Thanksgiving 2017 it just seems impossible that it’s already Thanksgiving, doesn’t it? Buying the stuffing and the cranberries or the cranberry jelly, cooking the hot rolls and green beans. So much to do and so much planning. Of course, let’s not forget the star of the show. The beautiful Turkey, whether you fry the turkey, bake the turkey or brine the turkey that’s all personal taste.
The important part is the selection and preparation of the turkey, that’s where things can go a foul for the fowl! (I know, it’s adorkable, but I had to do it)
- Start Here
When buying your turkey you want to calculate how many people will you be serving?How many of those people are adults versus children?
Are your people heavy eaters, gotta unbutton their pants and take a nap, before they come back for seconds or thirds? Are they light eaters a little nibble here and there and then they are off to the next batch of relatives houses for more nibbling.
According to the awesome blog The Kitchn, a Good rule of thumb is 1 pound of bone-in turkey per person or 1 1/2 if you would like leftovers
Would you like leftovers for a week a month or a year? okay, maybe not a year. There is a great calculator you can use to figure out how large of a turkey you will need after you answer the above questions use this calculator to figure out how large a turkey is needed. It’s from Butterball Turkeys, I think they would be the go-to source for that info.
- Fresh or Frozen
It’s really up to you or as our lives predict, it’s often how much time you have to cook the turkey. If you plan on buying it the day before Thanksgiving and cooking it that night for dinner in the afternoon. That’s only going to happen if you buy a fresh turkey. I don’t mean fresh as in not rotten but fresh as in not frozen.
“Fresh turkey is ready to prepare. Fresh turkey is best if held in the fridge for 24 hours before final preparation.” according to the Butterball website.
Frozen turkey can be purchased weeks in advance but will need to thaw out for several days. 1 day of thawing for every 4 pounds place the turkey on a cookie sheet and place in the fridge. Remember very important don’t just sit the turkey in the sink for 2 days to thaw out. You will foul up the fowl for sure just letting it sit in the sink. If you are doing a sink thaw you must do a cold water thaw. Check this calculator for thaw times, cooking times and portion sizes.
Now you’ve got your amounts be sure your oven is big enough for the big bird! If you have a smaller oven make sure the turkey pan and the turkey will all fit comfortably inside the oven.
- Self Basting Turkey or All Natural Turkey
Well if it is important to you how your turkey spent it’s childhood, then you will want to steer toward a pastured turkey (raised in a pasture). If you aren’t too worried how it grew up but you are concerned if it did drugs when it was a teenager 🙂
Then you will want to stay away from the self-basting, basted or injected turkeys. All three of these varieties are usually the cheapest option because they are injected with saline solutions, vegetable oils and other tenderizers commonly associated with msg.
- Bake, Brine or Spatchcock
Now you’ve covered all the bases, do you bake your turkey in a bag, brine it, deep fry it or Spatchcock it? At our restaurant, Miriam always baked the turkey in a baking bag. It was super delicious, we just used the Canary Island Garlic Herb Olive Oil, and the Olive oil gave the skin a nice little crunch and the herbs and spices gave it a real lusciousness.
If you choose to brine your turkey you will not want to use a cheaper self-basted or pre-marinated turkey as it will be super salty if you brine it. I’ve never personally brined a turkey because I don’t want so much salt.
Health Tip of the Day.
When you brine in salt water, or a company injects saline into the meat, it tenderizes because the salt goes in between the muscle fibers and separates the fibers storing the salt water in between the fibers. That’s why when we eat too much salt the fibers in our body (fingers, ankles under the eyes) puff up with “water”. We got brined!
but if you would like to try it here’s a short video on how to brine.
Miriam: love to bake our turkeys it’s easy and fast and I don’t have to babysit the bird and baste it every 15 minutes.
Kristi: Yes we were so busy getting ready for breakfast and lunch we were already running around like…..turkeys with our heads cut off….I know…I had to… This is an awesome picture of one of Miriam’s turkeys you can see all the goodies on top from the Canary Island Garlic Herb Olive Oil all over, it’s used as a marinade and a rub.
Miriam: look at all that goodness. I could eat a leg right now!
Kristi: Me too!!!
This next time maybe we should try this next one it’s called Spatchcock it’s perfect for all of our customers that need Easy Recipes for the Busy family…we are all busy that’s for sure. It goes a little bit like this.
Cut out the back bone, flip the bird over, press it down rub it with Canary Island Garlic Herb Olive Oil and apparently it’s done in 90 minutes! It would sure help to if you have a small oven then the bird is laying down flat you can get a bigger bird. Never done it but looks pretty interesting. You can also put some of our olive oil under the skin with the herbs for a lip-smacking deliciousness that won’t soon be forgotten. Here’s a short video from the website Pure Wow on Spatchcock turkey.
Well that about wraps it up for us today on another episode of, Oh My God…what am I doing in the kitchen….okay…not really….that wraps it up for another edition of Shockingly Simple Recipes from Vigoa Cuisine. If you would like up to the minute recipes and show announcements where you can come out and see us at live events and sample Miriam’s amazing appetizers or go to a local cooking class. You can sign up to receive our email newsletter and get weekly goodness right in your inbox.
Till next time, take good care
Miriam Vigoa and Kristi Linebaugh
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