Do You Really Need A Roasting Rack To Cook Turkey?

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Every year in late November, we get together with our families and friends, we go around the table and recite the things we're thankful for, and then we cheerfully dive in to enjoy delicious homemade carb-on-carb comfort foods. Mashed potatoes swimming in gravy made from turkey drippings, baked mac 'n cheese, brown sugar-laden yams, tart cranberry sauce (with can ridges or without), green bean casserole. Let's not forget the savory stuffing and pumpkin pie. Is your mouth watering yet? And every year, we roast a turkey. The star of the show, and arguably the worst thing on the table. But why does our beloved turkey turn out so bad so often?

Part of the reason why turkeys usually turn out no-so-great is that, well, there are so many things that can go wrong with cooking a turkey. It's definitely a labor of love thing or else it ends up overcooked. Raw in the middle. Super dry. Carved incorrectly. Or, you manage to commit the worst sin of all turkey cooking sins: Soggy skin. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt via Serious Eats points out that there are two things we're trying to achieve when roasting a turkey: crisp, well-browned skin and juicy, moist meat.

So what can you do to make sure that when you march your turkey out to the table and set it down, you can carve it with pride? According to My Recipes, you need one essential thing: a roasting rack.

A roasting rack will make your turkey more delicious

There are several reasons why using a roasting rack along with your roasting pan will take your turkey from sad panda face to huzzah. The main reason is that a rack literally lifts the turkey off the bottom of the pan. This ensures that hot air circulates around the bird as it's roasting, producing a more even cook by allowing heat to reach every surface of the skin. If you leave your turkey sitting on the bottom of your roasting pan, there's no way air is going to get underneath it, which means only the skin on top of your turkey will get crispy. You can flip your turkey over to solve for this issue halfway through, but that can be problematic, especially if you've got a very large bird to deal with (per Serious Eats).

A rack also keeps the turkey out of the fat and drippings at the bottom of the pan, instead of soaking the underside in fat for hours. You're going to want to use this magically delicious liquid to make your gravy later, and having it right there in the roasting pan without having to lift your bird out will make it easier to access (per My Recipes). Now, if you're reading this on Thanksgiving Day and find yourself panicking without a roasting rack, don't. You can easily MacGyver yourself one out of aluminum foil and achieve turkey perfection (via Food & Wine).