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TURKEY PREPARATION

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

My question is: We are having about 19 people over for the Canadian Thanksgiving.  Do I buy and prepare a

20 pound turkey or two 10 pound turkeys?  Secondly, I want to cut up the turkey(s) the day before the actual

dinner to make it easier to serve.  How do I heat up meat? Finally, if someone will provide me with the answers

where on this site do I go to read the answer?

post #2 of 6

I'd go with the 20 pound turkey as its easier to source. At least I don't recall seeing a whole turkey under 12 pounds. 12-14 pounds tend to be hens, 18+ toms. 

 

When you get into the large birds, cooking them evenly gets tricky. So much so that if you stuff them, you're more likely to have salmonella issues. 

 

The last while, I've taken to a disassembled technique which works well with a large bird. It's a little more work in sectioning the bird but the results are quite good.  I talk about it in this turkey thread.  Read the Washington Post link there which will detail the prep. 

 

This year, the video is on youtube, which is very helpful to watch.

 

 

Part II

 

This is easier to carve being all disassembled as well.

 

Half the point of roasting a large bird is the presentation and carving at the table. I don't think the meal will benefit from a reheated bird. If you cover the bird when you take it out of the oven and let it rest, It will stay warm for a quite a while so there's really no need for a crazed last minute rush to get the bird out and carve it. Remove, rest, wait as needed while you take care of everything else.  Carve, cover, wait, uncover serve.   If you desperately need more time between roasting the bird and carving. you can put it an insulated "ice chest" where it's own heat will serve to make a warm holding chest instead. 

 

I'm more inclined to make other things the day ahead and reheat them. Dressing, mashed potatoes, breads all reheat better and more easily than carved turkey. 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 6
You want to cook the bird the day before, cut it up and serve it the next day? That's like serving leftovers, please don't do that.

Getting 2 smaller birds is a good idea because I find that the smaller they are the tastier they are. I don't know if you can find 10lb turkeys but you never know. The point is, if you're going to cut it up anyway what's the point of having a gigantic turkey? Personally, I don't like carving at the table, it's clumsy and usually the carver isn't even doing a good job. If you want to cook the turkeys whole then pass them around at the start of dinner so everyone can see your creation and then whisk it off to the kitchen to do the prep work.

The best way to cook turkey is to cut it up in parts. That way you can remove the breast when it is done and continue cooking the dark meat that needs more cooking time.

To save time, choose other dishes that can be cooked the day before, or ahead of time. Allow the oven to exist only for the turkey that day. Other types of dishes can be made on the stove top or even the outdoor grill. But don't precook the turkey and serve it the next day, this pretty much guarantees a dried out bird.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

I posted a question about turkey (the bird) the other day and I got a number of replies.  Thank you all for the suggestions and the help.

 

Ira Katzin

post #5 of 6

While I didn't touch on amounts, 1/2 pound of bird/person (includes bone,skin and other waste weight) will give everyone a good serving. If you want any leftovers, figure 1 pound/person.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ikatzin View Post
 

I want to cut up the turkey(s) the day before the actual

dinner to make it easier to serve.  How do I heat up meat?

 

Re-heated turkey tastes nasty. Either carve it just before serving, or serve it cold IMO. 

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