Author Topic: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?  (Read 10467 times)

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PastryGoddess

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #105 on: November 07, 2013, 11:57:22 PM »
I just bought one--it arrived today.


I'm worried about opening the oven door. Bcs the plan when I bought my oven years ago was to get one big enough to put several dishes in at once.

I guess I could add the other dishes when I rotate the bird.

Word of advice.  Don't interfere with the cooking of turkey.   If you have done everything ahead and it needs reheating, take out of fridge in plenty of time so they aren't too cold.  They can sit outside the fridge for a couple hours so they don't take too long to reheat. Once the bird is out, then put all the sides in the oven.   Cover bird tightly with heavy duty foil to let it rest at least 30 to 45 mins.  It will stay hot if you cover enough.   If you add the sides while the turkey is cooking, you will add more time to everything.  The bird will take longer and the sides will too.  Carve after it sits and don't peek while it rests.  The time it takes to carve and rest should be plenty for your sides if you place them properly in the oven. 


This is wise advice.  What sides were you going to have?


Also, I cook my turkey breast down, so I have to rotate it.  However that is advanced turkey cookery and I don't recommend trying it until you've master the technique on a chicken first*.  You can, however, deploy the foil covering of the breast maneuver approximately 30 min into cooking

*I will not be responsible for the tale of the time the turkey bounced out of the window.  Or the tale of pouring hot turkey juice down your arm and onto your leg


« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 12:06:02 AM by PastryGoddess »
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Lorelei_Evil

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #106 on: November 08, 2013, 08:04:39 AM »
I think doing a trial run w/ a chicken is probably a good idea.

(the one thing about "cook the turkey in a way you're more familiar with" is that I've really only cooked a turkey twice before--last year, when I didn't have the oven hot enough, and decades ago)

We solved this problem with a countertop roaster oven.  I love the thing.  Turkey cooks perfectly and you have the oven free for other things.  So if you mistime things a little you can keep food hot in a 200 degree oven until you're ready to serve.  They're about $40.

Amara

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #107 on: November 08, 2013, 01:18:54 PM »
Quote
*I will not be responsible for the tale of the time the turkey bounced out of the window.  Or the tale of pouring hot turkey juice down your arm and onto your leg.

Okay, you are not responsible. But you must tell us both stories.

cabbagegirl28

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #108 on: November 08, 2013, 05:59:35 PM »
Quote
*I will not be responsible for the tale of the time the turkey bounced out of the window.  Or the tale of pouring hot turkey juice down your arm and onto your leg.

Okay, you are not responsible. But you must tell us both stories.

Seconded.


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TootsNYC

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #109 on: November 08, 2013, 09:25:21 PM »
So--I finally heard back from the other cousin of my generation with whom there had been some negotiation about who would host. I hadn't heard from her, so we went ahead with the plans (the first cousin had already bowed out).

And she said she couldn't host, bcs she'd be using her mom's kitchen, since she still lives at home, and it would stress her mom out too much.

Then she said, "We get a turkey from my boss every year; I'm volunteering to cook that and bring it--it would take one job off your hands. Let me know if you'd like that."

I told DH, and he said, "What's the point of hosting Thanksgiving if you don't cook the turkey?"

So I told her I was already planning, and had purchased tools, and was determined to master it this year. Then I struggled with how to say, "if you wanted to donate the turkey, I'd be happy to cook it." I essentially said "I've been planning to buy a turkey. If you wanted to offer yours, I would take you up on it, but I don't need one."

Then later, I decided to suggest that she consider cooking it for Christmas, and bringing it to DH's mom's house (where we celebrate). My MIL has stated that she can't cook as much as she used to--she's getting old.

Venus193

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #110 on: November 08, 2013, 09:55:43 PM »
Great idea.

Many years ago I used to get turkeys at Thanksgiving.  The thing was they were never large enough for the family gathering so... that was how I learned how to prepare a turkey.

kareng57

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #111 on: November 08, 2013, 10:48:11 PM »
I just bought one--it arrived today.


I'm worried about opening the oven door. Bcs the plan when I bought my oven years ago was to get one big enough to put several dishes in at once.

I guess I could add the other dishes when I rotate the bird.

