Talking All Things Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving turkey solutions, suggestions, and total turkey success is exactly what we’ve got going for today’s countdown to Thanksgiving post.

Three weeks goes by super quick, and things do tend to get awfully hectic at this time of year.

With that in mind, I thought I would post this info sooner rather than later to allow time to gather and plan for your gather together times.

roasted-turkey-vegetables

Better Homes & Gardens

How big of a bird will I actually need?

How do I properly defrost the thing?

What temperature is best to cook a turkey on?

How long do I cook the Thanksgiving turkey for?

Thanksgiving turkeyHerb, Lemon, and Garlic Turkey

Roast, bake or air fry?

To stuff, or not to stuff?

What’s the best seasonings of the turkey roasting-baking-frying season?

Let’s talk turkey.

Turkey-cuts-diagram (1)

How much turkey do you need?

how-much-turkey-to-you-need-chart

From the folks at Delish

Thawing the Frozen Thanksgiving Turkey

For Refrigerator Thawing:

Place turkey on a tray to eliminate leakage to other areas of refrigerator.

Thaw breast side up, in original unopened wrapper on a tray in the fridge (40 degrees F or below).

Allow at least 1 day of thawing for every 4-5 lbs.

Suggested thawing time for a frozen turkey:

4 to 12 pound turkey:           1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pound turkey:         3 to 4 days
16 to 20 pound turkey:        4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pound turkey:        5 to 6 days

Cold Water Thawing:

Thaw breast side down, in original unopened wrapper.

Cover the turkey completely with cold water.  Change the water every 30 minutes.

Estimate a minimum thawing time of 30 minutes per pound.

4 to 12 pound turkey:        2 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pound turkey:      6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 pound turkey:     8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pound turkey:     10 to 12 hours

The good people at Butterball offer cooking calculators and conversion charts for everything Thanksgiving turkey.

Here’s the link: Butterball Calculators and Conversions Chart

The Amazon Echo calls up Alexa the answer machine, now we’re cooking playlists, recipes, and the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line® (connect with the Talk-Line through social media, live chat, texting — even Amazon Alexa).

All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen) Smart speaker with Alexa in Twilight Blue

Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) Smart speaker with Alexa 

Prep the bird and don’t forget to tie those bad boy turkey legs together with cooking twine.

kitchen-twine-string

Thawed turkey roasting times in a 325 °F regular oven:

6 to 10 pounds:      2 to 3 hours (unstuffed)       –     2¼-3½ hours (stuffed)

10 to 18 pounds:    3 to 3½ hours (unstuffed)   –     3¾-4½ hours (stuffed)

18 to 22 pounds:     3½-4 hours (unstuffed)    –      4½ – 5 hours (stuffed)

22-24 pounds:        4-4½ hours (unstuffed)     –     5-5½ hours (stuffed)

24-30 pounds:        4½-5 hours  (unstuffed)    –      5½-6½ hours (stuffed)

Thawed turkey roasting times in a 325 °F convection oven:

6 to 10 pounds:       1½-2 hours (unstuffed)       –    1¾-2½  hours (stuffed)

10 to 18 pounds:     2 to 2½ hours (unstuffed)   –    2½-3¼ hours (stuffed)

18 to 22 pounds:     2½-3 hours (unstuffed)      –      3¼ hours (stuffed)

22-24 pounds:        3-3½ hours (unstuffed)       –      3¾-4¼ hours (stuffed)

The turkey is done when the temperature with a meat thermometer reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F in the breast and 175°F in the thickest part of the thigh.

checking-turkey-internal-temperature

Better Homes & Gardens – Photo by Jason Donnelly

Taylor-Digital-Folding-Probe-Meat-Thermometer-with-Blue-Backlight-Display

Taylor Digital Folding Probe Meat Thermometer with Blue Backlight Display

Use a food thermometer to check the turkey in the thickest part of the breast.

If you stuff the Thanksgiving turkey, the center of the stuffing must reach 165 degrees F.

Roasting Meat Thermometer T731 Oven Safe Large 2.5-Inch Easy-Read Face

Roasting Meat Thermometer

Cross contamination between turkey and stuffing is a concern, so just make sure both turkey and stuffing reach proper temperatures.

