I’ve cooked a lot of Thanksgiving turkeys over the years, and I’ve eaten even more of them! And based on my own experiences, one of the most common problems that plagues Thanksgiving turkeys is dryness.
Dry turkey is truly tragic, because even when the meat is perfectly seasoned, it still isn’t all that enjoyable to eat. And while dousing it in gravy may disguise the dryness to some degree, it can never compare to the bliss of eating a properly moist turkey.
But I recently learned about a super simple way to ensure that your turkey comes out moist and flavorful. And I’ll be sharing the secret with you in today’s blog post! :-)
The Secret To Making A Moist & Juicy Turkey
In order to cook a big turkey all the way through, you need to leave it in the oven for a long time. The longer your turkey is exposed to the hot, dry conditions of your oven, the more moisture it’s likely to lose.
The simplest way to prevent that moisture loss from occurring is to cook your turkey in a bag! An oven-safe roasting bag will create a steamy cooking environment for your turkey, producing a moist and juicy turkey with no additional time or effort.
(Note: I prefer the Reynolds Turkey Size Oven Bags because of how thick they are, but they were back-ordered on Amazon at the time of writing. But you can usually find the Reynolds brand oven bags in grocery stores this time of year, so check there first!)
Other Benefits To Cooking Turkey In A Bag
- It’s Faster. Your turkey will actually cook a bit faster in a bag, because the bag traps in heat as well as moisture. It’s important to keep the bag sealed during cooking, so you’ll benefit greatly from using a digital thermometer like this one to keep track of the temperature.
- It’s Cleaner. Cooking turkey in a bag makes clean-up quick and easy! Carefully removing the bag from the roasting pan sure beats scrubbing the pan for half an hour after dinner!
How To Cook Turkey In A Bag
Step 1: Season The Bird
Rub softened butter (either alone or mixed with dried herbs) over the exterior of your turkey. Next, season the outside and inside of the turkey generously with salt, pepper, and any additional seasonings you want to use.
Step 2: Prep The Bag
Before putting the turkey in the bag, it’s important to coat the inside with a bit of flour to help prevent the bag from bursting during cooking. Just add one tablespoon of flour to the bag, hold it closed, and shake it around a bit to coat the interior.
Insert the turkey into the bag and place it in a roasting pan. Twist the opening closed and tuck it under the bird, then cut 6 slits into the top of the bag to vent excess steam.
Finally, place the temperature probe of your digital thermometer (if using) into the thickest part of the thigh.
Step 3: Cook
With the prep work completed, it’s time to cook the turkey! Preheat the oven to the temperature recommended in your favorite recipe, then put the pan in the oven.
The 13-pound turkey pictured here took about 2 hours to cook in the Reynolds Oven Bag. But like I said, it’s best to use a digital thermometer to know for sure when it’s done!
Step 4: Rest
Once your turkey is fully cooked, remove it from the oven. Let it rest for 20-30 minutes before carving, then serve up your delicious and perfectly moist turkey! :-)
What’s your best Thanksgiving tip or trick?