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Old 11-19-2013, 08:04 AM   #1
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Turkey help!

I've never really cooked a turkey on my own so I need some help. Mamas give me your tried and true ways to cook a turkey! I'm cooking for 3 adults and 5 kids. Should I buy the bird now and have it thawing in my freezer?

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Old 11-19-2013, 08:28 AM   #2
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Re: Turkey help!

I don't know just which day Thanksgiving is as we don't celebrate it. But I would give it 3-4 days to thaw in the fridge.

When I cook turkey this is basically what I do. I do also like to sprinkle on powdered garlic as well.
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Turkey-...10=1&e7=Recipe

The bags should be able to be found at Walmart along with freezer and storage bags.

This link gives approximate cook times. In my experience it is best to check a bit early when using the bags as they tend to cook just a bit faster.
http://homecooking.about.com/library.../blturkey7.htm
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Old 11-19-2013, 10:10 PM   #3
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I usually thaw Tom in the fridge like 3 days in advance. On the day of I usually get all the neck bones and gizzards that they place in the neck cavity and throw those away and proceed to rinse Tom really well.
Then pat dry and with cloves of garlic ready I cut little slits all over and stick them in. I then spread room temperature butter all over him and season with a little salt and pepper.
I also put a little chicken stock in the bottom of the pan. I cook him uncovered but towards the end like last 45 min. I cover with foil paper to avoid a too dark Tom.
If your family requests stuffing in the bird I would also stuff him the last 45 min before I cover with foil.
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Old 11-20-2013, 05:18 AM   #4
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Re: Turkey help!

I cooked a turkey for the first time last year. I got the bag from reynolds brand I think? I followed the directions and it turned out perfect! It was super easy. My only problem was my dad bought the turkey and he got the biggest one he could find. It was like 23 lbs and I had to have dh help me rinse it and get it in the bag.
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Old 11-20-2013, 09:22 AM   #5
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Re: Turkey help!

I think we usually take the bird out of the freezer Sunday evening or Monday morning, let it thaw in the fridge, then Wednesday morning put it in a citrus brine for the day & night. It's whatever basic brine recipe w/ oranges, lemons, & limes in the brine & packed into the cavity (w/ all the junk removed & the bird rinsed) in a cooler. I was super skeptical the first time I had it (my brother got the recipe off a Food Network show), but it's so good, I haven't had turkey any other way since, & I think it's been about 6 years.
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Old 11-20-2013, 09:48 AM   #6
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Re: Turkey help!

We brine ours at least overnight. It makes all the difference in the world. Alton Brown has basic brining recipes and instructions if you do a quick google. You will need at least 3 or 4 days to thaw a frozen bird in a fridge. Be sure to put a pan under it to collect the thawed yuck that will probably escape from the plastic somehow...

An unstuffed bird will cook faster and more evenly than a stuffed bird. I like to do our stuffing in the crockpot.

After brining, be sure to rinse Mr. Turkey well, then rub him down with butter or oil.
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:15 PM   #7
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Re: Turkey help!

I take at least three days and thaw in the fridge. I like the Reynold's Turkey Bag with a disposable turkey pan (used on top of a jellyroll pan...less mess to clean up and easy to get in and out of the oven because their are side to grab). Once turkey is thawed clean turkey, rinse, pat dry then rub with olive oil and season with sea salt, rosemary and poultry seasoning. I chop onions, celery, apples, oranges (with peel on) and season generously with poultry seasoning and rosemary and put that inside the cavity and loosely inside the bag. Follow cooking instruction on the bag for your size turkey. Cook until 170 F inside breast temp.

Then this is how I make the gravy. Slit the bag on the side and drain juice while top of bag is still covering turkey to keep warm and not dry out. Use a ladle and retrieve juices, strain, add a little water and thicken with cornstarch while constantly stirring over med-high heat.

I love turkey! I cook it several times a year. I normally buy now and save them in the freezer all year. We just finished the last of our turkey from last year in turkey noodle soup last week.
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:43 PM   #8
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Re: Turkey help!

I like to brine mine in apple cider and salt...sounds weird, but tastes amazing!! Super moist turkey. I also baste him every 30 minutes or so with some of the drippings...I've used the bag and not used it, and don't have a strong preference either way. If it's a really big bird the bags can be difficult. Good luck!!
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