Word of advice.  Don't interfere with the cooking of turkey.   If you have done everything ahead and it needs reheating, take out of fridge in plenty of time so they aren't too cold.  They can sit outside the fridge for a couple hours so they don't take too long to reheat. Once the bird is out, then put all the sides in the oven.   Cover bird tightly with heavy duty foil to let it rest at least 30 to 45 mins.  It will stay hot if you cover enough.   If you add the sides while the turkey is cooking, you will add more time to everything.  The bird will take longer and the sides will too.  Carve after it sits and don't peek while it rests.  The time it takes to carve and rest should be plenty for your sides if you place them properly in the oven. 


This is wise advice.  What sides were you going to have?


Also, I cook my turkey breast down, so I have to rotate it.  However that is advanced turkey cookery and I don't recommend trying it until you've master the technique on a chicken first*.  You can, however, deploy the foil covering of the breast maneuver approximately 30 min into cooking

*I will not be responsible for the tale of the time the turkey bounced out of the window.  Or the tale of pouring hot turkey juice down your arm and onto your leg



I too agree - the turkey has to rest for awhile before you start carving it, and that's about the same time as it takes to cook the side dishes.  Again, I'm a big fan of make-aheads such as mashed-potatoes, vegetable casseroles etc.  I always found the turkey to be the easiest; the beat-the-clock side dishes were always the most difficult.

sparksals

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #112 on: November 08, 2013, 11:43:44 PM »
I do the same, Karen.  I don't see how people are able to throw together all the side dishes while the turkey is cooking.  I make all the sides the day before.  Makes Turkey day so much easier.

Dindrane

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #113 on: November 08, 2013, 11:48:59 PM »
I do the same, Karen.  I don't see how people are able to throw together all the side dishes while the turkey is cooking.  I make all the sides the day before.  Makes Turkey day so much easier.

I do it out of necessity, but try to keep them relatively simple. My fridge simply isn't big enough to prep as much as I want to in advance, not until I get the turkey out of it for cooking. I can't store the turkey anywhere else, either, since I live in a small apartment and don't have room for something like a cooler that would only ever be used for Thanksgiving turkey storage.

It does help that the Alton Brown brined turkey recipe I use calls for putting the turkey in the oven and then basically not touching it until it's done, though. That gives a good couple of hours where I can do other things and not have to actively focus on the turkey.

It also helps a ton that my husband and I pretty evenly split the cooking duties in our house (and if anything, he does more of it). I'm more familiar with some of the dishes we eat at Thanksgiving, but having us both working on all the dishes means they go faster.


blarg314

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #114 on: November 09, 2013, 12:26:38 AM »

One thing to remember for turkey, too - you should always let the turkey rest for at least 10 minutes after removing it from the oven, but before carving it. After you take roasts off the heat (or steak, for that matter), the juices get reabsorbed into the meat and the temperature rises by several degrees. If you cut them immediately, the juices can run out, and the meat gets dry.

I saw the Alton brown turkey episode - it might be a lovely recipe, but I was aghast at a turkey method that produced neither stuffing nor gravy, because as far as I'm concerned the main purpose of a turkey is to produce stuffing, gravy and turkey stock (plus some nice crispy skin). That's why I don't brine - it means you can't use the pan juices for gravy, or stuff the turkey, without it getting too salty.

PastryGoddess

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #115 on: November 09, 2013, 12:37:23 AM »
The time the turkey bounced out of the window.


I went to culinary school in chicago.  For my first Thanksgiving there, I decided not to go home, since I had just been home for a funeral in October and was planning on going back for Xmas.  I had roommates, but they all went home for the holiday's leaving me alone in the apartment.  So I invited all of the other orphaned culinary students over to help celebrate Thanksgiving.  Now, my apartment was actually a duplex that was split vertically down the middle.  We lived in the front apartment.  Our kitchen had a door to the back stairway and outside and had a window that overlooked the fire escape.  Said window was above the counter that held the oven.  It got hot, so we often had the window and screen open to help vent the kitchen


Now one thing you have to understand is that in culinary school, you take classes in order.  So first you start with knife skills, then you move to soups and sauces, salads, and then you graduate to poultry, fish, and meat classes.  Since I had just started school, I had not yet taken a fish and poultry class, so my colleague Josh volunteered to cook the turkey as he had passed that class and moved on to the next level.


