Turkey Prep 101: How to Cook a Successful Bird

November 20, 2019

Believe it or not, the Thanksgiving holiday is swiftly approaching. That means approximately 45 million turkeys will be eaten in America, and we’ll each consume approximately 159 grams of fat during the meal. Lots of time, effort and thought goes into the curation of this delicious dinner, so make sure to avoid cutting corners. That means preparing a delectable turkey.



This is all about oven-roasting a turkey. The name of the game is proper prep and care. The way you prepare it for its journey within the oven will make or break its outcome—flavor, texture and all. Luckily, there are a couple of different ways to give your turkey the best chance of being the star of the show…as it should be.  




BRINING – brining is the act of soaking in salt. In this case, soaking your turkey in salt will make sure its flavor comes through beautifully. Some brines call for herbs and spices, too. But beware, simple is sometimes better. First, clean your turkey and take out its innards. Cover the bird with about 2 cups of salt. Then, locate a large pot, cooler, or bag (puncture-proof!) that leaves a few inches of space on all sides of the turkey, including the top. Cover it with cold water (Primo, of course!), transfer it to the fridge, and let it soak for 12 hours.

NOTE: some turkeys are pre-brined, so just read your packaging before starting the process.


BASTING – basting is the technique of adding liquid to the surface of roasting meat, poultry and other foods. That liquid can include, but is not limited to, pan drippings, wine, butter, stock or a homemade basting liquid. You’ll want to baste your bird two or three times during its cooking process, using a basting bulb or brush to spread the liquid evenly.

There’s controversy over basting in the culinary world. While some chefs believe it’s a lot of busywork that lengthens the cook time on your turkey, increasing the risk of drying out the meat, others believe it’s a hard-and-fast way to get beautiful coloring and deliciously crisp skin. The general consensus is that, if you want to just take your turkey from the fridge to the oven without much hassle, basting is the way to go.




FLIP IT – yup, you heard it right. Cooking your turkey upside-down in the oven is a sure-fire way to make sure its meat stays nice and juicy. When cooked right-side-up, the tender, white breast meat is at risk of overcooking and drying out, since the dark meat needs more time than the rest of the bird. Flipping it over while cooking protects that white meat, keeping it moist, and ensures the dark meat is cooked all the way through. This technique is faster and it also doesn’t require basting since it keeps in the majority of the moisture.



There’s debate among the cooking sphere about the length of time to cook your turkey, too. It all has to do with the size and weight of your turkey. Generally, you’ll want to allot 13 minutes of cook time per pound of turkey. So, a 14-pound turkey will need to cook for about 3 hours.





No matter brining or basting, brewing tea or hydrating after a long morning of cooking—you should be wary about the water you’re using. Tap water is often accompanied by unwanted visitors like bacteria and protozoa, cancer-causing chemicals, heavy metals and more. When you choose Primo® Water, you’re choosing better, safer water, because its 5-step Reverse Osmosis (RO) purification process has eliminated all harmful microorganisms, heavy metals, trace pharmaceuticals and more!

So, make sure your scrumptious turkey makes your dinner guests swoon. But make sure to do it with the help of Primo.