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Old 12-21-2006, 04:36 PM   #1
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First time cooking a turkey, need help!

My boyfriend received a turkey from his company, sort of a british tradition I'm told. ANyways, neither of us have EVER cooked a whole frozen turkey..tips please

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Old 12-21-2006, 05:32 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mk3_gurl
My boyfriend received a turkey from his company, sort of a british tradition I'm told. ANyways, neither of us have EVER cooked a whole frozen turkey..tips please
Start thawing it in the refrigerator right now.


Christmas morning, remove the giblets from the main cavity and from the front flap of skin where the neck would be.
LIberally sprinkle salt and pepper all over it. Put on a rack and roast @ 350*. How big is it?
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Old 12-21-2006, 05:34 PM   #3
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First of all, the bird will have to be thawed before it is introduced to the oven. Depending on the size of the turkey, it can take several days - in the refrigerator - to defrost. Decide when you want to serve it. That is, Christmas Eve or Christmas day. Then work backwards from there for the timing to get it thawed.

Then, are you going to cook it with stuffing inside or nothing inside except some seasonings, etc.? If you are going to cook it stuffed, you should stuff it just before you are going to cook it to ensure that you don't invite any germy critters to your nice holiday meal.

Now do a "search" on this site and learn lots, lots more. You'll do just fine.
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Old 12-21-2006, 05:35 PM   #4
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Most turkeys sold in North America have instructions on the packaging. that's a really good start. As Katie said, we have lots of posts on the subject.
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Old 12-21-2006, 06:07 PM   #5
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We can give you a lot of advice but I believe turkeys are a popular Christmas dinner item in the UK. Would also ask a friend for some pointers.

As Cando said, start thawing it in the fridge right now, if you want to eat it on Christmas.

Depending upon the size of the bird and your refrigerator's temp, it will take a variable amount of time to thaw.

It will probably be done by Monday, and if it is thawed earlier should be fine.

There are many ways to roast a bird, and have tried many of them.

Would find a good recipe, DC is a good place, and try it.

Always prefer cooking with stuffing inside the bird, but if not would add a bit of citrus and onions.
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Old 12-21-2006, 07:46 PM   #6
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Ok cause on the back,( you guys were right, there are instructions) it says to allow 5 hours, and here everyone is saying days....so the answer is....???
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Old 12-21-2006, 07:52 PM   #7
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That may mean if you set it on the counter to thaw; I would thaw it in the fridge. How much does the turkey weigh?
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Old 12-21-2006, 08:22 PM   #8
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There is usually ice inside that keeps it from thawing real fast. Five hours seems like the water method where you put it in a large pot of cold water and wait. It doesn't work very well. There are hotlines posted on some turkey wrappers. They are very helpful.
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Old 12-21-2006, 11:00 PM   #9
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These people Butterball | Thanksgiving Holiday Guide will tell you everything you need to know about cooking a turkey.
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Old 12-21-2006, 11:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mk3_gurl
Ok cause on the back,( you guys were right, there are instructions) it says to allow 5 hours, and here everyone is saying days....so the answer is....???
That probably means 5 hours per pound to thaw in the fridge.
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Old 12-22-2006, 01:50 PM   #11
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Andy M. gave you the right answer ... 5 hours PER POUND in the refrigerator (assuming it's at 40F/4.4C).

Here is a Turkey Thawing Guide from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that explains the safe methods and gives you some time tables to help yoiu decide which method to use.

If I'm thawing in the fridge I plan on 6 hours per pound - and if using the cold water method I plan on about 40 minutes per pound.

If there is still ice inside the bird when thawed I never stuff it with dressing ... this prolongs the cooking even more than stuffing a fully thawed bird and can cause the turkey to get dry.
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Old 12-22-2006, 05:29 PM   #12
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You never know exactly what you got until you open the bag. After a day or so in the refrigerator, I remove the bag, rinse and remove as much ice as possible and possibly the giblet bags. There is a lot of ice under those wings and around the thigh next to the bird itself. I cover it tightly in plastic wrap and/or foil and put it back in the refrigerator in a tray to catch any leaks.
If you remove the skin from a turkey or chicken it is much easier when it is very cold. Do not roast these guys.
The worst dry bird I ever had was one that I stuffed with a potato based stuffing. And the stuffing was real bad too.
I marinated some leftover turkey this year after Thanksgiving and heated the turkey in a skillet. The flavor was intense but interesting.
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Old 12-22-2006, 05:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StirBlue
If you remove the skin from a turkey or chicken it is much easier when it is very cold.
Stir, I can't think of why this would be a good idea.
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Old 12-22-2006, 05:47 PM   #14
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Defrost it first. You could go all out and brine it for a day or two, or you could simply roast it when it defrosts. More than likely there are roasting tips right on the package.
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Old 12-22-2006, 06:23 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by mudbug
Stir, I can't think of why this would be a good idea.
The skin is stiffer when it is cold, same as cutting cold bacon. As I peel it back from the bird, I use a knife and cut the connective tissue. At room temperature the skin is greasy and slippery. There is less likelyhood of bruising the bird.

