Unlike Thanksgiving dinner, which traditionally consists of Turkey as a main course, Christmas dinner can be anything from Goose to beef to ham, to, well to anything that represents the holiday for your family.
If you are cooking this year and meat or poultry is the main course, Kevin Sarbora, manager of the Woodinville has a few tips:
Do not overcook
“People think that a big bird or a big roast is going to take all day to cook. They’re told by packaging left and right that you’ve got to cook it 18 minutes per pound,” he said. “You take a turkey out of the oven at 190 degrees and you’re way over shooting the target range.”
Sarbora recommends a good meat thermometer and taking the meat out at anywhere from 100-150 degrees for depending on how well you want the meat. For poultry should come out of the oven when the thermometer registers 165 degrees.
Let it rest
The meat or poultry is going to continue cooking once out of the oven, let it rest before being caved. For anything under 5 pounds, let it rest at least 10 minutes, anything larger Sarbora says let is stand for 20-30 minutes.
“It will reach this flux state where it will redistribute the juices and that’s what you want. You don’t want to cut into it and have all that juice run out of the meat.”
Don’t Skimp on the Seasoning
“People are afraid of salt, but if you don’t use salt you’re not going to have a depth of flavor. If you’re using table salt, yes you can over salt,” Sarbora said.” Use a good kosher or sea salt and you can control the amount better”.
Seasoning becomes especially important if you’re cooking a post roast or chili for a crowd.
“Seasonings can take a cheap cut of meat and make it taste really good,” said Tony Eason,and cook for Station 31. “Besides salt and pepper, you’ll want to use lots of garlic and onions.”
Not ready to cook? Don’t worry; most grocery stores have plenty in the hot foods section to put on a feast. It may be too late to order a fully cooked holiday meal, but most will have plenty of whole roaster chickens and lots of cooked side dishes in the prepared foods sections. Most of the stores are closed on Christmas, but all are open on Christmas Eve.
Some of the best-prepared foods sections are at: