So guess what….I made a goal for November and I failed by day mmm day 4. I had mad a personal goal to write on my blog every day for the month of November and I literally made it for 4 days before I got side tracked. Well, hell.
I’m not going to let it get me down though. I may not have a post for you every day for the month of November but I can promise that I’m going to have some pretty great ones on the days that I do write! I’m working on some fun recipes and I just can’t wait to share them on the blog…oh and I REALLY wish y’all were at my house this weekend! I could have used some taste testers! I made a Mint Chocolate Chip dip and oh wow was it good! You’re going to want to make sure you sign up for my e-mails so you don’t miss that one!
But today I’ve got a guest on the blog. I don’t have guest often but I’m glad to have Katie from On the Banks of Squaw Creek here to give you her TOP TEN tips for your Thanksgiving Day Turkey! I met Katie when I was in Iowa for CornQuest this year (don’t worry, I’ll be writing about that soon!!) and guess what… she’s a farm wife and works part time for the Iowa Turkey Federation!!
I’ll stop yapping now and I’ll let Katie take over!
- Don’t bother searching for a hormone-free or steroid-free bird. ALL poultry in the United States is raised without added hormones or steroids. The label is just a marketing ploy. (I have a lot more info about how turkeys are raised, including photos, on my blog.)
- Plan on 1 to 2 pounds of bird per person. Smaller turkeys have a higher bone to meat ratio, so plan on 2 pounds per person for a smaller crowd. (Plus, you wouldn’t want to come up short on leftovers, would you?)
- If you have a big crowd, consider 2 small turkeys instead of one large one. Larger birds take longer to roast and the breast meat may dry out during that time. You could also try 1 small turkey and a bone-in or boneless breast roast in the oven or crockpot if you know your crowd loves white mat.
- You don’t have to thaw your frozen turkey! In fact may people prefer NOT to. Thawing the turkey can be a pain in the butt and takes a long time – 24 hours for every 5 pounds, which means that a 15 pound bird takes 3 days to thaw! It can also be a food safety risk if not done correctly. Thawing at room temperature is dangerous, so it should really be done in the refrigerator.
- Speaking of food safety, use a meat thermometer and cook your stuffing separately. Stuffing or dressing cooked inside the turkey is a perfect place for bacteria to multiply, especially if it doesn’t reach 165 degrees farenheit when cooked.
- Keep it simple, silly. Angie and I agree, you don’t need a really elaborate recipe (unless you want one.) If your turkey is pre-basted or contains a brining solution, then salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning are all you need to season it. (If you do need to brine your bird, try a cooler with ice or a sterilized plastic storage container for bigger birds.)
- Cook your turkey at 325 degrees Farenheit and follow the time guidelines found here. Once you put it in the oven, forget basting it. Opening the door repeatedly lets out the moisture and heat, which can slow cooking and dry out your dinner.
- Let it rest for 20 minutes after cooking. When your turkey is done, take it out of the oven and make a lose tent with tinfoil. Let the bird “rest” in this tent for about 20 minutes. Letting meat rest allows the juices to redistribute evenly.
- Number 1 tip: Plan Ahead! Be Prepared! Make the meal preparation and Thanksgiving Day go smoothly by taking the time to plan out your turkey timeline days in advance. Are you going to thaw it? And if so, how long will it take? What time will you need to start the oven Thanksgiving day? Have you allowed for a 20 minute rest before carving? (For the bird, not the chef, but we suggest a rest for the chef, too.)