The turkey is a time honored tradition and is something we eat often in our house. There are so many options now in the grocery store. Turkey burgers, brats, sausage, tenders and the traditional whole bird. Each year we raise a few groups of turkeys and this year Campbell showed turkeys at our state and county fair. It has been a fun experience to watch them from a tiny poult (baby turkey) grow into a 30 pound tasty turkeys. I am surprised how many people have never cooked a whole turkey. If you fall into this category or just want to cook the perfect turkey, here are a few simple tips when it comes to preparing the perfect bird Thanksgiving Day.
- Plan ahead: Buy a turkey that is the correct size based on your dinner guests. If you serve a large crowd prepare two birds or a whole bird and a turkey breast. I have cooked a few big birds in my time and fitting a 44lb turkey in your oven can be a challenge (yes I have roasted a turkey that large, I have pushed the limits of my oven). I love leftover turkey so I always prepare a little extra. Visit the Butterball page for all your turkey calculations and conversions.
- Don’t forget thaw time: Unless you are purchasing a farm fresh turkey you need to allow for ample time to unthaw your masterpiece.
- Get a good meat thermometer: This is a must you want a moist perfect turkey and a thermometer will make sure this happens. Here are the recommended cooking times based per pound.
- Budget in extra time: There is nothing worse than rushing and not enjoying time with family and friends. Add in at least an extra hour before you want to make the presentation of the bird. This will allow the bird to rest to keep in those delicious juices, make your gravy and allow the bird to cool so you can carve it.
- Have the correct tools: Use a sharp knife, it makes carving the main event an art to watch. Use a turkey baster to baste your turkey and keep it browning and moist. Use a disposable roasting pan for easy cleanup and a turkey cooking bag of you want to cut your cooking time down and not baste your bird. Keep Wondra Flour on hand for lump free tasty gravy.
- Keep it simple: Turkey is naturally full of flavor. Keep your recipe simple and allow the turkey to speak for itself.