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To Truss or Not To Truss: Updating A Thanksgiving Tradition

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By Rachel Derry
Staff Writer LIFamilies

One of the great debates for Thanksgiving chefs everywhere is whether to stand by tradition or move onto new ideals; to truss their thanksgiving turkey like their mother and grandmother before, or to leave the turkey be to roast naturally. For decades, turkey roasters have been trussing their birds to achieve that ideal grand finale that they've been working all day for; that picture-perfect, golden brown bird that looks like it belongs on an episode of Martha Stewart or a holiday movie. What you don’t realize, however, with that trussed-up bird, you may actually be making it difficult on yourself to cook a perfect turkey, if you can at all.

Tradition tells you, when trussing a turkey, to flip it onto its breast side, tie down its legs, and tuck in its wings. This way your turkey stays tightly together and neat, as well as keeps in the stuffing. When the bird is trussed, however, you’re adding on the cooking time for certain areas of your bird. When your turkey thermometer pops it is only speaking for the section of breast meat that it is typically in. With the legs tied tight to the body, the joints can take, typically, an additional hour to get to a safely cooked temperature. This is why, if you take the bird out when the timer pops, the area around the joints bleeds extra, redish juices – it’s not done yet! (This is also why it’s important to not put too much stock into those pop timers!)

With the extra time needed to get your legs and joints fully cooked, you’re adding extra cook time for the already cooked breast meat. This is when letting the turkey rest is a lifesaver; hopefully the 10 to 15 minutes that the turkey spends resting at room temperature will let the meat reabsorb all the juices possible.

To stop from worrying, many chefs are now cooking their turkeys with no trussing what so ever. If you’re carving the bird before it reaches the table, no trussing will allow all of the turkey to cook evenly and finish at the same time. Even if you are carving at the table, an un-trussed turkey isn't exactly unsightly. You’ll still receive the oohs and aahs that accompany any other thanksgiving masterpiece; you’ll just have the extra piece of mind knowing that your turkey is both juicy and fully cooked.

Long Island Health, Fitness & Beauty Articles > To Truss or Not To Truss: Updating A Thanksgiving Tradition

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