Yep. I know you waited. and at 9:00 a.m. in the morning some of you are refreshing the blog and searching my profile "She said she would show me how to do it! She said she would!"
And I am as good as my word.
This Thanksgiving I decided I wanted a BIG turkey. Ok..when do I NOT decide I want a big turkey? never. I always want to be able to feed 12 - 16 people. So I got a 23 pound turkey. This is a bit bigger than the 19 pounder I got last year. This year, I really noticed the size difference. So our lesson today boys and girls, is pan size. I fielded some of these questions on Google Plus but here is the reason WHY you have to take pan size into account
NOPE! Nope Nope Nope. In fact. Facepalm. Last night when I tested it, and I'm glad I did, this was just unacceptable. Just think about being stuffed into a hot tub that is a size too small for you to fit in. Not very comfy.
Ahh, there it is! That's what I wanted to see! That bird has room to dance in that pan if it so chooses. This also shows the bird stuffed. Now this is different from most pictures of turkeys you have seen, can you spot the difference?
Yeah. This bird is untrussed (untied). I don't truss my birds. A few years ago I took some small chickens and did them side by side. Exact same weight (That was a search!) and stuffing amount. I found that the untrussed bird didn't cook evenly and that the stuffing was not cooked as well as the bird that was untrussed. So if you are starting out, don't worry, don't fuss. Just stick the bird in the pan. It will be ok.
This is what it will look like when you have the aluminum on. Try to make a little tent for the bird with some space between the foil and the skin. If some touches it's ok, but try to keep the main portion of the aluminum up off of it.
A few things to keep in mind that I have mentioned before when doing Turkey.
- Temperature. Use a thermometer. I'm not joking here. If you don't have one go get one right now. "But the juices run clear!" is NOT an indication that the turkey is safe to eat. That is a good indication that it's time to take readings more often. Take a reading of the thick part of the thigh. It should read 165F.
- Also take readings of the stuffing. It too should read 165F. If the turkey is done and the stuffing is not, don't worry. That turkey needs to rest before you carve and dish and everything else. Scrape out the stuffing and put it in a pan and back into the oven at 400F. It will cook quickly on it's own. I have never had stuffing that wasn't done at the same time the turkey was, but if you are using a turkey that wasn't quite thawed, it could happen.
- No, you do NOT have to fuss and fret about basting the bird. I do not remove the foil for 3/4's of the time the turkey is cooking. You don't have to do anything special to it except get it in the pan and cover it. I do, however, like to put butter that has been beaten with honey and sage and slide it under the skin of the bird. Butterball turkeys are already injected with basting sauce so no need to even attempt that if you have a Butterball. If you want to butter the skin of the bird, feel free.
- My dressing is made like this: 1. some slices of bread, chopped onion, chopped celery, a sprinkle of sage, thyme, and a generous amount of savory. Just before stuffing the bird I cut up a few tablespoons of butter and mix them in with the stuffing. I have never had dry stuffing. My mother taught me to make this. Oh, what to do with the bread? I put it in a blender or a food processor and chop it up pretty well. I don't buy fancy bread, just a loaf of cheap white bread.
Remember that Thanksgiving is not "all about impressing people". If it is about impressing people, go to a restaurant. Enjoy the company you have. And if you don't have any company feel free to join me on Google Plus and World of Warcraft!