Many families will be celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday by having a turkey on your dinner table. In the past I have blogged about ways to avoid kitchen fires...so please read that blog regarding fire prevention. Today lets talk about the turkey specifically.
How to pick the right size turkey:
Typically the rule is one pound of turkey for every 1 person, and only use a 1/2 pound per child. You may want to use 1lb for everyone so you have plenty of leftovers.
How to thaw your turkey:
If it is a frozen turkey you should take it out of the freezer and leave in the refrigerator for approximately 3-4 days. For larger turkeys it could take up to 6 days.
How to prepare your turkey: Once your turkey is thawed, remove the neck and giblets. I recommend rubbing butter and spices, garlic, salt, pepper on the skin. Some people like to use poultry seasoning as well. You can also rub this between the meat and the skin. I then put that in a dutch oven or deep dish baking pan. I throw the giblets and neck right in the bottom of the pan along with 2-3 cups of water. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil. If you use aluminum foil - stick some tooth picks into the top of the turkey so the foil does not touch the skin.
How long to cook your turkey: Normally the rule is 30 minutes per pound. If it is a twelve pound turkey I cook covered for 5.5 hours, then I uncover, stuff with stuffing, butter the skin again, drain out as much juice as possible and set aside in a separate container or pan, along with the neck and giblets, and place back into the oven uncovered for the half-hour.
While the turkey is back in the oven for the last half hour, I normally make the gravy. I let the pan juices sit for a few minutes, in a clear container is best. The liquid will settle and the fat will sit on top. I take 3-4 tablespoons of that fat and place in a separate pan on high heat on top of the stove, as soon as it starts to boil I turn down the heat to low, add 3 tablespoons of flour, mix thoroughly and then whisk in the remaining pan juices. I also cut up my giblets and throw in at this point.
If you are deep frying your Turkey here are 5 dangers:
- Turkey fryers can easily tip over, spilling hot cooking oil over a large area.
- An overfilled cooking pot will cause cooking oil to spill when the turkey is put in, and a partially frozen turkey will cause cooking oil to splatter when put in the pot.
- Even a small amount of cooking oil spilling on a hot burner can cause a large fire.
- Without thermostat controls, deep fryers can overheat oil to the point of starting a fire.
- The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles can get dangerously hot.
I hope you have a safe and enjoyable holiday.. enjoy!