Much to the dismay of the Turkey Farmers of Canada , I only prepare turkey twice a year. And every year, I scratch my head and think “How the heck do I do this again?” Here’s the 411 on what you need to know. Don’t worry, we won’t be insulted if you promptly forget all of this information on Boxing Day.
You will need 1 pound of turkey per adult and 1/2 pound per kid (this will leave you with enough leftovers for sandwiches the next day.)
If you purchased a frozen unstuffed turkey, the safest way to thaw it is in your refrigerator. It will need 5 hours per pound to fully thaw. Once it is thawed you must cook it within 48 hours. If you purchased a frozen stuffed turkey, do not thaw it -- you must cook it from it’s frozen state.
First step: Remove the giblets and neck from the cavity of the bird. Rinse and wipe the cavity out, then pat the outside of the turkey dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then place the turkey breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan -- I recommend using a disposable pan placed on a cookie sheet for easier post-feast clean-up. Brush the turkey with melted butter and then cover loosely with foil.
Turkey Farmers of Canada recommends cooking a whole turkey to an internal temperature of 170 degrees F (77 degrees C) in the breast and 180 degrees F (82 degrees C) in the thigh. You will need a meat thermometer to ensure your turkey has reached the correct temperature. Make sure you insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, but be careful not to let it touch the bone. When cooked to perfection, the turkey meat and juices may have a slightly pink tinge.
Let the bird stand for 15 to 20 minutes before carving. Then find your Uncle Gus and ask him to carve the turkey for you. If your Uncle Gus isn’t available, then carve the turkey in this order: 1. Remove drumstick and thigh. 2. Remove the wishbone (this will make it easier to carve the breast meat). 3. Remove the turkey breasts. 4. Remove the wings. 5. Slice the thigh meat. 6. Slice the breast meat. 7. Serve!
Remember: It's just a big bird. Avoid Turkey Day anxiety! Read on for expert tips for getting your best bird on the table.