- Saint Petersburg, FL
When brining pultry I always had trouble finding a cooler, keeping the turkey from floating and making sure it had enough ice. Now what I use is a Ziploc XXL bag! They are huge and when putting in my Turducken pieces it's so compact that I usually pu the whole thing in the crisper drawer!
Happy Thanksgiving to all!!
- Hudson, MI
I'm not keen on being around relatives during the holidays.
I like my peaceful home atmosphere.
I have my turkey & rice & dessert at my house.
Turkey is the thing I like the best about Thanksgiving.
- Waukee, IA
The food, family, friends, and sharing memories of those whom have gone on before us. We have SO much to be thankful for, despite all of the awful events in the world, especially here in the USA!
For those of you whom are preparing TURKEY... "fritziph" provided some EXCELLENT advice. Having an extensive culinary training background, I would like to offer a few additional ideas, for the PERFECT turkey.
While the guidelines say, " Cook thoroughly, to a temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit, testing in the thickest part of the thigh..." I would like to point out the meat you are cooking will CONTINUE TO COOK after you have removed it from the oven. We cooked our turkeys to 168-170 degrees, removed them, and then "tented them" with aluminum foil. The "resting" period is IMPERATIVE to a moist and succulent turkey. When I cook the turkey at home this proves to be PERFECT for those whom have limited oven space. While the turkey is resting, allowing the juices to settle back in to the meat, you will be able to finish all of those side items which are usually a 30-45 minute cook time!
Here are MY "secrets" to the reason why I am always asked to make the turkey...
1. I take out the giblets/neck, place them in SEVERAL cups of cold water, and add the appropriate seasonings to make a stock. (I use the cooked giblets & neck meat in my dressing)
2. Always wash the bird well, both inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels.
3. Sometimes I "brine" but usually I do not. (That is a WHOLE additional tip. I am going for EASY with this one. :-)
4. Make a "Compound Butter". I use Poultry Seasoning, Sage, Kosher or Sea salt, and FRESH ground pepper. You can throw in a bit of Rosemary, Basil, etc. Take a pound of softened butter, in a bowl, and go to town adding the herbs and seasonings to YOUR liking. Once mixed well, divide (at least in half), and set aside.
5. Bird Time: Once your raw turkey is dried off, (make sure your hands are washed a LOT while handling the turkey) Gently separate the breast SKIN, from the actual meat, sliding your hand in slowly and moving side-to-side, as far back as possible. (Try to separate the skin on the legs as well.) Take approximately Tablespoon size scoops of your compound butter and place UNDER the skin, all over, until you have used the first divided part. Now, SQUISH IT! Actually you are just pressing on the skin to even out the compound butter coverage. Now, use the remaining compound butter on TOP of the skin, applying liberally. (Reserve 4-6 Tablespoons for later.) Sprinkle the skin with coarse salt and fresh ground pepper.
Cooking Time: As I mentioned before,"fritziph" explains the process BEAUTIFULLY. (Thank you for sharing your wisdom! :-) ) I let the turkey get going and then simply baste with the stock, and a little extra butter, every 30-45 minutes. (YES, you may use the stock/broth from a can or box, just buy the best you can afford.) After the bird has been cooking about an hour, or two, you should have enough drippings, butter, and broth in the pan to simply spoon, or squeeze, the juices over the bird until done.
* A good rule of thumb for cooking time: around 12-13 minutes/ per pound/ for NOT stuffed. 14-15 minutes/per pound/ for STUFFED.
Pull out the turkey, a few degrees early, "Tent" with aluminum and let rest for 30, or more, minutes. You WILL have an INCREDIBLY SUCCULENT TURKEY.
I hope this helps spark some imaginations, or provides some guidance to cooks everywhere, in time for the upcoming holidays! PLEASE, use YOUR imagination, when it comes to flavors. If YOUR family loves a CAJUN style turkey... make a Cajun style compound butter. Traditional French Country... lavender, Herbs De Provence, etc. There is NO limit as to what YOUR compound butter should be. It freezes well and works on chicken, fish, beef, or pork.
From my family to all of the Kmart family, and friends, may you ALL have a safe, happy, joy filled holiday season. Write a wounded soldier, and their family, to let them know we are thankful for THEIR service to US. Volunteer. Take some pies, cookies, cakes, or what ever to the Firehouse, Police Department, or a person whom may be lonely this year.
I am thankful for all of the Kmart family whom communicates on the boards and the staff whom work SO hard, get paid little, and seldom hear "please and thank you."
- Bloomington, IN
Basic Turkey Info 101: Here are some tips:
How Much to Buy:
Buy 2 lb per serving each person
(if you want a good amount of left-overs to eat or cook with the next day or so.)
Buying a Fresh Turkey:
Fresh turkey is highly perishable so buy a fresh turkey just 1 or 2 days before you plan to cook it.
Buying a Frozen Turkey:
Choose one that's solidly frozen, has no damage to the package.
Thawing a Frozen Turkey:
To thaw in the fridge, place the bird on a tray & allow 24 hours thawing
time for every 5 pounds
(3 days for a 12-15 lb bird, 4 days for a 20-22 lb bird, 5 days for a 23-25 lb bird).
Testing for Doneness:
Roast the turkey until your meat thermometer reaches 175° to 180° in the thigh area.
The thickest part of the drumstick should be soft & the drumstick twists easily in its socket.
The goal of a perfect turkey is that it has been prepared safely & that it TASTES GOOD!!!
It's not what it looks like, it's what it TASTES like that really matters...
- Waukee, IA
In response to fritziph
Thanks for the GREAT "101" on Turkey! Maybe But--rball should have YOU answering the "Hotline!"
Definitely being with your friends and family, all of the Turkey you could ever want and of course the Pumpkin Pie! My family also gets all geared up for Black Friday and talks about what they have their eye on to buy!!
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