Top Chef's Manuel Treviño Shares Some Pro Tips For Cooking A Thanksgiving Turkey

The scariest part of hosting a Thanksgiving meal is definitely making the turkey. From overcooking the bird to miscalculating portions, a lot of things can go wrong.

Chef Manuel Treviño, who appeared on Bravo's "Top Chef Season 4" and runs the kitchen at Marble Lane, the steakhouse that opened last year at NYC's Dream Downtown, shared some of pro tips for making a Thanksgiving turkey that your guests will scarf down.

On buying and prepping the bird:

  • "Fresh birds will always be juicer than frozen birds."

  • "A great tip that most people never think to do — for crispier skin — is simply leave the bird in the refrigerator unwrapped overnight."

  • "Brining a turkey will add additional flavor and moisture to the bird, but make sure you do not over-brine – a few hours will do."

  • "Don’t forget to take the bag of giblets out!"

To stuff or not to stuff?

  • "A bird will always cook more evenly if it’s not stuffed, so resist that urge to stuff your bird and fill with the cavity with some aromatic vegetables – it’s better to just put the stuffing in a casserole dish."

On oven temperature and technique:

  • "Temperature is key, so if you don’t trust your oven then use an oven thermometer. Owning a meat thermometer in general is something I find to be essential. It takes all the guess work out of cooking."

  • "The white meat and the dark meat will never cook at the same rate. Sure, a whole bird looks pretty on the table but does it really matter when the meat is overdone and dry? I favor long slow cooking techniques for the legs and thighs such as braising or confit. Then, I like to brine the breast and roast separately – don’t be afraid to disassemble your bird, your guests and taste buds will thank you later."



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