Let the turkey stand 15 minutes before carving.

cutting-carving-turkey-thighs

Foodiesfeed

Safe Turkey Prep, Thawing, Stuffing, Cooking, Clean Up Tips:

Always wash your hands before and after preparing or eating food.

Thaw turkeys in the refrigerator, never on the counter.

Don’t wash raw poultry before cooking.  It can spread germs to other areas.

Place stuffing in the turkey just before cooking.

Cook raw poultry thoroughly to at least an internal temperature of 165° F.

Wash your counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.

Don’t feed your pets raw food. 

graniteware-oval-roaster-black

Graniteware Oval Roaster

The black graniteware covered roaster speaks holidays to me, but I’m always open to a new trad roasting pan that gets the Thanksgiving turkey roasted to perfection.

Personal preference for white meat drives me to simply roast a boneless turkey breast.

Thanksgiving-platter (1)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place turkey breast, breast-side up, into the roasting pan.

Dry the skin of the turkey breast by patting with a paper towel.

Give the outer skin of the turkey a generous rub down with butter.

Season the turkey breast with seasonings and herbs of your choice (see suggestions further down in the post).

Rub the seasonings into the skin of the turkey breast.

Roast the turkey breast at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes per pound until thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165 degrees F.

Nordic Ware Copper Roaster XL Large

Nordic Ware Copper Roaster XL Large

Cajun Classic 15 Oval Aluminum Roaster GL10050

Cajun Classic 15″ Oval Aluminum Roaster GL10050

Check out vintage shops and flea markets for good deals on vintage cookware.

vintage-cookware-antiques-shop

Cotton Port Antique Mall

Cooks 2-pc. Nonstick Roaster with Rack

Cooks 2-pc. Nonstick Roaster with Rack

Stainless Steel Roaster Pan Extra Large & Lightweight

Stainless Steel Roaster Pan Extra Large & Lightweight

Gibson Home Kenmar High Dome Oval Roaster Set

Gibson Home Kenmar High Dome Oval Roaster Set

All-Clad B1 Hard Anodized Nonstick Roaster with Rack

Farberware 12″ x 16″ Nonstick Roaster with Rack

brining-bags-autumn-fruit-and-spice-turkey-brine-and-turke

Ruffoni-hammered-copper-covered-roaster (1)

Ruffoni Historia Hammered Copper Covered Roaster with Turkey Knob

Constellation Roaster with Baster & Lifters

Constellation Roaster with Baster & Lifters

Oster 18qt Roaster Oven Black CKSTRS18-BSBOster 18qt Roaster Oven Black CKSTRS18-BSB

Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill with Air Fryer, Roast, Bake & Dehydrate

Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill with Air Fryer, Roast, Bake & Dehydrate

Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 6.5qt Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer with High Gloss Finish

Ninja Foodi 8qt. 9-in-1 Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer Stainless Steel 

Going the pressure cooker and air fryer route gives the holiday cook a holiday helping hand.

Turkey breast is the requested option of the Places In The Home crowd, and I usually go with a 3lb. bird breast.

Here’s my two-step how to air fry a Thanksgiving turkey:

Remove any netting from around the breast, lightly coat turkey breast with olive oil and season with preferred seasonings.

Select the air fryer or air crisp function and set fryer to 350 degrees.

The first round of “frying” is for 20 minutes.

Now comes step 2.

Using caution as not to burn yourself, turn the turkey breast and re-coat with olive oil and seasonings.

Set to air fryer or air crisp function at 350 degrees for an additional 30 minutes or until internal temperature of turkey breast reaches 165 degrees.

Allow turkey breast to rest in the place for 10-15 minutes.

Cooks 5-Qt. Programmable Latch and Travel Slow Cooker

Cooks 5-Qt. Programmable Latch and Travel Slow Cooker

For the slow-cooker cooks:

Seasoning the Bird:

I usually add a stalk of celery cut into three equal parts and ½ peeled and sliced onion or 2-3 cut green onions.

Add 1 ½-2 cups of chicken broth or white wine to roasting pan to keep the turkey moist during baking.

No turkey roasting-baking is complete without butter (Julia Child would be so proud).

