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We are getting very close to Thanksgiving…just 10 days to go! I can’t wait to go shopping for all the necessary ingredients, and sit down and create my cooking schedule. I usually do my pies the night before, start making rolls first thing in the morning, and then get all veggies prepped in advance. I make stuffing while the oven is pre-heating for the turkey, and get to relax during most of the turkey-baking time. It’s a decent system, although it wouldn’t kill me to learn to delegate. That’s my best piece of Thanksgiving advice: let your guests help if they offer! One of these days I’ll learn how to do that.

I’m one of the few people I know who cooks my turkey with a lid. About 10 years ago, my husband took on the turkey chef duties when I was out of town. In honor of his beautiful citrus-stuffed bird, our friend Jeffrey gave him a big, lidded roasting pan for his birthday. We have used it ever since, and it makes for a perfect, juicy, tender turkey, including the breast. It’s the same principle as those roasting bags, which I also highly recommend. Keeping the moisture locked in is the key, ain’t no doubt about it.

If you don’t own a roaster with a lid, and are averse to the roasting bag, there are numerous other ways to hold in that critical moisture. One tip is to brine your turkey for at least 24 hours prior to roasting. You can buy brining mixes at most stores these days, or you can make your own with salt, water, any herbs you like…even bourbon if you’re in the mood. Another option is to cover the breast with moistened cheese cloth or tent the turkey with foil, ala Martha Stewart.

Finally, and the option we’re really here to talk about, wrap your turkey in bacon. Not only will the bacon seal in all those wonderful juices, it will also add its own fat and flavor to both your turkey and your gravy. This recipe from pairs your savory turkey with sweet and succulent pears and cider. Seriously, how delicious does that sound? also has a number of other tips for turkey preparation, and the one that I cannot stress enough is this: make sure your turkey is completely thawed before cooking. After thawing, make sure it gets to the sink in enough time for even the giblets inside to come to room temperature. This will ensure that the turkey cooks evenly, and that you don’t get any “squeaky” meat. My worst poultry nightmare.

I’m thinking of looking for a new stuffing recipe this year…I got a great one from a reader named Marie a couple weeks back. Any more ideas?

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