Author Topic: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?  (Read 14165 times)

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sparksals

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #135 on: November 11, 2013, 01:37:12 PM »
Here is a conversion from Butterball that shows you how long a turkey takes to thaw in the fridge or in the sink in cold water.   You can enter the weight and it will tell you by each method.


http://www.butterball.com/calculators-and-conversions


Toots - Have you thought of having your oven checked and calibrated?  We go to a friend's house for TG the last two years, this year will be the third.  The last two years, even after her turkey was in the oven at the correct time adn temp, it still wasn't done.  Now, she could have put it in with a bit of ice still in the cavity ... I don't know, but she is doing a smaller turkey this year b/c she has discoverd for some reason, her oven can't handle a large turkey.  I have the same model as her and mine does it no problem.  So, it might behoove you to get your temp sensors etc. checked out. 


Stuffing the bird will add  more time, especially if packed too tightly, as you discovered.  You only need a few chunks of onion, celery, carrots, you could even put in a sliced apple.  Key is to ensure the ice is out of the cavity ... aka completely thawed.  If it is still a bit icy in the morning, run steady stream of slow cold water into the cavity until it thaws.  Do not place in oven even a bit frozen.  Make sure it is completely thawed before putting in oven. 


Here are some pics of where to insert the thermometer.   Some pics are downright incorrect.  Here is a drawing of where it is supposed to go:[size=78%]https://www.google.com/search?q=where+to+insert+thermometer+in+Turkey&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS430US482&espv=210&es_sm=122&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=XR-BUsjNEMHayAHP-IEY&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1680&bih=865#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=7Zw2hUyHrRw7gM%3A%3BjdeMIWYNHzZ5zM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fww1.hdnux.com%252Fphotos%252F12%252F05%252F04%252F2642212%252F6%252F628x471.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.sfgate.com%252Fnews%252Farticle%252FChronicle-Classic-Best-Way-Brined-Turkey-2466350.php%3B399%3B471[/size]


Here is a good image of where exactly to put the thermometer:  [/size][size=78%]https://www.google.com/search?q=where+to+insert+thermometer+in+Turkey&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS430US482&espv=210&es_sm=122&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=XR-BUsjNEMHayAHP-IEY&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1680&bih=865#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=x5aeMud1T0rwmM%3A%3BkHGMdG6y-USK8M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252F2.bp.blogspot.com%252F-YLIVCz8x1ao%252FTvFmVG9rb3I%252FAAAAAAAADks%252F5rW7I4LrgfM%252Fs1600%252Fturkey%252Bdima.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.dimasharif.com%252F2011%252F12%252Fapple-brined-turkey-recipe-you-will-be.html%3B1600%3B667[/size]


This photo is WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!  DO NOT PUT IN THE UPPER BREAST LIKE PICTURED HERE:


https://www.google.com/search?q=where+to+insert+thermometer+in+Turkey&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS430US482&espv=210&es_sm=122&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=XR-BUsjNEMHayAHP-IEY&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1680&bih=865#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=p0645c8Dboy_JM%3A%3BjDBDWPeUcLlJRM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.firepit-and-grilling-guru.com%252Fimages%252Fmeat-thermometer-2.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.firepit-and-grilling-guru.com%252Fmeat-thermometer.html%3B400%3B268


Here is a great recipe for turkey stock:  [/size][size=78%]http://www.food.com/recipe/rescued-turkey-stock-24576[/size]   I tried stock many times and it never came out right before I tried this recipe.  It was always a murky grey colour with zip flavour.  Around this time of year, I start saving the clippings of all my veggies, bagged salad etc and put in ziploc bag in freezer.  The onion skin is what gives the stock the nice colour.  I save the bottoms and tops of celery, carrot peel, asparagus ends, any type of veggie, except potato peel b/c it makes the stock starchy.  Get in the habit of saving all your clippings instead of pitching or garburating them.  When I prepare dinner, I bring out my ziploc from the freezer and just add to it and back it goes.  I also wouldn't use strong tasting veggies like turnip. .. it overpowers the taste of the stock.  Following this method, you will have a wonderful turkey stock that is highly concentrated.  I usually let it reduce by at least 1/3 to 1/2 and then put in one or two cup containers in my freezer... or ziploc bags and lay flat.  Then, when I need, I dilute about 2/3 stock 1/3 water. 


LOTS of pepper and a decent amount of salt is key for gravy not being bland.  Put some veggies in the bottom of your turkey pan before you put in the oven, surround it by onions, carrots, celery... add some canned or container stock or water.  While the turkey is cooking, keep adding fluid to the pan.  You don't want the drippings to be mostly fat.  The juices, stock and veggies will blend and help make a more flavourful gravy.  You can also take the gizards, giblets, etc, put in a small pot of water, simmer for several minutes , strain and let cool, skim the fat and you can add this to your gravy pan as well for additional flavour. 


