Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Roast Turkey Tutorials, Tips, and Recipes

So we've covered fried, smoked and grilled turkey over the past few days. Today we'll focus on more traditional turkey preparations.

Fresh Vs. Frozen Turkey
The decision to buy a fresh or frozen turkey is based on personal preference in price and convenience. Frozen turkeys are flash frozen immediately after processing to 0 ° F or below and held at that temperature until packaged. The meat, once defrosted, is virtually at the same freshness as the day it was processed. Fresh turkeys are deep chilled after packaging. They have a shorter shelf life than frozen turkeys and are therefore more expensive. Hard chilled birds have been stored at temperatures between 0° and 26° F. In late 1997, new regulations created a special category for turkeys in this temperature range, which had previously been labeled fresh.

Tips For Buying Turkey
Purchase one pound of turkey per person to be served. This formula allows for the holiday meal plus a little left over for the prized turkey sandwich.

Ensure that the packaging is intact to avoid purchasing a bird with packaging rips or tears. This might not seem like a big deal, but it can make a mess in your refrigerator.

Turkey prices, surprisingly, go down during the holidays as many supermarkets use turkey as a "loss leader." This simply means that retailers run special, low prices on turkey to entice customers into their store to buy other holiday foods that go along with the traditional feast. To get the best deal on holiday turkey, check supermarket ads for specials and coupons for the best price. Turkeys in the supermarket are all inspected by USDA or state systems and offer high quality and value.

The Thanksgiving meal in general is one of the most economical ways to entertain a large group of people. Save on supermarket specials by buying more than one turkey. A whole frozen turkey can be stored in your freezer for up to twelve months. Don't limit yourself to the holidays. A turkey cooked on a barbecue grill is wonderful any time of year, especially in summer, when you don't want to turn on the oven!

Select the size of your turkey based on the number of servings needed. There is no appreciable difference between female (hen) and male (tom) turkeys in tenderness, white/dark meat ratio or other eating qualities. Hens typically weigh up to 14 to 16 pounds and toms 15 pounds on up, so choose the size which is best for your dinner group.

Select alternative turkey cuts if you are having a small gathering for the holiday. Other turkey products which are readily available include a turkey breast, tenderloins, cutlets, drumsticks or thighs. You might also ask your butcher to cut a fresh whole bird in half. Roast one half and freeze the other for a later occasion

Turkey FAQ

What are giblets and what should I do with them?

Giblets are the turkey's neck, gizzard, heart and liver. When cooked until tender, they make a great addition to gravy or stuffing. If you have dogs, you can also cook the giblets for your pet. Make sure all bones are removed, chop up the meat and let Fido enjoy the feast too.

What is a self basted turkey?
Self basted turkeys have been injected or marinated in a solution which usually contains edible fat, natural broth, stock or water and seasonings. Self-basted turkeys are labeled with the percentage of solutions and their ingredients.

My turkey is getting too brown and it's still has a long time to cook. HELP!
No problem, if you find the top of your turkey is getting to brown, simply cover it loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil and continue to roast the turkey according to schedule.

More Help with Turkey

Great Turkey Gadget -- Sili Sling Lifter for Turkey, Roasts or Fish
If you've ever struggled with getting your Thanksgiving turkey out of the roasting pan, or perhaps you've experienced the heartbreak of having a beautiful piece of fish fall apart as you attempt to lift it from the pan, the ingenious folks at William Bounds, Ltd. have come up with a nifty gadget that stays right in the oven while your meats cook, then lets you almost effortlessly lift them right out the pan -- no muss, no fuss.

The Sili Sling is a silicone lifter for turkey, roasts and fish. Its large surface is ideal for lifting large poultry and roasts -- it holds up to an 18 pound turkey. Heat resistant to 600°F, the Sili Sling stays in the oven while you cook, will always retain its shape and will not stain or absorb odors. As it is dishwasher safe, clean up is a snap too. Click here for more information or to order through

Roast Turkey Recipes

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