When Thanksgiving is just around the corner, people are starting to make preparations for the upcoming holiday. If you have a lot of spare time, you’d probably cook a turkey from scratch. However, if you’re not so lucky, the smartest decision to make is to get a pre-cooked one. They will be easier to prepare but less time consuming than buying a raw turkey.
If you’re worried that buying pre-cooked turkeys may not be as good as cooking it on your own, here are some ways to upgrade it:
Serve It Warm
Cooked turkeys that you’ll find in grocery stores are, of course, frozen to preserve them until someone buys them. There’s no surprise that you’ll need to reheat it so it can be edible for your guests. It takes a few extra tricks, but a pre-cooked turkey can sometimes make the best smoked turkeys instead of cooking from scratch.
- You should preheat your oven to 375°F.
- Place your turkey in a foil pan. Brush it with melted butter.
- It’s also optional to sprinkle in pepper and fresh or dried thyme.
- Then, reduce the temperature to 275°F and put in your turkey.
The trick to knowing the best heating time for the turkey is to heat it five minutes per pound. So if you have an 8 lbs. turkey, it needs to stay in the oven for about 40 minutes. Make sure that the turkey is warm and not scalding hot. It’s also essential that you don’t leave it on too long to maintain its juiciness and succulence.
Add Side Dishes or Stuffing
Serving the best turkey there ever was will still be boring if it’s alone on the table. Food can be a lot more tempting if there are side dishes that go well with it. It gives your taste buds a rest from the flavorful bird, so you won’t quickly get tired of the turkey’s taste.
Stuffing is almost an automatic side dish when there’s turkey on the table. However, this is only nearly always true for cooking raw, but it’s not a very good idea for pre-cooked turkeys. Most of the time, the turkey finishes recooking, but the stuffing still hasn’t. You might end up with undercooked stuffing most of the time. Instead of actually “stuffing” the stuffing, you’re better off cooking it separately.
You can also prepare other side dishes such as potatoes, sweet corn, brussels sprouts, and homemade rolls—all of which are easy to make.
Make Special Sauces
Eating turkey without sauce is not complete. The sauces provide a complementary flavor for the turkey. It adds moistness and texture to the bird as you chew it, and it creates an explosion of flavor.
One of the sauces you can never go wrong pairing with turkey is gravy. The best gravy for turkey is making it using the juices of the roasted turkey. But if it’s pre-cooked, the gravy you make may not be as tasty without the drippings from the turkey. What you can do is to add a cup of water at the bottom of the foil tin or dish while you reheat the turkey. The flavor and juice from the turkey will blend with the water, which you can then use for the gravy.
Another sauce to make is cranberry sauce. It’s such a classic Thanksgiving dish that almost every table has it during the holiday. You can make your own cranberry sauce that you can eat with your turkey. And if you have some more, you can use it to make puff pastries for dessert.
Pair With Wine
Turkey can also pair well with many different kinds of wine. Since you usually serve turkey during special occasions such as Thanksgiving, it’ll be better to serve it with special drinks, too. The premium fully cooked turkeys will taste better with wine instead of just water or juice.
Some of the wines, red or white, that can go great with turkey include:
- Pinot Noir
- Dry Riesling
- Red Zinfandel
Of course, you’ll have to choose the best pre-cooked turkey carefully. To give you an idea, you can watch this video to see how smoked turkeys are made:
When you’re a busy person but still want to have an excellent turkey for special occasions, you don’t have to wait for someone to invite you over to their house. You can make a great dinner at your home even if you’re short on time. Pre-cooked turkeys can still be delicious even if you didn’t handpick a raw one at the supermarket and spend hours preparing and cooking it.