Tips for Preparing the Perfect Turkey

This Thanksgiving may be a bit different from what we’re used to—just like everything else in 2020—but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy a perfect turkey. Here are a few tips we’ve picked up from some of our favorite chefs and brands.

Prepare for a Long Thaw

For those of us who only do this once a year, here’s a quick food safety refresher. According to, a frozen turkey can be thawed in a refrigerator (or walk-in cooler) set to 40°F or below for approximately 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds. Allow about 30 minutes per  pound of cold water thawing, changing the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed. A turkey thawed in cold water should be cooked right away. 

Brine to Maximize Juiciness

Brining overnight is a safe and easy way to achieve a tender and juicy turkey. Basic brine requires a cup of kosher salt, ½ cup of brown sugar, and 2-4 quarts of water. Make it your own with your choice of aromatic herbs, spices, and citrus.

  1. Place all ingredients in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  4. Stir in an additional 1/2 gallon cold or ice water and cool completely.
  5. Pour brine into a container just large enough to fully submerge the turkey in the liquid.
  6. Place on the bottom shelf of your cooler overnight.

Smaller turkeys fit perfectly in Cambro’s 22 Qt. Rounds, shown above, which have a top diameter of 14 7/8".

2-in-1 Defrost and Brine Method

Our friends at Cambro shared this time-saving trick from Chef Alton Brown with us.  Watch his video demo using Cambro’s 12" x 18" Polycarbonate Food Box.  For larger turkeys or multiple birds, use a Cambro 18" x 26" food box. The Cambro Colander Kit makes this process even easier since it includes the food box, a SlidingLid to keep it safely covered, yet accessible, and a perfectly-fitted, lift-out colander insert that allows you to lift the turkey and neatly drain the brine from the box below. Throughout the brining process, you’ll want to monitor the temperature of the water to make sure it doesn’t go above 40°F.

Roasting to Perfection

Now it’s time to season the turkey with your favorite seasonings and head to the oven to roast it to a perfect and safe internal temperature of 165°F. This is where we’re going to turn it over to the chefs at Convotherm. Watch the Turkey in the Convotherm 4 easyTouch video to see how quick and easy it can be to get a beautiful, perfectly roasted turkey at the touch of a button, every single time.

What’s so special about the Convotherm 4 is that once a recipe is programmed to cook to your specifications, anyone on the team can use your pre-programmed recipe to ensure consistent results every time. A press on a touchscreen or the twist of a dial is all your staff needs to ensure the outstanding results you’ve built your reputation on. You can’t be everywhere at once, but the food will taste like you were!

Since kitchens come in all shapes and sizes, Convotherm 4 does too. No matter what you serve— or how much—there’s a size that’s right for you.

  • All models available with your choice of controller: easyTouch® or easyDial™
  • Large range of sizes to fit your space, or production capacity requirements—each cavity optimized for precise heat, air, and steam management
  • Available in gas or electric and with steam generation through either a boiler or injection system

We hope this gets you fired up to roast some fabulous turkey this Thanksgiving, no matter how large or small the scale. As you prepare for the holidays, we’re here to help you get equipped back-of-house, front-of-house, and for catering and delivery. Contact us any time!


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