The Foolproof Method For Fixing Torn Turkey Skin

Every time a turkey is pictured on a dining room table waiting to be carved and served, it's a perfect golden color with crispy skin. So, what's a cook to do if you unwrap your turkey to prepare it and it's torn? Not only will this mishap affect the turkey's final appearance, but it will also affect how it cooks in the oven, according to Cook's Illustrated

If a section of meat is exposed on the turkey, it will likely cook faster than the rest of the bird, resulting in an overcooked section. A turkey's skin is also known to shrink and expose the meat during roasting. In addition to holding the skin in place, it needs more special attention. First, to get it to become golden brown and crispy, Taste of Home says the turkey should be rubbed with canola, vegetable, or olive oil before it goes in the oven. 

A simple fix with toothpicks

Fixing the torn skin on a turkey is similar to preparing the bird, so the skin roasts properly. Cook's Illustrated says to take some toothpicks and use them to pin the skin back into place. Simply arrange the skin where it is torn, so it lines up again. The best place to stick them is near the legs, although toothpicks can also be placed in the breast area. The ideal distance between the toothpicks is between ¾ of an inch and to 1-inch apart. 

Of course, all toothpicks need to be removed before carving your turkey and serving. Worried about blemishes from the toothpicks? Don't. The mended area will hardly be noticeable because as the turkey cooks, the heat causes the proteins to act as a glue between the torn skin and meat. Those toothpicks can also help the turkey's skin get crispier by creating a place for the fat to go as it is rendered out of the bird, per America's Test Kitchen. This will help achieve that perfectly golden, crispy turkey skin everyone dreams about during the holiday season.