It always seems buying the turkey isn’t the hard part, but when it comes to storing, thawing, and prepping the turkey we could all use some reminders.
To begin… If you find a turkey you like, buy it because I can’t tell you how many times I thought I’d have more time to get my turkey, and then I go back and no turkey, no turkey the size I want, one year the store I went to had gotten no large turkeys no turkey in the 20-24lb range, I bought two smaller turkeys and was happy to have roasted them side by side in the oven, but if you want a certain size bird, if you see it… get it.
Did you know frozen turkeys can stay in the freezer for 2 years!
That being said, remember you don’t have to wait for a major holiday to serve a turkey.
When you buy a frozen turkey you’ll get it home and either one of three things.
- Determine if you’ll keep it frozen (as mentioned you can keep a turkey frozen for 2 years)
- put it in the refrigerator to thaw (it’ll take days to thaw it, 24 hours for every 5 pounds)
- put it in a water bath to thaw it (it’ll take 5 hours for everyone 12-15lbs, complete chart below of thawing times).
I have thawed a 16 lb turkey in water in a cooler in 5 hours. If you’re trying to hurry up thawing in water, change the water out every 30 minutes or so to speed up the process.
If there are portions of the turkey unthawed when you unwrap it to remove the giblets and neck, soak it in cold water for 20 minutes, or longer if needed. Then they’ll be easier to remove.
After thawing, remove plastic wrapping, remove the giblets and neck from both cavities.
Rinse the turkey, pat it dry with paper towels.
Then, place your turkey in the roasting pan,
add butter or oil and seasoning either start roasting turkey, or place it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it.
Be sure to check out my post on how I successfully slow roast turkey and if you’re looking for a faster way to roast a turkey check out my spatchcock turkey.
More Turkey Cooking Tips including brine, deep fry, air fry, electric roaster, and other cooking methods.
Holiday Side dishes including leftover ideas for turkey s well.
It’s perfectly safe to cook a frozen or partially frozen turkey you just need to allow some extra cooking time. So keep this in mind if you’re bird is frozen when you put it in the oven.
Keep the turkey in original plastic wrapping when thawing
In the refrigerator place turkey on the bottom shelf in a tray with an edge on it
In a cooler or a sink that you can put a stopper in to hold the water like a large basin with water to cover the turkey, It will float. You can periodically turn the turkey over to ensure even thawing or place a heavy item on top to weigh it down a bit.
Change water over 30 minutes to see up the thawing process.
It’s important to keep the whole turkey at a safe temperature throughout the thawing process to prevent bacterial growth that can lead to food-borne illness. That’s why you never thaw a frozen turkey at room temperature on your kitchen counter, or in hot water.
A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days before cooking.
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