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Cooking a Turkey

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I need some advice from turkey-cooking experts. See, a few years ago, I cooked a turkey for the first time and it didn't turn all brown and crispy. It was all liquidy and the meat broke easily. When you buy a turkey, were do you defrost it? And how long does it take to defrost. I haven't tried to cook anymore. But I want to try this year. Any suggestions.
post #2 of 21
all food is supposed to be defrosted in the refrigerator. For a long time I thought it was just supposed to be left outside of both the fridge and freezer, but in a class I had it said that all foods are to be defrosted in the fridge. My dad is really good with turkey, I'll ask him and tell ya later
post #3 of 21
I don`t think I am an expert, but everyone likes my turkey. I cover it with foil until the last 30 to 60 minutes, then take the foil off so it will brown and crispen.
post #4 of 21
My mom buys those big plastic baking bags (I think they are Glad but may be Reynold's). She cuts up a few stalks of celery, a few apples, and a couple of onions. She rubs the turkey all over with Poultry Seasoning (you can find it in the spice aisle) then sticks it and the cut up apples celery and onions in the baking bag. Close the bag then poke a couple of holes in it with a fork. I am sure she opens it up sometime to let the skin brown, but I'm not sure since we just peel the skin off anyway.

The turkey comes out so flavorful and moist. It's fantastic!
post #5 of 21

The first turkey I ever cooked was when I was 18 years old. I wanted to so impress my dad and boyfriend. Well, word to the wise TAKE OUT THE GIZZARD PACKET THAT'S INSIDE THE BIRD BEFORE YOU COOK IT!! I didn't and when I tell you the bird was pink and undercooked!! Best thing to do is get a meat thermometer. I never stuff my turkey either. I cook the stuffing separately on the stove.

I think Perdue has a turkey with one of those pop-up thingys that pops up when the turkey is done.

If all else fails, you can do a few things:

1. Make dinner reservations at a restaurant
2. Make meatloaf and mashed potatoes instead
3. Buy a cookbook
4. Go to someone else's house for dinner
5. Go to a soup kitchen
6. Have a bowl of cereal
7. Buy a pre-cooked turkey
post #6 of 21
The last 2 turkeys I cooked, I got those dinner deals from the grocery store. It was pre-cooked, but I still put it in the over for about an hour to an hour & half. They all turned out soooooooo juicy! I did cook a turkey that I had to pull the giblets & gunk out, and I put butter & foil over it and it turned out good, too.
post #7 of 21
First you find a big deep Afghanistani cave...add napalm or tac nuc sauce...roast for 2 days.
post #8 of 21
LOL, Donna! I did the same thing the first time I cooked a turkey at age 18.

I rub the skin with margarine, then add salt, pepper, and some garlic powder. I also roast it over water in the pan. Keeps it nice and juicy. Mmmm, can't wait for Thanksgiving!
post #9 of 21
I'm jealous! In Canada our Thanksgiving was Oct 8. I want turkey! Nena, you can always buy a fresh turkey (we always do) and then you don't have to worry about defrosting, or freezer burn. We start our as normal, but we lay bacon across all exposed surfaces. This add a lovely flavour to the bird & the gravy if you make the gravy from the juice. You take the bacon off 45-60 min before it's finished & this will allow it to brown nicely
post #10 of 21
First of all, ALWAYS defrost in the fridge. For a 15lb turkey you should start defrosting it at least 2 days before or the inside will still be frozen.
Make sure to take out the gizzard pack and wash the bird inside and out w/ cold water. Pat it dry. Rub it down w/ either butter or margarine or a light coating of oil. Season it how you like, I use salt, pepper, garlic powder. Make sure to season inside too!!
Bake it according to the weight, and keep it covered w/ foil until the last 30 min or so. It will be crispier if you have it on a rack so the juices can drip and then you can collect them for the gravy!
Good luck, and bon apetit!!!
post #11 of 21
I hate to admit it, but I like the Martha Stewart method. (ooo, now nobody will believe me when I say I hate housekeeping! lol)

Take out the giblets (which I have forgotten to do in the past), rub it with butter, fill the cavity with peeled onions, cut if you have to but you don't need to chop it up, add a few stalks of celery and some garlic cloves, at pop it in the oven. Best is like 275F for 6 hours or so (my mom used to set an alarm and get up to put the turkey in) but you can set the temp and time according to any cookbook you like. Don't forget to baste, that keeps the skin from drying out. I usually bake it uncovered and add foil later to prevent burning.

Oh, and this is good with chicken too: If you don't have a rack to lift it out of the fat, peel a few onions and slice them thickly, then lay the slices to cover the bottom of the pan. The bird won't stick, it's a nice flavor (I think turkey is bland), and you can add the onions to the gravy or serve them as a garnish.

But the most important thing is to relax and have fun with your guests!
post #12 of 21
good advice Sunlion! I forgot to say that I also put the celery and onions in to give it some extra flavor. And Sunlion is very right about the temp. The lower the temp and the longer you cook, the better the bird will be!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for your advice. They all sound very good to me. I will try it this year and see how it turns out. Hissy, do you have any suggestions?
post #14 of 21
You got some really good advice here. The only thing that I do different is Mike does the turkey and I do everything else. He gets up at about 2:00 a.m. and puts the stuffing I made inside of it, turns the oven on 250 degrees and it just slow bakes for about 12 hours. He does stuff an apple in the cavity with the stuffing to give it extra flavor. He is a great turkey roasting man!
post #15 of 21
I, too, must add my name to the list of people who cooked my first turkey with the giblets still inside the cavity It came out just AWFUL!

But my favorite story about Thanksgiving happened many years ago when I was in the convent. I had taken elderly Sister Theodore to the local A&P to do the shopping for our Thanksgiving dinner. She made it very clear that only a butter basted turkey would do. There we were in full habit, Sr. Theodore checking out the turkies, and me checking out the canned cranberry sauce 2 aisles away. From the frozen section in a loud excited voice I heard Sister Theodore shout...."Here they are....I found the :censor::censor::censor::censor::censor::censor::censor: turkies" Sister had a way of confusing similar words!
post #16 of 21
that was hilarious!
post #17 of 21

Since I don't have a big family at home...we still cook a turkey, with sweet potatoes, (not candied) but we have white meat and sweet potatoes and that's it! :LOL: :LOL::LOL: I never get a friggen break! This year, competition in the USA...I have to be ready or else someone's gonna cook my goose! :LOL: awwww..corny hahahaha! I can't escape myself!...Silly, I know, but Opie's home and I don't care if I'm silly !! Yipppeeeeeee :laughing2:laughing2

post #18 of 21
Oh, Catarina, that's great news! Opie's home!

{sunlion dances an annoying little jig while humming "Happy Days Are Here Again"}
post #19 of 21

Thank you!!! :laughing2 I'd love to see that! :laughing2:

post #20 of 21
I've made a turkey before, but I'm really looking forward to trying some of your all suggestions
post #21 of 21
Tiggeytoes, that was hilarious!!!! :LOL:

I have made a turkey twice now, I too was scared at first, having heard they can turn out dry, but I bought a butterball turkey and just thawed it out in the fridge two days before the big day, and Thanksgiving morning I just cooked it according to the directions on the package, and it turned out great!!!! I was so happy that my first ever Turkey was moist and delicious!!!! If I can do it, anybody can!
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