Here is the recipe I discovered a few years ago.  I never had luck with gravy and after finding this, it turns out great!  Get as many pan juices out of the turkey when it comes out of the oven and put in the fridge to allow the fat to settle.  It doesn't take long.. just make sure to let it cool a bit outside the fridge before you put it in.. don't want shattered container in your fridge with all that grease!

TootsNYC

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #136 on: November 11, 2013, 03:03:13 PM »
Quote
Toots - Have you thought of having your oven checked and calibrated?  We go to a friend's house for TG the last two years, this year will be the third.  The last two years, even after her turkey was in the oven at the correct time adn temp, it still wasn't done.  Now, she could have put it in with a bit of ice still in the cavity ... I don't know, but she is doing a smaller turkey this year b/c she has discoverd for some reason, her oven can't handle a large turkey.  I have the same model as her and mine does it no problem.  So, it might behoove you to get your temp sensors etc. checked out. 


No, the problem w/ last year's turkey was that I chose the wrong temp to set my oven at.

When I cooked the chicken, the thermometer indicated it was done at almost exactly at the same time that all the charts said.

Not that calibrating an oven isn't a worthwhile thing, but I have no reason to think that mine is way off. (and now that I'm not really going to bake my trademark choc.chip cookies, it wouldn't throw stuff off too much if I tweaked it)

Arila

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #137 on: November 11, 2013, 04:52:39 PM »
Inspired by this thread, I bought a Practice Turkey last week and plan to roast it some time this week (to check cooking/thawing time)

Bonus, I don't have to do HUGE turkeys, I will save some slices of this turkey in the freezer to fill out our meal.

sparksals

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #138 on: November 12, 2013, 02:26:58 PM »
Quote
Toots - Have you thought of having your oven checked and calibrated?  We go to a friend's house for TG the last two years, this year will be the third.  The last two years, even after her turkey was in the oven at the correct time adn temp, it still wasn't done.  Now, she could have put it in with a bit of ice still in the cavity ... I don't know, but she is doing a smaller turkey this year b/c she has discoverd for some reason, her oven can't handle a large turkey.  I have the same model as her and mine does it no problem.  So, it might behoove you to get your temp sensors etc. checked out. 


No, the problem w/ last year's turkey was that I chose the wrong temp to set my oven at.

When I cooked the chicken, the thermometer indicated it was done at almost exactly at the same time that all the charts said.

Not that calibrating an oven isn't a worthwhile thing, but I have no reason to think that mine is way off. (and now that I'm not really going to bake my trademark choc.chip cookies, it wouldn't throw stuff off too much if I tweaked it)


Does your oven have its own built in probe? 


As for your chicken, I wonder if you possibly put the thermometer too close to the bone.  That would give a false done temp.   Were you using a turkey chart for the chicken? I don't think they would work the same way since chickens are typically smaller. 

PastryGoddess

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #139 on: November 12, 2013, 02:40:27 PM »
Poultry is all cooked to the same temperature whether it's chicken, turkey, duck, or game fowl

TootsNYC

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #140 on: November 12, 2013, 02:43:17 PM »

Does your oven have its own built in probe? 


Nope, I bought a separate probe.

Quote
As for your chicken, I wonder if you possibly put the thermometer too close to the bone.  That would give a false done temp.   Were you using a turkey chart for the chicken? I don't think they would work the same way since chickens are typically smaller.

I really don't think it was too close to the bone. Plus, the outer parts of the chicken "felt" right, and the breast was overdone later. So I think it was done right at the first beep, and that I put too much stuff in the cavity, so that cooking couldn't go from the inside out as well.

I didn't use any chart--I used the "safe temperature" target from a chicken recipe--which is, not surprisingly, the same "safe temperature" for turkey. 165 degrees.

peaches

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #141 on: November 12, 2013, 03:03:35 PM »
Inspired by this thread, I bought a Practice Turkey last week and plan to roast it some time this week (to check cooking/thawing time)

Bonus, I don't have to do HUGE turkeys, I will save some slices of this turkey in the freezer to fill out our meal.

You could also use the drippings from your practice turkey to make gravy ahead of time, and store it in the freezer for Thanksgiving. (Or, freeze the drippings and make gravy closer to Thanksgiving.)

Arila

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #142 on: November 12, 2013, 04:29:43 PM »
Inspired by this thread, I bought a Practice Turkey last week and plan to roast it some time this week (to check cooking/thawing time)

Bonus, I don't have to do HUGE turkeys, I will save some slices of this turkey in the freezer to fill out our meal.

You could also use the drippings from your practice turkey to make gravy ahead of time, and store it in the freezer for Thanksgiving. (Or, freeze the drippings and make gravy closer to Thanksgiving.)

