Whether it’s calendar-specific small talk or something more sinister, turkey roasting always seems fraught with misinformation. Every website and person you ask has a different answer as to how to make the ideal turkey — times, temperatures, stuffings, seasonings and so on. Inevitably, the prospect of deep-frying or smoking a bird will come up.
We at Gear Patrol will not presume to know better or worse than anyone else regarding the best method to a well-roasted turkey. We will, however, clear up what you need in your kitchen to ensure the quality of the finished bird is on the chef and not their gear. From pink and soft to brown and crisped, these are the four true essentials of turkey-making.
Best Overall Roasting PanCuisinart Chef's Classic Roaster Read More
Best Budget Roasting PanIkea Koncis Roasting Pan Read More
Best Splurge Roasting PanAll-Clad Roaster with Nonstick Rack Read More
Best Overall Probe ThermometerThermoworks ChefAlarm Read More
Best Budget Probe ThermometerTaylor Precision Digital Cooking Probe Thermometer Read More
Roasting Pan & Rack
The act of suspending the bird off the base of the roasting pan is one of the easiest things you can do to increase turkey goodness potential. When cooked while sitting on the tray or pan, the bird will wallow in its own juices, creating a turkey that’s half soggy and gray. Cooked off the pan, the bird’s drippings are collected below it, and heat may wick the skin of moisture and begin to develop the crackly skin that dreams are made of.
The try-ply construction of Cuisinart's roaster ensures food is cooked evenly. The size of the pan can hold a huge turkey, and the riveted handles feel secure — like you won't accidentally drop the thing when you're carrying it out of the oven.
If you're not cooking often, there's no reason to spend a lot on a roasting pan. This 16-inch by 13-inch pan is a decent size for moderately sized birds, and it's hard to beat the price.
When it comes to stainless steel, All-Clad does it best. Use its roaster and expect your turkey to come out exactly as you'd want it: browned and crispy on the outside with an evenly cooked and tender interior.
In the words of every chef who has ever lived: cook to temperature, not time. A temperature-tracking device of any kind is absolutely necessary to ensure a turkey that is both delicious and safely edible (165 degrees, by the way, same as chicken). Also of high importance is an oven that keeps a steady temperature. This means keeping the oven shut for the entirety of the cooking process (ovens lose 50 to 75 degrees with a single door opening), which means temperature probes are ideal.
ThermoWorks is the brand of choice for professional chefs and pitmasters. The easy-to-read monitor provides all the information you need at a glance, and you can set the alarm volume so it doesn't burst your ear drums when it goes off.
For under $20, there's no reason not to give this a try. It does all you need to make sure your food is cooked to your desired temperature, and it'll buzz as soon as it gets there.
With Yummly, you can go smart and wireless with your meat thermometer. It's more tech-y than the other entries, but it's nice to have all of your food's information right on your phone.
Large Cutting Board
Having an extra-large carving board is useful the other 364 days of the year, too. What’s the difference between a good carving board and a really big cutting board? The good ones have deep grooves around the edge to collect the juice runoff from your turkey (there will be a lot, regardless of how long you let it rest).
Five Two, the in-house brand of food blog Food52, makes some pretty good, millennial-appealing kitchenware for their matching budgets, and it reaches out to its audience to get feedback on what they look for in cookware. For the cutting board, it meant a juice groove, a pour spout and a phone holder — so you can follow a recipe or FaceTime your friends.
For around $20 you get a decent hardwood board with a grooved perimeter, so liquids stay on the board and not on the counter. Reviewers note that the board will show signs of wear, but with such a low price tag, you won't feel so bad about tossing this when it's cut to death.
John Boos has been around since 1887, and it's because the cutting boards are just so damn good. Made in the US, this Boos Block is made of sustainably sourced maple that's been found to be one of the more durable materials for a cutting board. The board even has naturally occurring bacteria-killing enzymes.
Carving knives should be thin, long and sharp. This is because a carving knife needs to get deep into large cuts of meat (an enormous bird, for instance) and have the ability to slice without destroying the meat. They should be mildly flexible, as the knife needs to give a bit to the curvature of the meat (animals aren’t squares).
Global's knives look weird as hell (just look at that all-steel construction!), but they're some of the best blades on the market. Its carving knife is no exception. It utilizes the brand's proprietary steel so it's sharp and highly durable.
Victorinox's line of Fibrox knives are hard to beat when it comes to value and ability. Its slicer has a long, flexible handle, and the ergonomic handle will ensure your hand doesn't cramp up as you carve.
No, this isn't a sword, but it sure as hell will slice through meat like it's butter. The German-made knife proves why Wüsthof continues to be one of the best knife manufacturers around.