Rub 4 Tablespoons (½ stick) butter over turkey breast meat under skin.  Next, add 4 tablespoons butter to the turkey cavity.  Finish up by rubbing a generous amount of butter over the outside of the turkey.

Sprinkle turkey with seasonings of your choice of seasonings such as salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, thyme, garlic, rosemary, or Creole seasoning.

turkey-seasonings

Thanksgiving-turkey-seasonings-herbs

Williams-Sonoma Turkey Seasoning Paste

Cover with roasting pan lid or a foil tent for first 1-1½ of roasting.

roast-turkey

dishwasher-safe-plastic-and-rubber-baster

Farberware Professional Dishwasher Safe 3-in-1 Plastic and Rubber Baster

Set of 2 Stainless Steel Turkey Lifters

Set of 2 Stainless Steel Turkey Lifters

Cuisinart 3-Piece Rose Gold Carving Set

Cuisinart 3-Piece Rose Gold Carving Set

how-much-to-serve-holidays

Based on a Thanksgiving dinner for six (6) people, this How Much to Serve guide is simply that; a guide give or take a helping or two.

Turkey:

1-1½ pounds sliced turkey per person (which means you will need to buy a 9 pound turkey).  Think leftovers!

Dressing/Stuffing:

1½ cup serving per person

Sides:

1-½ cup serving per person

Bottles of Wine:

2-3 bottles should be enough to sip and toast for dinner for 6.

Desserts:

Figure on one 9 inch pie being enough for a party of six.

One 5 inch, round, single layer cake.

plymouth-turkey-platter-1

Williams-Sonoma

Plymouth Turkey Extra Large Serving Platter

Plymouth Turkey Extra Large Serving Platter

oval-turkey-platter-Thanksgiving

Williams Roberts Oval Turkey Platter

BLACK+DECKER ComfortGrip 9 Inch Electric KnifeBLACK+DECKER  9 Inch Electric Knife

Vintage Platter Serving Dish- Made in England- John Maddock & Sons- Royal Vitreous Louis XIV

Vintage Platter Serving Dish- John Maddock & Sons- Royal Vitreous Louis XIV

Arthur Court Thanksgiving Turkey Handed Carving Set - Forged Stainless Steel Carving Fork and Carving Knife

Arthur Court Thanksgiving Turkey Carving Fork and Carving Knife

sliced-carved-holiday-turkey-photo-Con-Poulos

Better Homes & Gardens – Photo by Con Poulos

Carving the Bird:

Place the bird on a carving board or reliable surface for carving, breast side up with the legs facing away from you.

Position the carving fork in the lower part of the breast to hold the turkey steady as you carve.

Find the hip joint connecting the thigh and the breast and begin slicing through.  Repeat on the opposite side.

Separate the drumstick from the thigh by cutting through the joint.

Let’s move on to the drumstick/ turkey leg.

Pull each leg to extend them away from the body and slice between the breast and the drumstick.

Move the leg backward to loosen it away from the socket, cut away from skin and remove.  Repeat on the opposite side.

Now we’re winging it!

Locate the joint connecting the wing to the body and slice on through.

Repeat on the opposite side.

For the breast, begin by slicing as close to the breastbone as possible.

Slice all the way down as to have one large piece and repeat on the opposite side.

Place breast on cutting surface and slice from smallest end to the largest.

Arrange and plate as you like.

Stoneware Pumpkin Oval Serving Platter

Stoneware Pumpkin Oval Serving Platter

Laguiole 2-Pc. Pakkawood Carving Set

Laguiole 2-Pc. Pakkawood Carving Set

vintage-blue-white-large-platter

Earthenware Harvest Gatherings Round Platter

Earthenware Harvest Gatherings Round Platter

Antler Handle 3 Piece Carving Set, Black Carving Set

Antler Handle 3 Piece Carving Set, Black Carving Set

Cherished family recipes shine at the holidays, and this handwritten recipe platter (submit your recipe) will become a treasured slice of tradition.

Handwritten Recipe Personalized Platter

Handwritten Recipe Personalized Platter

November ushers in the holiday season, and the Thanksgiving Day meal sets the tone and the table for delicious times.

Gathering around the holiday table gorgeously set and featuring a Thanksgiving turkey baked-roasted-grilled-air fried to absolute golden perfection is a culinary tradition to feast upon.

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