I cook a lot of turkey year round; probably once a month would be my average. While you might buy a larger turkey during the holidays, my turkey cooking otherwise is a about 8-10 lbs. I cook it different for one season than another.
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Old 12-23-2006, 07:58 AM   #16
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Here are my few suggestions. Read up on brining, a lot of ppl swear by it but I haven't done it yet. I was kind of worried about soaking a turkey that already contained a "solution". I'm the wrong guy to ask about that part, but you should read up on it.

I've got my own little method that works well for me. Lots of foil. I do this for two reasons. It seems to protect the outside of the bird and helps retain some moisture. I tend to cook mine longer and at lower temp (325 F). I specifically do this cause I want my turkey broth to cook and get a little color to it. I'm all about the T gravy. I lay out really long strips of foil and lay them over one another at different angles... kinda like an asterisk. Once I've got enough I lay my tom turkey in the middle and pull the lengths of the foil up around and scrunch it together at the top (part of the idea is to have enough foil up there so when it's bunched together, you can actually pick the turkey, foil and all up by it. Once you've done that, go ahead and pick it up by the foil and have somebody stab several little holes or slices in the bottom of the foil (this allows all the broth to run out of the foil when picked up and into the roasting pan, ready to make gravy with). The foil serves as a tool of conveniece and helps to cook it.

I season mine with salt, tellicherry pepper and LOTS of butter. I think ppl usually cook them breast side up, but I actually did the hassle of turning it once throughout the cooking this year.
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Old 12-23-2006, 01:29 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StirBlue
The skin is stiffer when it is cold, same as cutting cold bacon. As I peel it back from the bird, I use a knife and cut the connective tissue. At room temperature the skin is greasy and slippery. There is less likelyhood of bruising the bird.
But why remove the skin at all. It is the best part!!! "Bruising the bird"? Don't understand that!! ;o)

And when I do remove skin from chicken or poultry, I find it easier to do when not frozen==just pull it straight off.
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Old 12-23-2006, 06:28 PM   #18
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[quote=Candocook]
Quote:
Originally Posted by StirBlue
The skin is stiffer when it is cold, same as cutting cold bacon. As I peel it back from the bird, I use a knife and cut the connective tissue. At room temperature the skin is greasy and slippery. There is less likelyhood of bruising the bird.

But why remove the skin at all. It is the best part!!! "Bruising the bird"? Don't understand that!! ;o)

And when I do remove skin from chicken or poultry, I find it easier to do when not frozen==just pull it straight off.
How did you get frozen out of cold? I cook turkey year round. I have mega recipes. I make "cracklins" with the skin. What's your method of getting that skin off? Yes, I roast with the skin on. I let the drippings cool and scrape off the fat and use the jelled for sauces. I use the fat for potatoes and stuffings that call for oil or butter. It adds a nice flavor.
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Old 12-23-2006, 11:29 PM   #19
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Others had the same question of why remove the turkey skin (Mudbug, above) I guess we just miscommunicated. I think your second post will be more helpful to the first timer cooking a turkey since the skin of a roast turkey is quite delicious, and necessary, in my opinion for moistness.
And yes, I also use the separated drippings to a) use the fat to make a roux for turkey gravy and b) use the drippings to add to the roux for the gravy.
What's your method of getting that skin off?

I don't take the skin off turkey, but as I said, when taking the skin off chicken, I just hold the piece of chicken in one hand ( the right one) and pull the skin away from the meat with the left one, having gotten my fingers between skin and flesh to get a grip. I do this also for duck, which I do remove skin in order to render the fat for cassoulet and cracklings.
I would love to do chicken skin cracklings, but just can't afford the calories/fat, etc.
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