Thanksgiving is a feast fit for a queen, but that usually means lots of planning, shopping and cooking so here are some quick and easy-to-follow tips that will make preparing your turkey day a breeze.
The rule of thumb is to buy about a pound to a pound and a half per person, so if you've got a family of 10 to feed and you want some juicy leftovers your best bet is a 15 to 20 pound bird and you'll wind up with some savory leftovers for lunch.Turkey thaw
Frozen turkeys are very popular but they can literally take days to thaw. Here is your best and safest bet; thaw it in your refrigerator in its original wrapping on a platter to catch any juices. The key here is to give it about 24 hours of thaw time for about every 4 pounds, that means a 20 pound turkey can take up to 5 days in the fridge. Here is an easy to follow guide from the National turkey federation http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/turkey_basics_safe_thawing/index.asp
If you're in a time crunch you can 'cold water' thaw by submerging the wrapped turkey in cold tap water. A 20 pound turkey will take you about 10 hours with this method. Make sure you change the water every 30 minutes.
Turkey cooking time
Your turkey is cooked when it reaches about185 degrees Fehrenheit. The only way to know for sure is to use a thermometer and insert it in the plumpest part of the thigh and it shouldn't touch the bone. An easy and fool proof way is to buy your turkey with a pop up thermometer. Once your bird is perfectly cooked the thermometer will pop up. Just take it out of the oven and let it sit for about ½ an hour before you carve it.
The standard oven roasted bird is the most common and most traditional way to cook your turkey. Deep-frying is becoming more and more popular but smaller birds work better for this method. Start by removing and tossing the neck and giblets, clean and dry the turkey then set aside and prep your fryer. It's safest to deep-fry a turkey outdoors in a propane fryer.
A safe way to determine how much oil you need is to put your thawed turkey in the fryer and add water until the top of the turkey is just about covered, as demonstrated in this episode. Remove the turkey and drain all that trapped water from the turkey back into the fryer and measure that mark. Just make sure you have about 5 inches from the water line to the top of the fryer so the oil doesn't bubble and boil over when you're cooking the turkey. There should also be a 'safe' fill line on your fryer, so use that as a guide and make sure you don't overfill. It could be very dangerous.
Fill with peanut oil to the proper fill line and then preheat the oil to about 350 to 375 degrees. Now is a good time to season your turkey. Once your oil is hot enough, turn off the flame and lower your turkey into the fryer, very very slowly! After the turkey is safely inside the fryer you can turn the heat back on. Cooking time is about 3 ½ minutes per pound. That means a 12 pound turkey will only take you about 42 minutes to cook. You want the internal temperature of the dark meat to reach about 175 to 185 degrees. After it's done cooking, turn off the heat and remove from oil and let sit for about 20 minutes before putting on a platter and carving. This will be one crisp and tasty bird! Enjoy.
I hope these turkey tips help. Here are some more tips from moms all over the country.
Have a wonderful thanksgiving. See you next time.Below are two moms who share some tips on how they get more for their money by shopping at Walmart for their Thanksgiving meal.