I invited everyone over for brunch and to spend the day watching the football game and/or play games.  Our kitchen was actually pretty large because we were in a duplex.  Most people showed up around between 11 and noon.  By about 1pm there were 3 of us in the kitchen preparing side dishes, bread, etc.  We were also using this time to work on our skills and compare techniques.  Josh showed up around 2 or 3 and immediately asked us all to vacate the kitchen so he could get the turkey and stuffing in the oven.  One of the other guys was in the middle of making the stuffing with his mom's recipe and spoke up.  Josh basically told him that his stuffing wasn't welcome and probably wouldn't taste very good either.  We were all a bit taken a back and probably should have invited him to leave, but we were stupid college students with no spines.  Eventually we found space for Josh at the island where he proceeded to contaminate the entire surface with turkey juice. Efforts to get him to clean up were met with a sneer.


So finally the turkey goes in the oven breast down.  This was the first time I'd seen this, but I didn't feel like dealing with Josh's attitude so I didn't ask why he was cooking it like that.  After he put the turkey in the oven, he sat down with a beer and refused to help with anything else.  He did however, have opinions about everything and everyone, and was not shy about airing said opinions at the top of his lungs.  About 2 hours into the roasting, the timer goes off.  So Josh jumps up and informs us that he's about to rotate the turkey. Having never seen a turkey cooked this way, all of us were in and around the kitchen watching. 


  • Out comes the upside down turkey in the pan
  • Onto the counter it goes next to the open window
  • Josh grabs the turkey in both hands and starts to rotate it
  • 350 degree turkey juice runs onto his hand and down his arm
  • Screaming and cursing ensues
  • DROP! goes the greasy turkey onto the counter
  • SLIDE! goes the greasy turkey towards the window
  • Cue from everyone watching
Unfortunately the window sill wasn't high enough and the turkey hit it and flipped out the window.  Silence reigned for about 5 seconds and then everyone dropped to the floor laughing.  Poor Josh was moaning about his arm, the turkey was out on the fire escape landing and we couldn't stop laughing.  Eventually someone went outside and rescued the poor turkey.  It was cool by then so we washed off the dirt as much as possible and put it back in the oven.  It probably took another 2 hours to cook but it was the funniest thing ever.  So now "Save the turkey!!!" is an inside joke for those of us who were there.  Josh sulked for the rest of the night and left instead of staying the night like everyone else. 


And that is the story of the time the turkey bounced out of the window


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Venus193

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #116 on: November 09, 2013, 08:43:19 AM »
Karma got him, that's for sure.

A friend of mine had no family occasion one Thanksgiving so she invited me for the Black Friday (Neither of us shops on that day).  She bought the 11-lb turkey on the previous Monday.

She left it in the freezer until Thursday at midnight.

I spent the better part of three hours running cold water over the turkey, inside and out, so it could go into the oven at 3PM.  She also had no sense of time about preparing side dishes to be ready at the same time, so I had to manage that as well.  It was a challenge for me because she had an electric stove, which I am not accustomed to.

Somehow the food ended up tasting good, but this experience is why I usually prefer to have the kitchen to myself.

TootsNYC

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #117 on: November 09, 2013, 08:47:00 AM »
Quote

That's why I don't brine - it means you can't use the pan juices for gravy, or stuff the turkey, without it getting too salty.


Is this true?

TootsNYC

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #118 on: November 09, 2013, 08:50:17 AM »
Re: the thawing of the turkey:


It is only in the last 2 years that I have started to see advice that says, "It can take DAYS for your turkey to thaw in the refrigerator." One of the times I made turkey, everything I found said "move it to the fridge the night before."

PastryGoddess

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #119 on: November 09, 2013, 10:56:23 AM »
Quote

That's why I don't brine - it means you can't use the pan juices for gravy, or stuff the turkey, without it getting too salty.


Is this true?

I haven't found this to be the case.  When we brined the year before last the turkey drippings were perfectly fine. 
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