Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Whole Turkey Know-How

At Harter House Supermarkets, we're gearing up for the Thanksgiving Holiday. We're ready to assist you in any way we possibly can!

How did turkey become part of Thanksgiving?Availability probably dictated menu choice. At the time the Pilgrims first celebrated Thanksgiving, turkey was a dietary mainstay. In fact, they ate so much turkey that it probably wasn’t much of a treat. Turkey meat from wild and domesticated birds was also a staple in the diet of many Indian tribes.

Fresh or Frozen?
First things first: You need to know what to buy. If you’re shopping just a few days prior to your dinner, Harter House Supermarket recommends buying a FRESH TURKEY. Fresh always tastes best! We advise cooking a fresh bird within three days of purchase. Also, ordering ahead guarantees availability.

If you buy a frozen bird remember that thawing it in the refrigerator will take a few days. If you’re entertaining a small group, consider serving a turkey breast instead of a whole bird.

Buying the Right Size Whole Turkey
The general rule of thumb is to plan on at least one pound (uncooked) per person; however it is often recommended buying 2 pounds or more per person. That may sound excessive, but everyone loves turkey. This way, you’re assured of generous second helpings all around, plus enough left over for savory second-day dishes.
2-4 People - 8-12 lb.
5-7 People - 12-16 lb.
8-10 People - 16-20 lb.
11-13 People - 20-24 lb.

Thawing a Frozen Bird
Leave the turkey in its original wrapping and place it on a tray in your refrigerator. Allow five hours of defrosting time per pound. For example, a 14–19 lb. turkey will need 3–4 days to thoroughly defrost. If your turkey hasn’t completely thawed by the time you’re ready to cook it, place it under cold, running water to accelerate the thawing process.

Suggested Refrigerator Thawing Times for Whole, Frozen Turkey
8-12 lb. - 1-2 Days
12-16 lb. - 2-3 Days
16-20 lb. - 3-4 Days
20-24 lb. - 4-5 Days

If you need to quick-thaw your turkey, leave it in its original wrapping and place it in COLD water. The water must be changed every 30 minutes. Allow approximately 30 minutes per pound using this method.
Suggested Cold-Water Thawing Times for Whole, Frozen Turkey
8-12 lb. - 4-6 Hours
12-16 lb. - 6-8 Hours
16-20 lb. - 8-10 Hours
20-24 lb. - 10-12 Hours

Foolproof Cooking
Check the roasting guide below and preheat your oven to 325° F. Release the legs from the metal clamp. The neck and giblets should be removed from the body and neck cavities. Rinse the turkey both inside and out with cool water and pat it dry with paper towels.

Now you’re ready to season or stuff your bird. When you’re finished, put the legs back into the hock lock and tuck the tips of the wings under the back of the turkey.
Place the turkey, breast side up, in a shallow (2-inch-deep) roasting pan. Brush the turkey with vegetable oil, melted butter or margarine to prevent drying of skin. Some turkeys are self-basting, so you don’t need to worry about that task.

Before placing your turkey in the oven, loosely shield the breast with a tent-shaped piece of aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. You’ll want to remove the shield 1 1/2 hours before the bird is done so it can turn a golden brown. Roast the turkey until the timer pops up or your meat thermometer registers 185° F in the thigh or 170° F in the breast.

When a whole turkey is done, the leg joint moves freely when the drumstick is rotated, and the juices run clear when a knife is inserted into the deepest part of the leg joint. The turkey needs to cook longer if you see any tinge of pink in the juices.

When your turkey is done, move it to a warmed platter, cover it loosely and let it stand for 15–20 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to settle and makes slicing easier. Use the following timetable to approximate the roasting time for your fresh or thawed whole turkey.

Roasting Time Chart
Recommended Whole-turkey Roasting Times - (Fresh or Thawed) at 325° F
8-12 lb......2¾-3 Hours......3–3½ Hours
12-14 lb.....3-3¾ Hours......3½-4 Hours
14-18 lb.....3¾-4¼ Hours.....4–4½ Hours
18-20 lb.....4¼- 4½ Hours....4¼-4¾ Hours
20-24 lb.....4½-5 Hours......4¾-5¼ Hours
Cook stuffing to an internal (center of stuffing) temperature of 165°F.

Harter House Supermarkets wishes you and yours a safe and Happy Holiday.

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