Thanksgiving Turkey Cooking Tips

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How to make turducken recipe. © 2012 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Are you panicking about making your first Thanksgiving feast? Calm down, take a deep breath, and find out all you need to know about how to cook classic Thanksgiving favorite dishes. Get your recipes lined up, make your shopping list, and plan ahead. Be prepared to impress your friends and loved ones with the perfect Thanksgiving meal. Read on for help in preparing a classic Thanksgiving meal.

How to Cook a Turkey

The turkey is the star of the show, but where do you start?

Select the turkey first by deciding if you want a fresh unfrozen turkey or a frozen one. Free-range and large turkeys will be a bit tougher and stronger in flavor. If you purchase a frozen turkey, you'll need to plan ahead to thaw it properly. Then decide whether you want to stuff it or not.

Food safety experts are now recommending that the stuffing be cooked outside the bird. The choice is yours, but always use a meat thermometer to be certain the turkey is fully cooked. Consider making slicing easier at the table by learning how to debone a turkey.

Once you get the hang of it, you will want to use this method also on a chicken. Visually, you will not be able to tell it is deboned if you stuff it. Roast turkey is traditional, but many are turning to deep-fried turkey these days. And some folks prefer to downsize with a turkey breast or ham.

If you are feeling adventurous and really want to impress, try your hand at making a turducken, which is a chicken stuffed inside a duck, then both stuffed inside a turkey.

It is not as difficult as you might think. An added bonus, aside from the flavors of three different types of poultry and two stuffings, is that it is almost boneless.