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Time Saving Tips to Prep the Turkey

Time Saving Tips to Prep the Turkey



Cooking Instructions

Tips for Prepping The Turkey
• Cleaning the bird is not the most fun part of creating the perfect holiday meal. A new bride once asked me how to clean the cavity of the bird and get past all the "gross" parts. I buy a pair of rubber gloves, just for this purpose. Clean the bird thoroughly especially the cavity and when I'm done, I through the rubber gloves away. (Submitted by Gloria B.)

• Before roasting your turkey, carefully debone the wishbone underneath the skin at the top of the breast. This will make slicing your turkey breast much easier after roasting. (Roast the bone separately, and afterward break it with a friend for some holiday good wishes!) (Submitted by Darin S.)

• After cleaning the turkey, pour boiling water inside and out. This will seal up the turkey and keep the juices in. It also reduces cooking time. I have never had a dry turkey when I use this technique even when I use a lower price / lower quality turkey. (Submitted by Rhonda T.)

• Always double check the inside of the turkey, you don't want to find out later there were two bags inside. (Submitted by Stan L.)

• One year I could not fine my rack so turkey could drip down. What. Am I going to do I said to myself. The tin foil was sitting on my counter, I took tin foil and rolled in three long strips put in bottom of pan It work got all my drippings (Submitted by Doreen C.)

• When roasting a turkey line the bottom of your roasting pan with celery the celery will prevent the turkey from sticking to the bottom of the roasting pan plus it adds good flavor to gravy and turkey. (Submitted by Joann A.)

• Be sure to thaw a frozen turkey in the refrigerator - and don't start thawing it the day before Thanksgiving, it won't be fully thawed. A large turkey can take several days to thaw completely. Also remember to take the bag of turkey organs out of the turkey before roasting. (Submitted by Kathleen P.)

• Living in the Northeast, fresh sage is often hard to come by in quantity for Thanksgiving. So, when sage is abundant in my garden, I chop large amounts, and mix it with softened unsalted butter. Carefully wrapped, it can remain in the freezer for about 3 months without much loss of that great fresh sage flavor. And it's a perfect way to baste a turkey, or rub under the skin, or to add flavor to stuffing. (Submitted by David M.)

Tips for Brining The Turkey
• If you don't have room in your refrigerator or a big enough pot for brining your turkey, try using an insulated drink cooler (I use a 10gal size Igloo like sports teams use). It is much easier to use than an ice chest. The turkey doesn't float allowing for more of the turkey submerged in the brine. The size and handles make it much easier to move than an ice chest, and the spout allows for easier cleanup. Place a large plastic bag in cooler on top of a 2inch layer of ice, pour in brine, and place the turkey neck end down into the bag. Insert tip of probe style food thermometer into turkey to ensure temperature of meat does not go above 40 deg. Close bag, cover with ice, and place lid on cooler. (Submitted by Merry G.)

• You will need to have a 5 gal drink cooler. I make a brine of water, salt, garlic, hot pepper flakes, bay leaves, pepper corns, rosemary, thyme and molasses. I cool this off by adding ice cubes. This is poured into the cooler, the turkey is added. If the brine does not reach over the turkey, I add more ice. Use a clean heavy weight to hold the turkey down. Since there is ice and it is a cooler, the turkey can remain in it over night without problems. At least 8 hours, 12 would better. I then line the baking dish with carrots, celery and sliced onions, place the turkey on it. Then I start the cooking at very high, 450 for 30 min., then lower the heat and finish cooking. While cooking I use the neck, gizzard and heart to make a broth. When the turkey is done I add the cooking liquids in the base of the pan to create a wonderful gravy while the turkey sits covered with foil, Moist (brine), flavorful (all the herbs, etc.) And deep dark skin (molasses and high heat at start of cooking) on this wonderful turkey. (Submitted by Terri H.)

• When I roast my turkey I always make a simple brine with kosher salt and water for 4 hours. Then I thoroughly dry exterior and interior. I take fresh thyme, sage, oregano, garlic and onion and chop it. In the dried cavity I sprinkle chili powder then spread the fresh herbs all over the inside. I make a fresh herb paste but no chili for the skin exterior. I lift the skin on the breast and around the legs put herb paste inside and spread around. Then on the skin I sprinkle cinnamon, paprika, salt and paper and dried poultry seasoning. I do not butter or oil the turkey but let the seasoning cook in for awhile, and then I use melted butter or oil to moisten. At that point I tent the bird so the breast does not burn. I baste every half hour all over the bird. The combination of the chili powder inside and the cinnamon outside just lights up your palate. (Submitted by Judy L.)

• Mix 2 pounds of salt to 5 gallons of water into a large container with a cover. Make sure the salt is totally dissolved into the water. At this time, add your herbs such as garlic, parsley in a small amount, 1 cup of each into the water. Wash your turkey and put it into the water, salt, herb solution, making sure your Turkey is completely submerged into the water. Let your Turkey Brine for at least 12 hours. Take it out, rinse it completely and roast it like you would any other Turkey. Your Turkey will roast very tender and extremely flavorful. It won't be as salty as one might think either. (Submitted by Mike K.)

