Purchasing the turkey is the first step in cooking a turkey! You may be laughing at this idea, but I’m sure there are just as many other people saying, “Oh Yes! I’ve been there”. You keep meaning to get that turkey early in the season so that you have plenty of sizes and brands from which to choose. You plan to take it home and store it in your freezer until the appropriate time to take it out of the freezer to thaw out for perfect cooking on Thanksgiving Day!
OOPS!!! It’s time to defrost that bird, and it is not in your freezer. Your best choice is already in someone else’s freezer. So, you have to settle for whatever you can find at whatever store still has some turkeys to sell! Oh well, you promise yourself to do better next year. Yeah, right!! So, smile and flow with the events and enjoy your family feast!!
Many people are intimidated by cooking a big bird, but it’s straightforward once you decide to do it. Learn how to cook a perfect turkey for Thanksgiving so that instead of a dreaded day, Thanksgiving can be a day that you look forward to all year long. Now get out there and impress all of your friends and family with a fantastic holiday dinner!
The following are different preparation methods for cooking a turkey.
Choose your favorite tried and true method or why not experiment this year and try something new?
1) Turkey Vacuum Sealed – This method is recommended for inexperienced cooks and people with less than 5 hours on their hands because it takes way less time than other methods such as roasting on roasting pans or boiling in water on baking sheets. The package tells you how long you can cook it at various temperatures, so you know when to take it out of the oven and how done it has to be. The bird comes with the inside vacuum-sealed, so you cannot seal the package back up after cooking.
2) Turkey Deep Fried – The best part of this recipe is that the bird is done in about an hour from start to finish, preparation included! Deep fryers are used for this, but other pots will work as long as you reach the correct cooking temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius). The oil temperature should bubble but not be too hot that it will burn the turkey. Depending on its weight, it will take 20 to 30 minutes to cook a fried bird.
3) Turkey Baked in Roasting Pan in Oven – One of the most well-known methods to cook a turkey is by roasting it. This is quickly done in the oven with your good-sized roasting pan. Roasting takes time and patience but usually results in moist and well-cooked meat.
Place the lid on your roasting pan and put it in the oven to cook at 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 degrees C) for about 3 hours (for a 15 lb turkey), being sure that the bird’s internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
4) Turkey cooked in Slow Cooker (Crock Pot) or Large Pan – With this method of cooking, you will have to take note of one minor detail; make sure that your bird’s internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius) throughout the cooking process. In other words, there should be no cold spots or areas where your turkey may be undercooked while cooking.
Put the turkey in a large pot. Add some vegetables, onion, carrots, celery, or whatever you have handy. Add some water to almost cover the bird. Place the lid on the pot and turn up to medium heat for an hour. Turn down to low heat and leave it overnight or all day until you are ready to serve it up! Slow cook, a big bird , is 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius).
5) Poached Turkey – Another way to cook a turkey is by poaching it. A pot with water and flavoring is used for this cooking method. Heat the water to about 170 degrees Fahrenheit (77 degrees Celsius) so that it is not too hot, or else the meat will be cooked very quickly and may result in under-cooking or burning. Then, place the bird in the boiling water until it floats on its own, which means that it is properly cooked through.
For a 12 pound turkey, it takes about 2 hours to cook. You should plunge the meat into ice water after being cooked to prevent it from overcooking and drying out. This is the healthiest way of cooking a turkey as you will retain all of its nutrients that can be lost with other cooking techniques such as frying or roasting.
6) Turkey cooked Under Pressure – We like to cook large hunkin’ birds in a pressure cooker because it saves a lot of time and results in a feast full of flavor. Place the bird in the pressure cooker after removing the giblets and neck from the inside cavity.
Add water to the recommended level in the pressure cooker. Add salt to taste if desired. Lock the lid on and heat at the high-pressure level for about 6 hours—quick-release pressure after 10 minutes of slow-release. Open the cooker and let the turkey sit inside the pot for 10 minutes. While it rests, use a meat thermometer to ensure it has reached an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C). Remove from the pressure cooker and let the temperature cool until ready to carve.
Whichever method you try this year, make it a family adventure.
The experience of sharing these types of events can become treasured memories
for all involved for generations.