Cooking Instructions to Make Sure Your Holiday Dinner is a Success!
Turkey Roasting Tips
The most common problem with roasting Turkey is overcooking, with the breast meat being too dry in trying to make sure the thighs are fully cooked but there are a couple of simple solutions to avoid this result!
Rule #1: Pull the turkey OUT of the refrigerator a few hours before roasting!
This is a no-brainer and guarantees better results. If the deepest parts of the turkey are chilled down near 40º when you put it in the oven, those areas will stay cold while the outside of the turkey cooks. This is even more critical if your Turkey is frozen! Make sure to pull your Turkey out of the freezer and into the main refrigerator for THREE DAYS before you intend to roast it!
The closer to room temperature for the entire Turkey, before putting in the oven, the better! It’s also a good idea to tent the Turkey with foil or plastic wrap to keep flies and pests away.
There is ZERO safety risk in doing this because roasting the Turkey kills all germs!
Rule #2: Moisture Insurance! Brine that Turkey!
This is more involved but worth the effort! (If you ordered a Fresh Turkey from Scotts Valley Market, we can brine the turkey for you!)
Brining involves a mixture of Water, Salt, usually Sugar or something sweet like Maple Syrup and other spices. The Salt in the brine causes the turkey to absorb the brining liquid, which makes the Turkey more flavorful and most importantly, more moist! Do not brine for longer than 12 hours! After brining, DO NOT RINSE the turkey with water! Dry the turkey with kitchen towels or paper towels and allow to come to room temperature.
Rule #3: Buy an Instant Read Meat Thermometer!
This an absolute necessity! After a couple of hours, when the Turkey is turning a beautiful Amber, check the temperature and insert the sensing tip of the thermometer deep into the inside of the thigh but away from any bone. You should have a reading of 165º F.
Roasting: Preheat your oven to 325º or 350º
If you start at 325º, it will take a bit longer but the result is aways better with much less chance of the breast being dry. Once you place the turkey in the oven, resist the urge to check it too soon or too often! Every time you open the oven door, you lose all the heated air inside the oven which is what’s doing the cooking!
As a rule of thumb, a turkey between 10-12 pounds @ 325º will take 2-1/2 to 3 hours. From 12-15 pounds, it will take 3-1/2 to 4 hours. Always check with your instant read-thermometer for an internal temperature of 165º in the deepest part of the thigh.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a convection oven USE IT!!!, You will get much more even cooking, crisper skin and it will cook faster! A 10-12 pound turkey will fully cook in a convection oven in 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
Finally, do what the pros do and cook your stuffing, (or dressing) separately! We do NOT recommend stuffing your turkey!
Prime Rib Roasting Tips
A Standing Rib Roast can be intimidating, especially with the higher costs these days but it’s actually one of the most forgiving cuts!
Rule #1: The day before you plan to cook it, unwrap your roast, and dry with paper towels. Coat generously with Salt & Pepper and place the roast in a pan on a rack in the refrigerator uncovered.
This is a no-brainer and guarantees better results. Having the roast unwrapped and on a rack will allow the roast to dry out, (you only need the rack with a Boneless Roast. If a Bone-in Roast, just place it on the pan) which along with the Salt, will guarantee a delicious Mahogany crust!
Rule #2: Pull the Roast OUT of the refrigerator a few hours before roasting!
This is also a no-brainer and guarantees better results. This is what all professional Chefs do. The closer the entire roast is to room temperature before putting it in the oven, the smaller the differential in temperature between the well-roasted exterior and the rarest part of the roast.
It’s a good idea to tent the Roast with foil or plastic wrap to keep flies and pests away.
There is ZERO safety risk in doing this because the roasting process kills all germs!
Rule #3: Buy an Instant Read Meat Thermometer!
This an absolute necessity! Depending on the size of your roast, you will need to get a temperature check after two-to-three hours. The basic temps are:
Rare: 125º F
Medium-Rare: 135º F
Medium: 145º F
We strongly recommend NOT going over 145ºF
Roasting: High Heat and then dial it back
The traditional method is what we’re all familiar with: Preheat the oven and put the roast in. Take it out when it’s done. This process is somewhat similar with a minor variation.
High-Heat Roasting: Preheat your oven to 450º
Step 1: Calculate the time needed. We use the “per pound X 20” method which means you multiply the weight of the roast by 20 to give you total number of minutes so a 5 pound roast X 20 = 100 minutes or an hour and 40 minutes. This just a ballpark number to help you plan. ALWAYS use an instant-read thermometer for the best results.
Step 2: Start your oven. The longer it preheats the better. Make sure to take your roast out of the refrigerator two to three hours before you plan to begin roasting so that the roast is as close to room temperature as possible. Put the roast in the oven and let roast at 450º for 20-30 minutes. This higher heat will create the darker, more flavorful crust.
Step 3: Turn the heat down to 325º and roast another 2+ hours (depending on the size of the roast), until the internal temp (with an instant read thermometer), registers 125º for Rare, 135º for Medium-Rare and 145º for Medium.