Thanksgiving is upon us and cooking a turkey may be on the forefront of your mind, like it is for me. For more years than I recall, my mom or my sister would always cook the Thanksgiving Turkey for our family’s Thanksgiving feast. Due to circumstances, I am blessed with the task to make the turkey this year.
Looking into my many options for cooking this Thanksgiving Turkey, I find that I can slow cook it, roast it, or deep fry it. Considering that I will need to make a turkey big enough to feed 30 people, I find that the easiest way will be to oven roast the Thanksgiving Turkey.
- Large Roasting Pan
- Meat Thermometer
- Flavor Baster
- Aluminum Foil
- Cutting Board
- Sharp Carving Knife and Meat Fork
If you will be roasting the turkey, a roasting pan with handles is also a great idea because of the turkey’s weight. The size of pan you should use depends on the size of your bird, but basically anything up to a 12 lb turkey can be roasted in a 14 x 10 pan. Larger turkeys should be roasted in a 16 x 13 pan.
You will want to prepare the turkey properly before cooking as well. Thaw the turkey in accordance to instructions. You can thaw your Thanksgiving turkey by letting it sit in the refrigerator, setting it in cold water, or using the microwave.
I do not recommend the microwave unless you have run out of time. If you choose the microwave method, be sure to read your microwave instruction and the instruction on the turkey.
The cold water method requires that you submerge the turkey (still wrapped or in a plastic bag) in cold water. Change water every 30 minutes to insure that it is cold and doesn’t get icy. You should plan for approximately 30 minutes of defrosting per pound.
The refrigerator method is the easiest, but takes the longest. A turkey weighing 3-4 pounds would require about 24 hours in the refrigerator to thaw, while a turkey weighing 20-24 pounds will require 4-5 days to thaw in the refrigerator.
While preparing the turkey, once thawed, remember to remove the giblet packets that are tucked inside the neck and end cavities. Rinse the turkey well after removing the packets.
As a side note, the giblets can be simmered in a pan of boiling water and be used for the delicious gravy later.
Some people like brine a turkey before cooking to add flavor and make the meat extra tender. If you choose to use brining, may I suggest that you check out this site: Brining a turkey Betty Crocker has great ideas. No need for me to reinvent the wheel.
If you wish to stuff the turkey, be sure that you cook whatever you are stuffing first – before stuffing it into the turkey.
Place the turkey – breast side up – in your roasting pan. some people use a rack in the pan to keep the turkey up out of the drippings. This is not necessary but a matter a preference. Brush the turkey with melted butter. There is no need to add water.
Insert a meat thermometer, as directed by the thermometer instructions. Most will insert the meat thermometer into the beast meat toward the center of the turkey. You do not need to cover the turkey initially, but as it becomes golden brown, you will want to cover loosely with tin foil, creating a “tent”.
Roast turkey in the oven set at 350 degrees until the thermometer reads 165 degrees (for a whole turkey). The drumpsticks should move easily and fall when lifted or twisted. Allow 4-5 hours for roasting the turkey that weigh 20 pounds. Remove the beautiful Thanksgiving turkey from the oven and let it stand for 15 minutes before carving.
After carving, keep it covered with foil to keep it warm. You can even place it back in the warm oven (that has been turned off) to keep it warm before serving.
This is how I will be preparing the Thanksgiving Turkey. Good luck to you!
Do you have a special Thanksgiving turkey recipe, or other food tradition that you would like to share with our readers, please do so in the comments below, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.