Turkey Tools You'll Need

Use the Right Tools to Cook & Serve Your Turkey

Turkey. Photo © Mifflin

Some kitchen tools are essentials when it comes to cooking a turkey while others are such convenient utensils, I wouldn't want to be without them. Be equipped with the proper tools for the task and your meal preparation will be that much easier.

1. Roaster, Roasting Pan or Roaster Oven

Although you can buy a large foil roasting pan for cooking a turkey, there can be problems with these flimsy pans. The weight of the turkey makes it difficult to lift the foil pan from the oven without it folding and spilling its contents.

If you will be cooking a turkey every year or so, it makes sense to buy a roasting pan for this task. In the long run, you'll actually save money not having to buy the foil pans. With a wide range of prices available, you'll easily find a roaster within your budget and you'll soon find other cooking uses for this essential cookware.

2. Poultry Lifters

Poultry lifters are essential for removing the bird from the pan in one piece. You could carve the bird right in the roaster, but most people want to place the entire turkey on a tray or cutting board for display and carving.

Some lifters are shaped as large forks that make it easy to grasp the bird and safely lift it from the roaster. Other lifters are designed like a rack that sits in the bottom with part of it protruding up each side of the pan. You would gently remove the bird from the roaster by lifting from both sides.

Either type of poultry or meat lifter works well.

3. Poultry or Roaster Rack

These are racks that sit in the bottom of the roaster and unlike a lifter rack, they are designed not to lift the bird out, but to raise and keep it about 1" or so from the bottom of the roaster during cooking.

The idea is to keep the bird and stuffing from soaking in the grease.

Although they are not expensive, poultry racks are often sold with roasters so there's a cost saving if you need a roaster. A model with a non-stick finish would be much easier to clean. These racks come in a range of sizes so you may want to note how large your roaster is before buying a rack for it.

4. Meat Baster

You may not use a baster that often, but for large poultry it's an essential cooking tool. It's very difficult to get a ladle or large spoon down into the pan in order to baste the turkey and a baster will easily accomplish the task. Without basting, the turkey could be extremely dry.

5. Meat Thermometer

Food thermometers take the guesswork out of cooking and help you to monitor the interior temperature of the turkey to ensure that it's completely and safely cooked.

6. Carving or Slicing Knife

Make sure that you have a long sharp carving, chef's or slicing knife so carving the turkey results in clean slices without shredding. An electric knife is also a good carver as it can effortlessly deliver clean and even slices.

7. Turkey Platter or Tray

A large tray or platter is a must if you want to display the whole turkey on the dinner table.

Once the bird is carved, there's room on a platter to organize and neatly place the turkey slices for easy serving. Platters are inexpensive, but in a pinch you can use baking sheets or large baking pans for this purpose. Sheets that have at least 1" sides are preferable to help contain the poultry slices.

8. Gravy Boat

You'll need something to hold the turkey gravy and make it easy for guests to serve themselves. A gravy boat with a small ladle works well, but you may also want to consider a small slow cooker, insulated gravy jug or an electric fondue to keep it warm during serving.

9. More helpful tips:

If you don't have a favorite recipe already or have never roasted a turkey, try some recipes from About Cooks:

  • Turkey Recipes at About
  • Host a Stress-Free Dinner

Other Helpful Resources:

Hosting & Holiday Planning
Holiday Readiness
Turkey Left-Overs? Get Creative With Your Appliances
Tips on Using Foil Roasters
Look for left-over turkey recipes at About

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