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Turkey Talk: Noom’s Chef Sam’s Top 3 Tips for Cooking a Perfect Turkey

by | Nov 20, 2018 | Last updated Feb 15, 2022

Noom employees are fortunate to enjoy nutritious, home-cooked lunches every day. From warming soup to a decked out salad bar, and perfectly seared flank steak to spicy tofu masala, Chef Sam and Chef Marcello spoil the team with delicious, innovative dishes that help fuel the team to perform at their best. We are definitely #ThankFULL.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we asked Chef Sam to share his top 3 tips for cooking the perfect turkey. Ready to impress your guests?

It’s turkey time! More often than not, Thanksgiving turkeys look fantastic right when the come out of the oven — golden brown, weeping halcyon juices, and smelling slightly sanctified. Then, you carve it up to discover that the breast is dry and the thighs are barely done. But by the time the dark meat is ready, the white meat is toast. Turkeys are a big bird, and they take a lot of time and care to get right, especially if you are stuffing it. Thankfully, there are a couple of ways to avoid this sad situation.

Tip 1: Befriend brine

Brine is essentially “salty water” and you can find tons of simple recipes for turkey brine online. I personally love a good brine with lots of flavorful herbs!

“Brining” works through diffusion. Let your turkey sit in the salty, herbaceous water overnight. The meat will absorb the water and flavor, and your bird will become nice and plump. Simple and easy to execute, brining ensures that your turkey has more water in each cell of the meat. Did somebody say juicy?! 

Tip 2: Divide & conquer (the meat)

This year, try cooking the dark and white meat separately. Breaking down your turkey beforehand also makes brining easier if you have limited space in your fridge. Your stuffing can be cooked under the breast bone (white meat), or under the thighs and legs (dark meat). Separating dark and white meat will also reduce the overall cooking time and allow you to cook the entire bird to perfection.

Tip 3: Pre-cook your bird

If you really want to wow your guests with your carving skills, cook the turkey breast the day before your feast and allow it to cool completely, saving the drippings. Once the meat is cold, it can be sliced into perfect pieces more easily. Dark meat can be deboned and done this way as well if you’d like. Transfer the drippings into a baking dish, place your pre-carved slices on top, cover the dish with foil, and keep it in the refrigerator overnight. Feel free to add a little chicken stock until the liquid is about halfway up the meat in the baking dish. On the big day just pop that sucker in the oven on low, and heat the meat until it’s warm (no more!). You’ll have tender juicy deliciousness!

Armed with these simple tricks, your meal will be a lot easier to pull off! Don’t stop here, though. Think critically and try to find other ways to streamline the whole process. Don’t be shy about asking for help — cooking with family and friends can be the best part of a holiday! If you feel overwhelmed, remember it’s only dinner — you’re not saving the world. I always remind myself to have fun with it. Good luck Noomers!