Faq's About Turkey

Course : Chicken
Serves: 1
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Preparation / Directions:

HOW MUCH SHOULD MY TURKEY WEIGH? If your turkey weighs less than 12 pounds, plan to purchase 1 pound per person. If your turkey weighs more than 12 pounds, you will only need 3/4 pound for each guest. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO THAW A TURKEY? The easiest and safest way to thaw a turkey is to place the wrapped bird on a tray in the refrigerator. Plan about 24 hours for each 5 pounds of the bird's weight. Remember not to count the day you will be roasting it. Turkey should never be thawed at room temperature. FRESH OR FROZEN It's trendy to buy fresh turkeys. Like most anything else, fresh has more flavor, and if you can spare the extra time and money, it is the best way to go. But with our busy lifestyles, and our budgets, buying a frozen turkey seems like a wise choice. It's something you can do weeks in advance, and it's one less thing to do the day before. So if you do buy frozen, don't feel guilty! I NEED MY TURKEY TODAY, AND IT'S NOT COMPLETELY THAWED. WHAT CAN I DO? Place the plastic-wrapped turkey, breast side down, in a sink of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes. ONCE MY TURKEY IS COMPLETELY THAWED, HOW LONG CAN I KEEP IT IN THE REFRIGERATOR BEFORE ROASTING? A thawed whole turkey will keep in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. HOW CAN I GET A BEAUTIFUL GOLDEN BROWN TURKEY WITHOUT DRYING OUT THE BREAST MEAT? Tent the turkey loosely with foil to delay browning of the breast. The foil should be removed during the last 30 to 45 minutes to allow the turkey to brown. Tenting for the entire roasting time can actually slow cooking. Another method, tried and true, was sent to me recently and it's worth sharing. "I am usually very successful with this, so here's my two cents, if you are interested in one more method. What I do, is roast it upside down (uncovered, basting every so often with chicken fat, which adds flavor and keeps the skin from tearing or cooking too fast) so the juices from the dark meat moisten and flavor the white. When it's browned nicely, I turn it over and let it finish roasting, breast side up, so it comes out browned on both sides. I season it the night before inside and out, with (kosher) salt, pepper, paprika and garlic mixture, held on by chicken fat, and am VERY careful to never break the skin anywhere- helps for major moistness. I've been doing it this way for years and it always comes out very good and moist. I use Butterball and never roast it for as long as they suggest." DO I NEED TO BASTE A TURKEY WHILE IT'S COOKING? Basting today's turkeys is not necessary. More importantly, basting tools, such as brushes and bulb basters, could actually be sources of bacteria contamination if dipped into uncooked or undercooked poultry juices, then allowed to sit at room temperature and used later for basting. HOW DO I KNOW WHEN MY TURKEY IS DONE? CAN I TRUST THE POP-UP TIMER THAT COMES WITH THE BIRD? Temperature should be your guide to doneness. You can use the pop-up timer as an aid, but to be sure that the turkey reaches a safe temperature, always use a thermometer. The thermometer should be inserted into the thickest portion of the turkey, but be sure it does not touch bone or the pan. Use either a meat thermometer which can be inserted at the beginning of the cooking time or an instant-read thermometer. Instant-read thermometers are not designed to stay in food during cooking. HOW CAN I BE SURE MY THERMOMETER IS ACCURATE? Submerge 2 inches of the thermometer stem in boiling water. It should read 212° F. If the thermometer registers above or below 212° F., add or subtract the same number of degrees from the temperature specified in the recipe and cook to that temperature. (This only works if you're at sea level. Water boils at a lower temperature the higher you are.) WHY DO RECIPES SAY TO LET A ROASTED TURKEY STAND 15 TO 20 MINUTES BEFORE CARVING? Standing lets the flesh of the bird firm up, allowing the carved slices to hold together better. HOW DO I SKIM FAT FROM THE PAN DRIPPINGS? Place the drippings in a measuring cup or similar container. Tip the container and use a metal spoon to remove the oily liquid (fat) that rises to the top. You can also buy fat separators in most cooking supply stores. Williams-Sonoma sells the Catamount Fat Separator. It quickly separates meat juices from fat with a cleverly designed glass cup. The fat in pan juices rises to the top, so its low spout pours off only the good juices. It's made from laboratory glass and is safe on the stovetop I'VE HEARD THAT ROASTING TURKEY IN A PAPER GROCERY BAG IS REALLY EASY AND DELICIOUS. IS IT SAFE TO ROAST TURKEY THIS WAY? According to the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, the glue and ink on brown bags are not intended for use as cooking materials and may give off harmful fumes. In addition, brown bags are usually made from recycled materials and are not sanitary. CAN I ROAST A TURKEY OVERNIGHT IN AN OVEN SET AT A LOW TEMPERATURE? No. Roasting a turkey at a temperature below 325°F. allows harmful bacteria to multiply. These bacteria, which can cause food poisoning, may be present in raw turkey. Fortunately, they are easily destroyed with proper cooking techniques. Roasting the turkey at 325° F. kills the bacteria yet produces meat that is moist and tender. HELP! I'VE BEEN ASKED TO BRING THE COOKED TURKEY TO A POTUCK. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO DO THIS? The best way is to roast the bird unstuffed; carve the meat off the carcass, cover and chill thoroughly. To reheat at the potluck, place sliced turkey in an oven-safe baking dish, add about 1/2 cup water, cover with foil, and heat in a 350° F. oven about 30 to 45 minutes or till well heated through I HAVE LOTS OF TURKEY AND STUFFING LEFT OVER. WHAT DO I DO WITH IT? Before carving your turkey, be sure to remove all stuffing. The leftover stuffing can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. After dinner remove all meat from the carcass (this should be done within 2 hours of the turkey's removal from oven). Leftover turkey can be refrigerated and used within 2 days, or frozen in small portions. Be sure to label and date the wrapped packages and use within 6 months. Leftover turkey can be used in any recipe calling for cooked chicken or turkey. Stuffing must be heated to at least 160°F. HOW LONG CAN I KEEP LEFTOVER GRAVY? Leftover gravy should be kept no longer than 2 days. Always bring leftover gravy to a full boil before serving. *One of the most important things you can do to safeguard your family and friends against the possibility of food poisoning, is to make sure your turkey and stuffing reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees. *Cut all the meat away from the bones before storing leftovers. Never refrigerate a whole bird and try to reheat it a day later! Refrigerate turkey leftovers as quickly as possible, but in any event, do not let them sit on the dinner table at room temperature longer than two hours. *As a general rule, turkey, gravy and stuffing should be refrigerated separately. Use shallow lidded containers for quick cooling. How cold should your refrigerator be? Just above the temperature at which lettuce freezes, or below 40 degrees. *Refrigerated turkey leftovers (meat only, cut off the bones) should be used within 3 to 4 days. Stuffing and gravy should be used within 2 days. Dishes made from cooked turkey should be

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