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The secret to the perfect turkey

16 November 2023

Thanksgiving in America is a time of great tradition. The holiday originated from residents giving thanks to God after the harvest for blessing them with a good harvest. It has become a tradition that continues to this day: every fourth Thursday in November, a bountiful feast is served to give thanks, not only for the harvest, but for everything else they have to be thankful for in the past year.

    The regular celebration was instituted by Franklin D. Roosevelt and is one of the most beloved holidays of the year for Americans, along with Christmas. Thanksgiving Thursday is a public holiday, after which Americans can enjoy sales promotions and discounts, and the start of the run-up to Christmas.

    Thanksgiving is a time when everyone in the family, even those who live far away, travel home to gather together and enjoy the traditional meals. One of the most popular of all is turkey, which has become such a key part of Thanksgiving that some people refer to the holiday as Turkey Day. The popular dish features a golden-brown, juicy turkey with the famous cranberry sauce and stuffing, served with mashed potatoes and green beans. And for desserts, pumpkin pie is in its heyday this time of year.

    Turkey only became a fashionable Thanksgiving meal at the turn of the 19th century. There are several reasons for its popularity. Firstly, there were plenty of turkeys available to Americans during this period, they could be found anywhere on much of the continent, and secondly, turkeys were always available on a family farm, so they could be easily slaughtered at any time. Besides their meat, turkeys were of no use to farmers, since they produced neither milk nor eggs. Thirdly, the huge size of the turkeys was perfect for a large family. Although Thanksgiving in Hungary is not as significant a holiday as the Christmas season that follows, an exciting turkey dish has as much place on the domestic holiday table as it does at Thanksgiving parties overseas.

    There are many different recipes and methods for the perfect turkey, but if you want to be on the safe side, follow Wolfgang Puck's instructions. The chef legend now shares the secret to the perfect turkey.

Wolfgang Puck's recipe for the perfect roast turkey:

Serves 10-12 people


  • 1 turkey (6-7kg)
  • Salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary

How to make it:

  1. Before preparing the turkey, preheat the oven to 160°.
  2. The first step is to remove the turkey neck and giblets, which should be set aside for later use in stock or gravy.
  3. Next, rinse the turkey with cold water. It's also a good idea to rinse the inside of the turkey well, and when you're done, use a paper towel to pat it dry.
  4. Then continue by trimming off the hanging skin and fat.
  5. Season the turkey inside and out with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and rub everything into the skin. Make sure that the turkey is well covered with the seasoned oil.
  6. Place the 4 sprigs of rosemary inside the turkey, and when you're done, tie the turkey together with a meat string.
  7. Carefully place the tied turkey on a baking sheet and place on the bottom rack of the oven.
  8. Set the timer for 2 hours and cook the turkey. Then turn the oven up to a higher temperature and roast the outside to a nice golden brown (190°C, 10-15min). While baking, it is a good idea to baste the skin with clarified butter or the resulting gravy.
  9. You can check with a meat thermometer the internal temperature of the turkey, which should ideally be 75°. Cooking time depends on the size of the turkey.
  10. When the turkey is done, carefully remove from the oven, cover with foil and leave to rest for 20-30 minutes.
  11. When the time is up, you can slice and serve the turkey.

Wolfgang Puck's extra tips for the roast turkey

    It is also a good idea to save any fat that has dripped off the meat in the sheet for later, as it can be used in sauces or other gravies served with the meat.

    Wolfgang Puck likes to roast his turkey on a bed of vegetables. To do this, you simply toss the cut vegetables with garlic in the bottom of the sheet, spread them out evenly and then place the meat on top. Once cooked, the vegetables will absorb the seasoned fat, making it the perfect side dish.

    The most professional way to carve the turkey is to first cut the turkey in half down the middle and then cut the skin between the breasts and legs. Run the knife along the breastbone and lift off the turkey breast. Finally, cut diagonally into slices.


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