• I brine the turkey for about two hours, adding 1 bottle of good dry white wine to brine mixture. Remove and discard brine, dry cavity. Place a carrot, celery, fresh sage in cavity. Moisten cheese cloth in butter, cover the turkey, baste every half hour, adding more butter if needed. About 3/4 way through roasting time, baste and carefully remove cloth. Continue roasting and basting until proper temperature is reached. (Submitted by Mary Lou C.)

• Brine that bird! The best way to keep a turkey from being desert dry is to soak it (no more than 24 hrs.) in a brine - salt, sugar, your choice of whole spices (ginger, peppercorns, allspice berries). Not only does it keep it from drying out, but it infuses wonderful flavor to the meat! (Submitted by Helen R.)

• Brine your turkey overnight in 2 quarts of strong sweetened iced tea (I use decaffeinated English Breakfast tea made extra strong) with three large cloves of minced garlic, 1 teaspoon of Aleppo Pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, one large sweet onion finely minced, and 1/4 cup fresh sage or two teaspoons of dried sage stirred into the tea. Place turkey in extra large freezer bag, pour brine over bird and leave in refrigerator for 12-24 hours prior to draining and cooking the turkey using your favorite holiday turkey recipe. The cooked turkey will be extra tender and juicy when cooked and served. (Submitted by Beverley P.)

• Brine turkey in salt water, oranges, and herbs so it stays juicy and it infused with flavors from the beginning. (Submitted by Tina M.)

• I brine my fresh or pre frozen turkey every year. The secret is to brine. I use the basics such as kosher salt, citrus (orange, lemon. Limes, including the peel) or all the above. Pepper corns, brown sugar, bay leaf, thyme, and rosemary. After brining for three days in water, ingredients, and ice. I rinse the brine off and pat dry. I cover with olive oil and place a little kosher salt to create a brown crust. I then stuff the cavity with onions, celery, carrots, parsnips, garlic, and rosemary and then place a tent over it for several hours while cooking (per package instructions) and the last hour I remove the tent and it creates a picture perfect, Rockwell-moist Turkey. If it does not brown enough just use butter. (Submitted by Brian D.)

• Submerge thawed turkey in 2 cups brown sugar and1cup rock salt in enough water to cover the turkey(separate skin from meat w/hands, this will keep from skin coming hard) for 2 days in fridge. (I use plastic bucket) I use 1 chimney (charcoal starter) full briskets in kamado for 5 hrs. (do not cover turkey) (Submitted by Dennis Y.)

• Okay, we all love a marinated turkey. But who has a container big enough to do it, without having to make gallons and gallons of brine? So first, make the brine and chill it, and thaw the turkey. Put the turkey in a new (clean) kitchen trash bag, and set the bag in the roasting pan you're going to bake it in. Holding the ends of the bag up, pour the brine in around the turkey (this is easier with two people). Tie the top of the bag so there's as little air as possible. Now push the brine up around the turkey by sticking mailer air bags, bowls, mugs, or whatever will fit around the outside of the turkey bag, but still in the pan. I've never needed more than a single batch of spices and brine using this method, even for a very large turkey. (Submitted by Barbara D.)

Tips for Making a Moist Turkey
• When cooking WILD TURKEY add one cup of water because wild turkey is drier than domesticated turkey (Submitted by Charles G.)

• Always cook breast side down, cover with cheese cloth and baste with white wine and butter. You'll have the moistest turkey ever! (Submitted by Hillary L.)

• Roast your turkey upside down in an oven bag. The juices from the dark meat will baste the white meat while cooking and you will have the moistest turkey that you have every eaten! (Submitted by Marla C.)

• For a moist and flavorful turkey, I soften butter mix with salt & pepper. Then I lift the skin of the breast away from the meat and rub the butter on the breast. Then add a fresh Sage leaf under the skin. Salt and pepper the out side and bake. (Submitted by Stephanie H.)

• Marinate the turkey in a solution of vegetable stock, chicken stock, Kosher salt, garlic, thyme, sage, pepper, or what ever herbs suit your taste. Cover turkey with marinade and ice and soak bird overnight. Remove and coat bird with olive oil and stuff cavity with an apple, celery, onion and cook at 450 degrees until brown, reduce heat to 250 degrees and cover with foil. Cook until bird reaches 165 degrees, or follow cooking direction per pound as recommended in the cooking directions. (Submitted by Roberta E.)

• Want the juiciest turkey for the holidays, here's how: 1. Lift the skin from the meat by running your hands between them. 2. Stuff pieces of butter between the skin and meat. About 2 sticks or you can use some tub margarine as well. 3. Put the turkey with the breast side down. 4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes per pound. You can baste occasionally is you like. 5. About 30 minutes before the turkey is finished cooking, flip the bird over so the breast is up to brown. You will have the juiciest turkey breast ever and the drippings make excellent gravy. (Submitted by Wanda V.)

