Thanksgiving Day is tomorrow and if you are in charge of the BIG dinner tomorrow you might need a few "Turkey Tips." Well, at Charming Chick we have just the tips you need to ensure your turkey bird is the start of the Thanksgiving Day show!!! If it's your first time cooking a turkey, or even if you just need a little refresher, this post will definitely have some information you'll appreciate. Before we talk turkey tips, we just want to let you know that in addition to all of our Black Friday Week specials we are running through Friday, we will also have some SUPER Black Friday deals going on the day after Thanksgiving. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to hear about all of these amazing deals. In addition, if you sign up for our newsletter, you'll be one of the first people to know about specials deals and coupons. What could be better than a Black Friday deal? How about FREE Saver Shipping, just be sure to enter coupon code FREESHIPNOV at check out. This coupon code is good through 11/30/2012!!!
Thanksgiving Day Turkey Tips:
Thawing the Turkey
Here's what the USDA has to say on their website:
"There are three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave oven. :
The Big Thaw
Turkeys must be kept at a safe temperature during "the big thaw." While frozen, a turkey is safe indefinitely. However, as soon as it begins to thaw, any bacteria that may have been present before freezing can begin to grow again.
A package of frozen meat or poultry left thawing on the counter more than 2 hours is not at a safe temperature. Even though the center of the package may still be frozen, the outer layer of the food is in the "Danger Zone" between 40 and 140 °F — at a temperature where foodborne bacteria multiply rapidly.
Safe Methods for Thawing
Immediately after grocery store checkout, take the frozen turkey home and store it in the freezer.
Frozen turkeys should not be left on the back porch, in the car trunk, in the basement, or any place else where temperatures cannot be constantly monitored.
When thawing a turkey in the refrigerator:
- Plan ahead: allow approximately 24 hours for each 4 to 5 pounds in a refrigerator set at 40 °F or below.
- Place the turkey in a container to prevent the juices from dripping on other foods.
Refrigerator Thawing Times
- 4 to 12 pounds …… 1 to 3 days
- 12 to 16 pounds …… 3 to 4 days
- 16 to 20 pounds …… 4 to 5 days
- 20 to 24 pounds …… 5 to 6 days
A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days before cooking. Foods thawed in the refrigerator can be refrozen without cooking but there may be some loss of quality.
Cold Water Thawing
Allow about 30 minutes per pound.
First be sure the turkey is in a leak-proof plastic bag to prevent cross-contamination and to prevent the turkey from absorbing water, resulting in a watery product.
Submerge the wrapped turkey in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed.
Cold Water Thawing Times
- 4 to 12 pounds …… 2 to 6 hours
- 12 to 16 pounds …… 6 to 8 hours
- 16 to 20 pounds …… 8 to 10 hours
- 20 to 24 pounds …… 10 to 12 hours
A turkey thawed by the cold water method should be cooked immediately. After cooking, meat from the turkey can be refrozen.
Follow the microwave oven manufacturer's instruction when defrosting a turkey. Plan to cook it immediately after thawing because some areas of the food may become warm and begin to cook during microwaving. Holding partially cooked food is not recommended because any bacteria present wouldn't have been destroyed.
A turkey thawed in the microwave must be cooked immediately."
As you can see you must take extra precautions when thawing out your turkey because you sure don't want anyone to get sick. However, just because your bird isn't totally thawed today, don't worry following some of the fast thaw tips can be a great alternative, but start early so it will be done cooking in time for dinner.
Cleaning Your Turkey
This tip actually took me by surprise but it totally makes sense once it's explained. Again, the nice folks at the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests that you do not wash your turkey before putting it in the oven. I ALWAYS Wash my poultry before cooking it, however when we turn the water on to wash our bird, yucky stuff flies everywhere. It's MUCH better to let the heat from the oven kill all of the bacteria and such. So that's one less step and keeps your kitchen free of unwanted pathogens. If the turkey or any of it's juices touch any part of your kitchen wash with hot soapy water and use disinfectant if you like. On thing that is important to mention. If you aren't washing or stuffing your turkey you might overlook the giblets that are usually in a bag tucked into the cavity. Be sure to remove them.
Don't Stuff the Turkey
My mother is an avid turkey stuffer, as was her mother and grandmother so it would seem natural that I would stuff my turkey as well. Not true. While I have eaten many a stuffed turkey and stuffing out of a turkey with absolutely no issue, I tend to agree with folks that say turkeys cook faster and more evenly when they are not stuffed. Often times the turkey is done cooking before the stuffing even has a chance to get fully cooked. Stuff if you must but roast the turkey just until the meat is done, then transfer the stuffing from the cavity to a baking dish and continue baking (or microwave it) until it registers 165°F.
Cooking the Turkey
For tips on how to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving Day, you should check out the Butterball website. They have all kinds of great tips and if any one knows about turkey -- it's butterball!!! http://www.butterball.com/tips-how-tos/how-tos/roast
We hope you have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving Day!!! Don't forget to stay tuned for our awesome Black Friday Deals on Twitter, Facebook or visit our website!!!