Thanksgiving Day Turkey 101 something

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Is Everyone Ready for Turkey Day  ??

When I first starting cooking Turkeys about ??? years ago, I made the same mistakes that everyone else did.

  • Leaving the neck in one end and the giblets in the other.  Not too appetizing.
  •  Not allowing it to defrost completely only to find out that it was still cold and very undone in the middle.
  •  And Lord, I never would have thought about stuffing anything.  UGH!
  •  And how did they keep those legs from coming apart during baking?

The Wings. Lets talk about the wings.  What do you do with the wings during roasting.  They were always flopping out over the Roaster Pan and burning.  Never could get that right.

I know alot of you have also been doing this for years and you have your own little secrets so the bird will turn out just perfect.  I applaud you for the wisdom, knowledge and expertise that you have acquired.  I too have acquired some, but I know I still have a long way to go.

But, if you are new to roasting ‘The Bird’ then I will help you through the most trying times of the festive little creature.  Everyone has their own way of doing this, the following is mine, and if I have to say so myself, it turns out really good every year.

I bought my Turkey and no, it was not a Butterball or Honeysuckle.  Now, I wish I could have afforded one of these, but I have a large family and the way I fix this bird, I dare to have anyone tell me that it is not as juicy and tender as the other ‘Brand’ names.

I bought a 22 lb Turkey from Kroger and paid .48 cents a lb.  The following is a recap of everything I did to bring it to the table, brown and beautiful.

When I got this very frozen Turkey home, I placed it in the sink for about 4 hours.  Now I know you are not suppose to defrost this bird outside of the refrigerator, but by doing this when it is this frozen gives it a head start in the frig.  They say to defrost a 20-24 lb turkey at least 48 hours in the frig.  This has never worked for me because of the temp I have in  the frig.  One must consider this before following their guidelines.  It may need and extra day.  You can always opt for two small birds if you have the oven space.  I don’t.

Pre-heat oven to 325° F

  • I start by taking the wrapper off and hopefully by this time, it is fully defrosted.  Just like a baby, you need to check both ends. :)  If you keep this in mind, you won’t go wrong on this step.  Pull the neck and the giblets out and set aside. (This makes very good stock for noodles)
  • I always wash the bird off with cold running water and rinse the cavity out very well.

  •  I dry off the bird with paper towels or dish cloth

  • Cut up about 2 medium onions in chunks, 2 celery stalks, same size. Zest 1 lemon, reserve zest, cut lemon in slices.
  • Place the Turkey in a Roasting pan with a rack that will allow the bird not to be setting on the bottom of the pan. (If you do not have the rack, cut up twice as much onions and celery and lay these in the bottom of the pan and rest the turkey on top.)
  • Take the bird’s wings and tuck under the body.
  • Place half of each onions and celery in the cavity of the bird.  Sprinkle the zest in and add half the sliced lemons. Salt and pepper the cavity.

  • Take 1/2 cup room temperature butter (1 stick)
  • Stir in 1 tsp Garlic, granulated
  • Stir in 1 tsp Parsley, dried
  • Stir all together and by using your fingers take a small portion and rub under the Turkeys skin on its breast.  Go back as far as you can.  Don’t worry, the skin is very pliable and should not tear.  (By doing this, it adds flavor on the meat and not just the skin.)
  • Rub the rest of the butter mixture all over the bird.
  • Fill around the bird, the rest of the vegetables.  This will add flavor to you stock and gravy.

  • Place aluminum foil over the bird making sure it is big enough to go all the way to all four sides and the creating a seal around the pan.  This helps seal in moisture.

  • I do not touch this bird for about 1 1/2 hours

  • Now some people will baste the bird with its own drippings,  I like using butter.
  • Melt 1 stick of butter and every 45 minutes take the Turkey out, remove the foil and baste with butter until covered.
  • Place foil back over bird and make sure you seal the foil around the edges again.  On this size Turkey, you should baste it about 4 to 5 times.  You can never over baste a Turkey.  This Turkey will be ready in about 5 hours.

  •  After you baste for the last time. Do not add the foil back on. Turn oven up to 350° and allow the Turkey to finish browning.  This should take about 15 minutes
  • Take out of oven and cover at this point with the foil and allow to rest.  Start other side dishes at this time and everything should be ready at the same time.

Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy !

Note: you can print these directions without the pictures, just click on print

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