The Way to Get The Best Flavor From a Turkey

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and it’s time to start preparing the centerpiece of the meal – the turkey. While cooking a turkey may seem daunting, tucking the wings is a simple technique that can ensure even cooking and a beautiful presentation. In this section, we will guide you through the process of tucking the turkey wings before roasting, so you can create a delicious and impressive holiday feast.

how to tuck the turkey wings

Key Takeaways:

  • Tucking the turkey wings helps ensure even cooking and a more appealing presentation
  • Properly preparing the turkey before tucking is important
  • Folding the wings and tying them in place will maintain their desired position
  • Placing the turkey on a roasting rack will help with cooking
  • Monitoring the cooking process is essential for achieving crispy, flavorful turkey wings

Why Tuck the Turkey Wings?

If you’re a fan of crispy turkey skin, tucking the wings is a must-do technique for your Thanksgiving bird. Not only does it help the skin crisp up evenly all over the turkey, but it also prevents the wings from burning or sticking out while roasting. But achieving perfectly tucked wings takes a little know-how and practice. In this section, we’ll cover the best practices for tucking turkey wings and why it’s well worth the effort.

The Turkey Wing Tucking Technique

The turkey wing tucking technique involves folding the wings behind the bird’s neck and securing them in place to prevent overcooking and uneven browning. Tucked wings also make for a neater presentation and easier carving.

Another added perk of tucking the wings is that it helps keep the turkey’s shape, which makes it easier to carve. When the wings are left untucked, they can stick out and make it difficult to slice the breast meat.

Best Practices for Tucking Turkey Wings

The first thing to keep in mind when tucking turkey wings is to take your time. It may seem like a minor step, but it can make a big difference in the final outcome of your turkey. You’ll want to start by locating the wing joint, which is where the wing meets the body of the bird.

Once you’ve found the joint, gently bend the wing backward and tuck it behind the bird’s neck. Be sure to secure the wings in place with kitchen twine or butcher’s string to prevent them from popping out during cooking. Properly tucked wings will result in a more compact and evenly roasted turkey.

Tip:Some recipes suggest tucking the wings under the turkey’s back, but this can lead to uneven cooking. Tucking the wings behind the neck is a more effective method for ensuring even cooking and crispy skin all over the bird.

Another important aspect of tucking turkey wings is ensuring that the bird is properly prepared before roasting. Be sure to pat the turkey dry with paper towels to help the skin crisp up nicely during cooking. And don’t forget to season the turkey before roasting for maximum flavor.

Overall, tucking the turkey wings is a straightforward technique that can make a big difference in the presentation and flavor of your Thanksgiving turkey. With a little practice and attention to detail, you’ll be able to achieve perfectly tucked wings and a beautifully roasted bird.

Preparing the Turkey for Tucking

Before tucking the wings, it’s essential to prepare the turkey properly. Start by making sure the turkey is thawed completely. If you’re using a frozen turkey, it’s best to allow it to thaw in the fridge for a few days. A good rule of thumb is to allow 24 hours of thawing time per 4-5 pounds of turkey.

Once the turkey is thawed, clean it thoroughly, ensuring to remove any giblets from the cavity. Rinse the turkey with cold water and pat it dry with paper towels. Drying the turkey is crucial for achieving crispy skin during roasting.

When the turkey is clean and dry, it’s time to focus on the presentation. Place the turkey on a large platter or board, breast-side up. This allows you to easily access the wings and makes the tucking process easier.

Step-by-Step Turkey Wing Tucking Guide

Now that the turkey is properly prepared, it’s time to start tucking the wings. Follow these easy steps to properly tuck the wings:

  1. Locate the wing joint. Take one wing and gently move it away from the body to expose the joint.
  2. Using a sharp knife, cut through the skin and tendons at the joint. Be careful not to cut too deeply or through the bone.
  3. Bend the wing backward, so it’s flat against the turkey’s body.
  4. Take a piece of kitchen twine or butcher’s string and tie it tightly around the wing and body, securing the wing in place.
  5. Repeat on the other side and make sure both wings are securely tucked.

Once both wings are tucked, it’s time to get the turkey ready for roasting. As mentioned before, placing the turkey on a roasting rack is best for even cooking. However, if you don’t have a rack, you can place the turkey directly on a roasting pan.

Now that the turkey is properly tucked and ready for roasting, it’s time to start seasoning and preparing it for the oven. Check out the next section for tips on how to season and prepare your turkey for roasting.

Finding the Wing Joint

Locating the wing joint on your turkey is essential for properly tucking the wings. To find the joint, you’ll need to feel for a small bone that connects the wing to the turkey’s body.

Here’s how to locate the joint:

  1. Place your hand under one of the turkey’s wings, with your palm facing up.
  2. Slowly bend the wing back towards the turkey’s body, as if you’re folding it.
  3. As you fold the wing, you should feel a small bone pop out from the shoulder joint.

