Monday, November 19, 2007

Pre-Thanksgiving Jitters + Tips!

Is anyone nervous about cooking for Thanksgiving this year?

I'm sure there are many people out there who are very experienced Thanksgiving cooks, and are quite confident about cooking.
However, for Thanksgiving novices such as myself, this Thursday feels very sinister, and I'm feeling nervous about cooking!

However, I should remain positive, and see this year as a practice-thanksgiving, allowing me to prefect my turkey-making skills!!

I've been doing some research on how to prepare a turkey, trying to ingest all the information, so I can help other novices!!

Below are a few thanksgiving turkey tips, for those with thanksgiving jitters!

When to buy the turkey:
A frozen turkey can be purchased months in advance, however, you must take into consideration that a turkey could take up the majority of your freezer.
A fresh turkey should only be purchased 1-2 days in advance.

How much turkey to buy:
A good way to ensure that no one goes hungry, is to buy about 1-1.5 pounds of turkey per person.

Defrosting a Turkey:
The best and safest way to defrost the turkey, is to let it slowly defrost in the refrigerator. Allow 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey.
My turkey is 13 pounds, so I will be defrosting it in the refrigerator for 2.5 days, then brining it in the refrigerator for another 12 hours. (I will write a post about brining later!)
If you do not have enough time to defrost a frozen turkey, you can defrost the bird in a cold water. Allow 30 minutes per pound.
You could also use a combination of these methods.
A fully defrosted turkey will last an additional 1-2 days in the refridgerator.

How long to roast the turkey:
About 15-18 minutes (unstuffed) and 18-24 minutes (stuffed) per pound at 325F.
Here is a simple chart to understand:

Always use a meat thermometer to also determine done-ness:
The turkey is done when the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees F, and when the breast meat reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees F.
("Internal" as in, you measure from the inside of the turkey).
If your turkey has been stuffed, stuffing should be 165 degrees F.
When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 20 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.

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