Stephen Lyle
Executive Chef and Partner, Village, New York City

Turkey Tips

"One year, when I was the chef at the Odeon, I catered Thanksgiving for the David Letterman Show. It was a lot of fun, but it involved cutting up something like 37 turkeys. The day we did this I had a new cook who had just arrived from France. He was so unnerved by the experience that he got back on the plane the next day. So, I think there is something about Thanksgiving that only Americans understand. There are many Americans who only cook on Thanksgiving: They are deathly afraid of hurting themselves in the process. Thanksgiving comes with a special set of anxieties.

My advice is, most importantly, to make way too much food. Anything less is unpatriotic. It's ok if the turkey breast is a little dried out. You will still have access to the foodie VIP lounge in heaven, even if you don't turn the bird every thirty seconds. That's what gravy was invented for. And, if all else fails, plan to let mom cook next year."

"best of" turkey tips home
stephen lyle's turkey stock | pan roast of oysters with poblano chiles on toasted cornbread

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1. Make sure the turkey is completely defrosted and at room temperature.

2. For an unstuffed bird, the cooking time will be about 10 minutes per lb. at 350°F. Using an instant read
thermometer, the breast must register 160
°F at the deepest part of thigh). You can always throw the legs
back in the oven! They always take longer.

3. One twenty-pound turkey will feed ten people, (leftovers included). If you have a large enough oven, two
smaller turkeys can be easier to handle.

4. Set aside at least one half hour for the bird to rest after cooking.