving dish.

Turkey Tips:

  • If you buy a frozen turkey, do not thaw in the refrigerator until 2 days before you plan to serve it.
  • If you need to defrost the turkey quickly, place it in a clean sink and allow cold water to run slowly over the bird until completely defrosted.
  • Be sure to remove neck and internal organs from inside the bird!
  • Don't try to squeeze a big turkey into a small pan - you can end up with a big soupy mess in the bottom of the pan, instead of flavorful drippings. You can purchase a disposable roaster at any grocery store.
  • Cook the bird breast side up (roasting it upside down is a common error).
  • Wash both the inside and outside of the turkey thoroughly with cold water.
  • To avoid food safety problems, never cook stuffing inside the bird. Always bake it in a separate pan.
  • Always roast turkey at a low temperature for a longer time, rather than more quickly at a high temperature.
  • Turkey must cook to at least 170 degrees to be safe for consumption.
  • Always allow roasted bird to rest for at least ½ hour before serving.
  • Refrigerate leftovers promptly to avoid spoilage. Leftovers should never remain at room temperature for more than 3 hours.

Have a safe and wonderful holiday!