Choosing A Bird
How big should you buy? If you don’t want leftovers then estimate 1 pound of turkey per person. If you do want leftovers then estimate 1 1/2 pounds per person.
Fresh Or Frozen
Should you buy fresh or frozen? Fresh will keep for 4 days in the refrigerator. There is no need to thaw it and some believe that fresh is more flavorful. Frozen is often more affordable, can be purchased weeks in advance, but requires thawing time.
There are two ways to defrost your frozen turkey. 1. In the refrigerator; if you have more time, allow the bird to thaw in the refrigerator in its original packaging. Allow 24 hours of thawing for every 5 pounds of turkey. 2. Cold water bath; if you’re short on time submerge the turkey in a cold water bath. Change the water every 30 minutes. Allow 30 minutes of thawing for every pound of turkey.
Remove the giblets. The giblets typically include the heart, liver, and gizzard (often gathered in a bag), plus the neck. You can throw them away or simmer them in stock or water to make your own broth to use in gravy or stuffing.
Tie The Legs
For even roasting, use butcher’s twine to loosely tie the turkey legs together, and then tuck the wings under the shoulders. Don’t wash the bird. Washing can easily spread bacteria. To kill any bacteria, roast the turkey until it reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees.
Brush With Melted Butter
Bump up the flavor by adding herbs, spices, and citrus zest to the butter.
Take The Temperature
Ignore the pop-up timer, they’re unreliable. Instead use an instant read thermometer and take the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh (it takes the longest to cook) and make sure the thermometer isn’t touching any bone. 165 degrees is the magic number.
Let It Rest
Once the turkey comes out of the oven, cover loosely with foil and let it rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. This allows the juices to reabsorb for moist and delicious meat.
Leftovers should be put away right when you’re done serving. If anything is left out for more than 2 hours, throw it away. Store leftovers in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat to 165 degrees and cover to preserve moisture and texture.
“Work With What You Got!”
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