Ideally, the turkey should rest 30 to 40 minutes to let the fluids redistribute. (This gives you ample time to make gravy, too.) We normally recommend that the turkey be back into the refrigerator within 2 hours, so by the time you carve and serve, that timeline works very well.
The trouble is, bacteria particularly appreciate the temperature zone between 40 and 140°F. So once your turkey cools down to 140° (which may not take very long, depending on your kitchen temperature, if you’ve cooked it to 165°F), you’re starting to encourage stuff. You can feel somewhat secure staying inside the two-hour window, but I wouldn’t go any further. So if you’re planned for a long rest, just make sure to refrigerate any leftovers soon after carving.
You know that Adage, “Your Goose is Cooked”?
We’re recommending that it be amended to “Your turkey is cooked,” since when you spoil a perfectly cooked Thanksgiving turkey with some novice carving mistakes, you’re in so much danger. You can spend all year perfecting your roasting abilities, but what happens after it’s out of the oven can make or break your meal.
Have you Heard the Expression, “Your Goose is Cooked?”
We think it should be changed to “Your turkey is done,” because it’s a huge embarrassment to spoil a perfectly cooked Thanksgiving turkey by making careless carving mistakes. You can study roasting techniques for months on end and still have your food fall apart if you don’t pay attention to what occurs after it comes out of the oven.
How to Cook a Perfectly Roasted Turkey
Truss it, let it rest, tent it, carve it at the table, use a dull knife, cut through the bone, remove the wishbone, use your bird as a guide, but leave the skin on.
You’ve spent days brining, roasting, and basting your Thanksgiving turkey, and now it’s finally ready to be carved and served. You’ve done everything perfectly up until now, but the final step—carving—can transform your beautiful gobbler into unrecognisable, miniscule fragments of meat.
There’s no need to fear the annual ritual of turkey carving. If you can avoid making a few simple mistakes, you won’t have any trouble. If you’re familiar with carving a chicken, you’ll have no trouble with a turkey.
The size of the bird and the ambient temperature will determine how long you should let it rest. The typical resting period is 30 to 45 minutes, but if you need more time to prepare the rest of the meal, you can usually get away with resting it for a bit longer.