Once you have identified the joint on one side, repeat the process on the other wing.

Expert Tip: If you’re having difficulty finding the joint, ask your local butcher for assistance or watch a video tutorial for visual guidance.

Folding the Turkey Wings

After locating the wing joint, it’s time to fold the wings. This step is crucial in achieving evenly roasted turkey with crispy wings. Follow these simple steps to tuck your turkey wings:

  1. First, lift up one wing and fold it back behind the turkey.
  2. Next, bend the wing at the joint and tuck it behind the turkey’s body.
  3. Repeat this process with the other wing.

Make sure to tuck the wings tightly to the turkey’s body, but be careful not to pull them too tightly or they may tear. Tucking the wings ensures that they cook evenly and don’t dry out during roasting.

Remember, achieving crispy turkey wings is all about proper preparation. Tucking the wings is just one step in the process. Be sure to follow the additional steps in this guide to ensure a perfect Thanksgiving turkey.

Expert Tip:

For an extra crispy finish, brush the turkey wings with melted butter before roasting. This will ensure they crisp up beautifully and provide a delicious flavor.

Tying the Wings

Once the wings are folded, they need to be secured in place with kitchen twine or butcher’s string. Tying the wings will ensure they stay tucked throughout the cooking process, resulting in a beautifully roasted turkey.

A step-by-step guide to tying the wings:

  1. Cut a length of kitchen twine or butcher’s string, about 18 inches long.
  2. Place the string under the turkey’s back, right where the neck and body meet.
  3. Pull the string up and over the top of the turkey, towards the front.
  4. Bring the string down and wrap it around the ends of the wings, pulling them towards the body.
  5. Wrap the string around the turkey, making a knot to secure the wings in place.

Make sure to tie the string tightly, but not so tight that it cuts into the skin of the turkey. Also, make sure to trim any excess string once the turkey is tied.

Expert Tip: If you don’t have any kitchen twine or butcher’s string, you can use small skewers to keep the wings in place. Simply pierce the wings and the body of the turkey with the skewers, holding them in place.

With the wings securely tied, your turkey is now ready for roasting. Move onto the next section to learn about placing the turkey on the roasting rack.

Placing the Turkey on the Roasting Rack

Now that the turkey wings are tucked and tied securely in place, it’s time to place the turkey on a roasting rack. A roasting rack is an essential tool for achieving even cooking and crispy skin all over the turkey.

When placing the turkey on the rack, make sure to position it breast-side up. This will help keep the meat moist and juicy. Additionally, make sure that the turkey is centered on the rack to ensure even cooking.

Turkey on a Roasting Rack

If you don’t have a roasting rack, you can improvise by using a bed of chopped vegetables like onions, carrots, and celery to elevate the turkey from the bottom of the pan. This will help prevent the skin from sticking and allow the heat to circulate evenly around the bird.

Expert Tip:

For extra crispy skin, try placing a few pats of butter under the skin of the turkey before roasting.

Now that the turkey is properly positioned on the roasting rack, it’s time to move on to seasoning and preparing the bird for roasting.

Seasoning and Preparing the Turkey

Before roasting, it’s crucial to properly season and prepare your turkey to ensure a delicious and flavorful Thanksgiving meal. Here are some essential turkey cooking techniques to follow:

  1. Clean and dry the turkey: Make sure your turkey is thawed and cleaned thoroughly. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. This will help the skin crisp up nicely during roasting.
  2. Season the turkey: Rub the turkey all over with a mixture of your favorite herbs and spices. For example, you can use a combination of salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary. You can also add sliced onions, lemons, and herbs to the cavity of the turkey for extra flavor.
  3. Prepare the roasting pan: Choose a roasting pan that’s large enough to accommodate your turkey. Coat the bottom of the pan with a layer of chopped vegetables, such as carrots, onions, and celery. This will add flavor to the drippings and help prevent the turkey from sticking to the pan.

Once your turkey is seasoned and prepared, it’s time to tuck the wings before roasting. Refer to the previous sections for a step-by-step guide on the turkey wing tucking technique.

Expert Tip: For a crispier turkey skin, you can also try basting the turkey with melted butter or oil every 30 minutes during roasting.

Roasting the Turkey with Tucked Wings

Now that your turkey is properly tucked, it’s time to roast it to perfection. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and place the turkey on a roasting rack in a roasting pan. Cover the turkey with foil and roast according to the weight of your bird. Generally, it takes about 13-15 minutes per pound to cook a turkey.

After about an hour of roasting, remove the foil from the turkey and baste it with its own juices. This will help ensure the skin is crispy and browned all over. If you want the skin to be extra crispy, baste the turkey with melted butter or oil instead.

As the turkey roasts, keep an eye on the wings to ensure they stay tucked in. If you notice them starting to come loose, use kitchen twine or butcher’s string to secure them again.

