Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Turkey Talk


Thanksgiving is a little over a week away and, while not every family in America serves turkey on Thanksgiving Day, most families do. Have you purchased a turkey for your Thanksgiving?  🦃

Let's get right on into this and talk a little turkey...shall we?












HOW MUCH TURKEY TO BUY


For turkeys 12 pounds or smaller, allow about one pound per person. Larger birds have a higher proportion of meat to bone weight. For a 12- to 24-pound turkey, allow about 3/4 pound per person. If you want leftovers, allow 2 pounds per person when buying a turkey 12 pounds or smaller. Allow 1 1/2 pounds per person for 12- to 24-pound birds.

TURKEY CARVING TIPS

1. Remove Drumstick, Thigh

Remove the drumstick and thigh by pressing the leg away from the body. The joint connecting the leg to the backbone will often snap free or can be cut easily with a knife.

2. Dark Meat (Drumstick)

First, separate the drumstick from the thigh. Remove the meat from the drumstick by slicing away from you and toward the cutting surface.

3. Dark Meat (Thigh)

Thigh meat can be cut by holding it firmly with a fork and cutting slices evenly and parallel to the bone.

4. Carve the Breast (Base Cut)

To make a base cut, first cut parallel to, and as close to the wing as possible. All breast meat cuts will stop at this horizontal cut.

5. Cut Thin Slices

Carve downward, ending at the base cut slightly higher up on the breast. Remember to try to keep slices as thin and even as possible.

6. Kitchen Carving Method

OR… if you're cramped for table space, try this method. Remove the whole breast from one side of the turkey. Place it on a cutting board and slice evenly across the grain. Repeat with the second half of the turkey.

GOT A QUESTION ABOUT COOKING TURKEY?

Check out the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line where professionally trained home economists and dieticians are available to answer questions about cooking turkeys by phone e-mail.

The Talk-Line number is 1-800-BUTTERBALL (1-800-288-8372) or you can text them at 844-877-3456. The website address is: www.butterball.com. You can also connect to the Talk-Line through social media, live chat, or even Alexa!!! 😲

ROASTING TIME FOR TURKEYS

Oven Temperature 325 degrees F (165 degrees C)

Size Stuffed Unstuffed

8-12 pounds 4-5 hours 3-4 hours
12-16 pounds 4 1/2-6 hours 3 1/2-5 hours
16-20 pounds 5 1/2-7 hours 4 1/2-6 hours
20-24 pounds 6 1/2-71/2 hours 5 1/2-6 1/2 hours

These times are guidelines only. The meat thermometer should register 185 degrees F (85 degrees C) in the thickest part of the thigh when done. Juices should run clear when the bird is pierced with a fork between the leg and thigh.

HOW TO GRILL A TURKEY

Grilling a turkey makes good sense for busy cooks, especially if you're dealing with a small space kitchen. With the turkey cooking merrily away on the grill, the oven is free for other chores such as cooking large pans of dressing, side dishes or even home baked pies. And, as always, grilling cuts down on clean-up time so you'll have more time to relax and enjoy the day.

Whether you have a gas or a charcoal grill, you can use it to prepare a moist, delicious turkey, if you keep a few tips in mind.

· After removing the plastic wrapping, prepare the turkey by freeing the legs from tucked position and removing the neck and giblets from neck and body cavities. Rinse the turkey and drain well. Turn wings back to hold neck skin in place. Return legs to tucked position. It's not necessary to truss a turkey for the grill.

· You can marinate the turkey by using a fork to make random holes over the entire bird. Place the turkey in a large, plastic cooking bag or clean plastic trash bag and pour in the marinade. Close the bag securely and let it marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Before cooking, scrape off excess marinade and discard.

· Do not re-use marinade to baste the turkey.

· Do not stuff a turkey that's to be grilled as it can take too long for the temperature of the stuffing to reach the required temperature of 165 F degrees.

· Keep the lid on the grill closed as much as possible to prevent heat loss.

Grilling

Use indirect heat to grill the turkey. Prepare the grill by removing top grill rack and opening all vents. Mound 50 to 60 briquettes in center of the lower grill rack or the bottom of grill and ignite briquettes. When coals become ash-gray -- about 20 to 40 minutes -- divide them into two equal parts, positioned on the outside edges of lower grill rack or bottom of grill.

Place a foil drip pan or a double thickness of heavy-duty aluminum foil between the two piles of coals.

Lightly grease the top grill rack before repositioning it on the hot coals. Place the prepared turkey in the middle of the grill rack, directly over drip pan, and replace the lid on the grill.

You can figure roughly 12 minutes cooking time per pound of turkey. Be sure to check turkey's doneness by using a meat thermometer. Breast meat is ready at 170 °F degrees, thigh meat at 180° F degrees.

Maintain grill heat during cooking by adding 5 to 8 briquettes to both sides of hot coals every hour or as needed.

HOW TO DEEP-FRY A TURKEY

Deep frying a turkey may sound like a strange concept, but trust me, it doesn't come out like you'd think. Deep fried turkey is moist and delicious and not at all greasy.
Of course, an idea like fried turkey originated in the south, the frying capital of the United States, but it is gaining popularity nationwide. In fact, a recent block party I attended in South Central Los Angeles had three fried tukeys going. Several groups of neighbors had gotten together and split the cost of the oil and special equipment needed to make this dish. Needless to say, their tables were some of the most popular.

You Will Need

In addition to a turkey, you'll need a 40 or 60 quart pot with basket, plus a propane gas tank and burner, a candy thermometer, a meat thermometer and lots of oil. You should also keep a fire extinguisher and plenty of pot holders nearby. An injector to add marinades and seasonings to the meat is also good to have, although you can make a plain turkey without it.

As far as the turkey itself goes, smaller birds work better for frying. Try not to go over ten pounds. Before cooking, you can inject the turkey with your favorite marinade, rub it with a dry spice rub, or even coat it in seasoned breadcrumbs. You will need about five gallons of oil in which to fry the turkey.

Where to Fry

Because so much oil is flammable, you should never fry a turkey indoors. Place the fryer, outdoors, on a level dirt or grassy area. Avoid frying on wood decks, which could catch fire. You will also want to avoid concrete surfaces, unless you don't mind oil stains.

How to Fry

Before beginning, determine the amount of oil you'll need by placing the turkey in the basket and putting this in the pot. Add water until it reaches about two inches above the turkey. Remove the turkey and note the water level by using a ruler to measure the distance from the top of the pot to the surface of the water. Remove the water and thoroughly dry the pot.

Using the candy thermometer to determine temperature, heat the oil to 350°F. This usually takes between 45 minutes to an hour. Once the oil is hot enough, place the turkey in the basket and slowly lower it into the pot. With whole turkeys, you can estimate on about three minutes per pound to cook. Remove turkey and check the temperature with meat thermometer. The temperature should reach 170° F. in the breast and 180° F. in the thigh.

HINTS AND TIPS

· Do not stuff turkeys you plan on frying, it just doesn't work.

· Be sure to measure for the amount of oil you'll need BEFORE you marinate or bread the turkey. A good time to do these tasks is while the oil is heating.

· Immediately wash hands, utensils, equipment and surfaces that have come in contact with raw turkey to avoid cross contamination.

· Consume cooked turkey immediately and store leftovers in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking.

· Never leave the hot oil unattended.

· Don't allow children or pets near the cooking area.

· Allow oil to cool completely before disposing or storing it.

How do you prepare your turkey? Leave your comments, along with any hints or tips you might have to share, in the comments section below.

Until next time...
~Rebecca

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