Turkey 101

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With Thanksgiving a couple days away, here are some ways to defrost a turkey and a couple tips for cooking the turkey.


Here are a couple different ways to thaw a turkey.

Do not thaw at room temperature for more than 2 hours.  

A good rule of thumb is 24 hour per every 4-5 pounds in a pan in the refrigerator. Try to store your turkey towards the bottom of the refrigerator. You do not want to cross contaminate the food below the defrosting turkey. If you are reading this now and your turkey is still in the freezer or the turkey will not be thawed in time consider a water bath but be careful.

Defrosting a turkey in a water bath. Make sure the turkey stays in the packaging and the surface stays cold. You want the water to be about 40 degrees. You may need to add ice. You should be changing the water in the water bath every 30 minutes.  It will take about 30 minutes for every pound of turkey.

Cook thawed turkey within 4 days.


Turkey should be at 165 degree when done

Turkey will need time to cool before cutting. 20 to 30 minutes.

Some recipes say to cover the breast of the turkey to slow down how fast it cooks. Dark meat takes a little longer to cook.  Making sure the thigh gets to 165 degrees.

Bake at 325 for most of the cooking time. You can turn up the oven to crisp up the skin of the turkey.

For 10 pound turkey cook for 2 hours at 325. Add 15 minutes for each pound after that. Then 400 degrees for the last hour.

Season the turkey as desired or follow a recipe. You can pin in the wings if you want and add water to the bottom of the pan.

To stuff or not to stuff. This is up to you. Just make sure you check your temperature to make sure your turkey and stuffing reaches 165 degree to avoid food poisoning.

If you plan to deep fry your turkey. Use water to determine how much oil if you are not sure how much to use. Place the turkey in a pan add water until the turkey is covered. Make sure to keep track of the amount of water needed to cover the turkey. The oil should cover the entire turkey.

It is important to make sure the turkey is defrosted and dry. Dry out the turkey inside and out. Water and oil do not mix.

Heat oil to 350. This will take some to heat up.  Cook for around 3 1/2 minutes per pound.

You can use a crockpot.  Make sure your turkey will fit. You can crisp the skin in the oven. There seems to be plenty of recipes on the web.

What to do with leftover?

I like to make what I call garbage. I take the left over biscuits, mask potatoes, stuffing, turkey and gravy and layer the items in a pan and reheat.  You can scope the reheated meal onto a plate or go a little crazy and add cranberry sauce to a roll and scope the reheated meal into the roll and enjoy a sandwich.