Using a meat thermometer, check the internal temperature of the turkey. The turkey is done when the thickest part of the meat registers at least 165°F (74°C). Once the turkey is cooked, remove it from the oven and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. This will help the juices redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and juicy turkey.

When carving the turkey, make sure to show off your perfectly tucked wings. Use a sharp knife to carefully slice the meat away from the bone, being careful not to disturb the wings. Arrange the sliced turkey on a platter, and don’t forget to garnish it with fresh herbs or citrus slices for an extra pop of flavor.

Monitoring the Cooking Process

Monitoring the cooking process is crucial to achieving a perfectly roasted turkey with tucked wings. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the bird, without touching the bone.
  • Check the turkey regularly to make sure the wings remain tucked. If they start to come loose, gently push them back into place and secure them with additional twine.
  • If the skin is browning too quickly, cover the turkey loosely with foil until it finishes cooking.

These tips will help ensure that your turkey is cooked to perfection and that the wings remain tucked throughout the process.

turkey in an oven

Resting and Carving the Turkey

After roasting the turkey with perfectly tucked wings, it’s time to let the bird rest for at least 30 minutes. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a juicier, more flavorful turkey.

While the turkey is resting, you can prepare your carving station. Make sure you have a sharp carving knife and a large cutting board. Begin carving by removing the legs and thighs, followed by the breast meat. Remember to keep the wings tucked during the carving process to maintain a beautiful presentation.

Arrange the carved turkey on a large platter and garnish with fresh herbs, fruits, or vegetables. For an extra decorative touch, fan out the tucked wings to showcase your turkey wing tucking technique.

Here’s a simple guide to carving your turkey:

1Remove the legs and thighs by cutting through the joint where they connect to the body.
2Separate the drumstick from the thigh by cutting through the joint.
3Remove the breast meat by slicing downward along the breastbone, using the tip of the knife to guide the cut.
4Slice the breast meat against the grain into thin, even pieces.

With these simple steps and your perfectly tucked turkey wings, you’ll have a beautiful and delicious centerpiece for your Thanksgiving feast. Enjoy!

The Best Way To Tuck Turkey Wings

We hope this article has been helpful in teaching you how to tuck the turkey wings for perfect roasting. With the proper technique and preparation, your Thanksgiving turkey can be a true showstopper. Remember, tucking the wings helps prevent uneven cooking and promotes crispy skin all over the bird.

By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this article, you now have the knowledge to properly tuck the wings of your turkey. Remember to locate the wing joint, fold the wings, and tie them into place. Placing the turkey on a roasting rack and seasoning it are also important steps in achieving a delicious and attractive turkey.

As you roast your turkey, be sure to monitor the cooking process and keep an eye on the tucked wings. And after the turkey is cooked to perfection, let it rest before carving and presenting it with beautifully tucked wings.

We hope you have found this article informative and useful. Happy Thanksgiving and happy cooking!


Why is tucking the turkey wings important?

Tucking the turkey wings helps ensure even cooking and prevents them from burning or sticking out. It also results in a more appealing presentation and allows for crispy skin all over the turkey.

How do I prepare the turkey for tucking?

Before tucking the wings, make sure your turkey is properly thawed, cleaned, and dry. Patting the turkey dry with paper towels will help the skin crisp up during roasting.

How do I find the wing joint?

The wing joint is the point where the wings connect to the body. Look for the bend in the wing and locate the joint where it meets the turkey’s body.

How do I fold the turkey wings?

Once you have found the wing joint, carefully bend the wings backward and secure them in place. Properly folded wings will result in a more compact and evenly roasted turkey.

How do I tie the wings?

To keep the wings securely tucked, you can use kitchen twine or butcher’s string. Tying the wings will ensure they stay in place during roasting.

Where should I place the turkey on the roasting rack?

When the wings are tucked and tied, place the turkey on the roasting rack. Optimal placement will ensure even cooking and a beautifully roasted bird.

How do I season and prepare the turkey?

Before roasting, make sure to season the turkey with your desired seasonings. Properly preparing the turkey will ensure flavorful results.

What are the cooking times and temperatures for roasting the turkey with tucked wings?

The cooking times and temperatures may vary depending on the size of the turkey. Refer to your recipe or cooking guidelines for specific instructions.

How do I monitor the cooking process?

While the turkey is roasting, it’s important to monitor the cooking process. Keep an eye on the temperature and check for doneness using a meat thermometer. Ensure the wings stay tucked throughout the entire cooking time.

How long should I let the turkey rest before carving?

After the turkey is cooked, let it rest for about 20-30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to settle, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful turkey.

How do I present the turkey with tucked wings?

When carving the turkey, showcase the beautifully tucked wings. It adds an elegant touch to your presentation and highlights your attention to detail.