• I try to make things up the night before so I can spend the time with family. The best tip I have is to rub mayo all over the turkey and then cover with foil. It keeps it moist. (Submitted by Patricia K.)

• My turkey always comes out moist and tender. How? Roast at 375 F. Brush generously with butter before putting in the oven. Baste after one hour, then every thirty minutes after that. Cover with a tent of foil when it starts getting brown. It works every time! (Submitted by Matthew G.)

• Want to avoid dry turkey? Add 4 cups of tequila and a couple of limes and cilantro to your while it's still hot. When cooled you can save brine by using a quality small garbage bag to hold the turkey and brine in a small cooler packed with ice. The melting ice doesn't dilute your brine; you don't have to make as much brine since the bag fits around the bird. Insert thermometer and cook to your preferred temp. The bird is moist, with a mysterious flavor. Substitute bourbon or other "sweet" whisky if you prefer and oranges instead of limes. (Submitted by Mike C.)

• Start turkey in oven breast down to set juices in the breast meat. After about 45 minutes, turn it to roast on its back for remainder of roasting time. This ensures moist breast meat. (Submitted by Genelle B.)

• For moist turkey breast, place turkey, breast side down on a rack after rubbing down with softened butter. Add 4 cups water to pan and place in preheated 400 degrees oven After 30 minutes turn heat to 325 and continue baking until done. (Submitted by Pearly S.)

• Cook turkey with breast side down. This allows all the juices to remain in the breast making the white meat extra yummy. Happy thanksgiving (Submitted by Melissa C.)

• The best thing you do to produce a perfect roast turkey is to make certain your bird is completely thawed. Frozen turkeys need several weeks to thaw in a refrigerator and even fresh birds can freeze during transit. By your bird several weeks before you wish to cook it. (Submitted by Geoffrey M.)

• For a really moist turkey..."slather" the bird with mayonnaise and then use a roasting bag to cook your turkey in....if not stuffing bird with dressing....fill cavity with fresh rosemary, orange slices and fresh cranberries.... (Submitted by Jean R.)

• To ensure that the breast cooks evenly and stays very moist, cover the turkey with a cheese-cloth that has been drenched in white wine and butter. This method will not only keep the turkey moist but it will color evenly and beautifully. (Submitted by Monica B.)

• For a moist turkey: place turkey on rack in roasting pan. Season to taste. Fill pan with 1/2 inch water. Cover turkey with aluminum foil tent. Bake at least 350 degrees. Baste as usual. Add water if necessary. Last 45 minutes or so remove aluminum foil to brown roast turkey. Optional: before baking turkey loosen skin and place pats of butter under skin on thighs, chest, and inside cavity. (Submitted by Bridget K.)

• If you are not afraid of a little butter, (1) separate the skin from the meat, (2) take a cold stick of butter and slice it into about 1/2 tablespoons and (3) place butter in between the layers. This will result in a juicy, moist turkey! (Submitted by Victoria K.)

• Cover breast with cheesecloth soaked in 2 cubes melted, unsalted butter and 1 bottle champagne. Baste every 1/2 hour to keep cheesecloth moist. Remove cheesecloth last 1/2 of roasting to brown breast. Yum...can't wait! (Submitted by Sandra W.)

• Instead of putting stuffing in your turkey, put one or two cut up apples and a cut up onion instead. No need to peel or seed just cut each in fourths. It will be the moistest turkey you've ever had. (Submitted by Wendy W.)

• Clean and dry turkey. Over the breast of the turkey spread a thin coat of Miracle Whip, season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake at 325. 20 minutes before turkey is done, uncover and brown breast. Do not have to baste while bird is cooking to have one of the moistest turkeys you have ever had. (Submitted by Mary B.)

Tips for Quick Cooking a Turkey
For a quick cooking of your turkey, butterfly it! Place it on a rack over a cookie sheet to roast and it will be done more quickly! Usually under 2 hours. (Submitted by Kathy L.)

• Roast the turkey the night before them refrigerate it The next morning slice it and place the slices in the roasting pan misting all the slices with broth then cover with foil and heat through The turkey will b moist and all the mess is cleaned up well before guests arrive. The breast meat becomes very moist this way. (Submitted by Gary S.)

• We now cut up our turkey (drum stick, thigh, wings, back, and breast), wipe with olive oil, sprinkle a bit of flavored salt and pepper and bake. It's a lot faster and all the pieces brown very nicely. We cook our stuffing in a large pot using sparkling wine in addition to broth. After the stuffing is cooked, we put it in a baking dish for ten minutes to brown it a bit. Both the above have made our holiday meals a lot easier and we all love the new flavors. (Submitted by Peggy M.)

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