Let’s talk turkey. On a greater scale, let’s talk logistics for the big day. While I have never hosted Thanksgiving (please don’t crucify me), I have made a Thanksgiving dinner for the two of us on other days because we love Thanksgiving and want the leftovers. I also want to be prepared for the day that I do host Thanksgiving!
We tend to get the frozen turkey from the grocery store (because we buy so much that we get a free one) and the thawing definitely comes into play. Also, I only use the Alton Brown turkey recipe. It is the BEST! It uses a brine which adds even more time to the lead time on Mr. Turkey. So I work backwards.
What time do you want to eat Thanksgiving? Count 5 hours backwards from that as a general time to put that turkey in the oven. Count 16 more hours for the brine. Then count 24 hours for every 4 pounds to thaw that sucker in the fridge. The USDA gives this nice guideline:
- 4 to 12 pounds …… 1 to 3 days
- 12 to 16 pounds …… 3 to 4 days
- 16 to 20 pounds …… 4 to 5 days
- 20 to 24 pounds …… 5 to 6 days
From my experience, it takes FOREVER to thaw. But it is so important that you allow this to happen so you don’t have the dreaded cooked on the outside, frozen on the inside turkey situation.
I would highly recommend watching Alton’s videos since it is a method I have used numerous times with fantastic results: tender, flavorful turkey!!
More controversially, Mr. Brown has some strong opinions on stuffing inside the bird. I grew up on stuffing inside the bird and it does taste amazing. However, it results in a dry bird. In order to get that stuffing to a safe temperature, you overcook that bird. I tested it. It’s true. Now, it is all about priorities. Do you care about stuffing in the bird or the bird itself? I am a turkey person. You decide for yourself!!
Tomorrow, I will regale you with a list of fabulous Thanksgiving recipes that I love.