FANTASTIC! Our kitchen is a bit tight, so if I don't have to be in there frantically trying to make gravy while hubby carves, then so much the better (We get along much better when we aren't both trying to occupy the same space while concentrating;)

Lynnv

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #143 on: November 12, 2013, 05:15:07 PM »
Inspired by this thread, I bought a Practice Turkey last week and plan to roast it some time this week (to check cooking/thawing time)

Bonus, I don't have to do HUGE turkeys, I will save some slices of this turkey in the freezer to fill out our meal.

You could also use the drippings from your practice turkey to make gravy ahead of time, and store it in the freezer for Thanksgiving. (Or, freeze the drippings and make gravy closer to Thanksgiving.)

FANTASTIC! Our kitchen is a bit tight, so if I don't have to be in there frantically trying to make gravy while hubby carves, then so much the better (We get along much better when we aren't both trying to occupy the same space while concentrating;)

I highly recommend this as well.  I usually have the gravy made a good hour or so ahead of the meal.  It just sits in a crockpot until time to serve.  I add a little cream near the end to make it really rich-but otherwise, it can crock away for several hours as long as you are willing to tweak things to get the right consistency-and I am since it is much easier than last minute gravy making.
Lynn

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sparksals

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #144 on: November 13, 2013, 02:02:45 AM »
Poultry is all cooked to the same temperature whether it's chicken, turkey, duck, or game fowl

Yes but a chicken typically isn't as big as a TG turkey so the cook times don't really apply.   I would do about 20 mins per pound for a chicken.  Never seen charts for them like Turkey bc of the size difference. 

PastryGoddess

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #145 on: November 13, 2013, 04:15:12 AM »
Poultry is all cooked to the same temperature whether it's chicken, turkey, duck, or game fowl

Yes but a chicken typically isn't as big as a TG turkey so the cook times don't really apply.   I would do about 20 mins per pound for a chicken.  Never seen charts for them like Turkey bc of the size difference. 

Toots was using a probe thermometer, so consulting a cooking time chart doesn't apply because poultry is all cooked to the same temperature of 165F.  When using a probe thermometer, you don't set a timer, you set a temperature.  However long the bird takes to cook is however long it takes to cook.  Sure you can estimate how long it should take to cook, but you don't take it out until the thermometer has gone off.

Dindrane

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #146 on: November 13, 2013, 08:37:14 AM »
Part of the reason I never put stuffing in my turkey (or in roast chickens) is because of the problem that Toots had. When you have no airflow at all in the cavity, it's super hard to cook the entire thing to the correct temperature without overcooking the breast meat. It's a pretty easy fix to just put less in the cavity, and at least in the meantime.

I often use dry and/or overcooked chicken for casseroles or chicken salads or other applications where it's covered in sauce or similar. It generally tastes better, and the sauce makes it so the dryness doesn't matter (especially if you shred it). Since my husband and I generally have to freeze some of our leftover turkey (there are only two of us, after all), we usually end up having at least one turkey casserole with the leftovers. :)


lowspark

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #147 on: November 13, 2013, 10:15:53 AM »
I'm another one who never has put the stuffing into the turkey. It's just so much easier to deal with all around if you cook it separately. I do boil the extra bits (heart, neck, etc.) and pour the resulting water, plus some of the actual turkey drippings after it comes out of the oven, over the stuffing before baking it to give it that turkey flavor.

My stuffing goes in the oven almost immediately after the turkey comes out. It bakes for an hour, about the time it takes for the turkey to rest and get carved.

I know what you mean about the turkey being cold if you carve it all up before serving, but there's just no way I'm going to carve at the table or finish up carving after I've eaten that heavy meal. So I do carve it all up at once, then serve it. Once you pour the warm gravy over it, no one ever knows it was ever cold.

TootsNYC

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #148 on: November 13, 2013, 10:55:29 AM »
Quote
I do boil the extra bits (heart, neck, etc.) and pour the resulting water, plus some of the actual turkey drippings after it comes out of the oven, over the stuffing before baking it to give it that turkey flavor.


One of the cousins is bringing the stuffing, since that keeps all the breadcrumbs out of my mostly-gluten-free kitchen (I could make stuffing w/ gluten-free bread, but I think people will enjoy the real kind better, plus it lets her contribute).

I was thinking at first I'd mention it to her, offering to loan her the drippings. But it depends on gravy.

Thanks for the reminder about casseroles and chicken salad, Dindrane.

(and yes, I was using a probe, so was going by temp--but anyway, the *chicken* recipe I was using gave a list of times based on weight, and my probe went off right about the time that the chicken recipe estimated.)


Re: the turkey, and letting it sit, carving it, etc:

It's not cold. It's just "no longer hot." So yes, w/ warm gravy especially, it's still good.

lowspark

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #149 on: November 13, 2013, 11:02:48 AM »
Re: the turkey, and letting it sit, carving it, etc:

It's not cold. It's just "no longer hot." So yes, w/ warm gravy especially, it's still good.

Right you are. It really isn't cold. Which is why when you top it with gravy, it warms right back up.