Need help with cooking a Turkey - Chicagoland Sportbikes
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-12-2007, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Need help with cooking a Turkey

Hey Guys,

So I'm cooking a Turkey this Friday for an early Thanksgiving party and I've never cooked one before. I'm a decent cook, can make chicken curry, follow simple recipes and what not, but I know cooking a Turkey is a bit more serious affair.

I tried to read up on it and I think I have the basics down, but have some specific questions:

- definitely getting a fresh bird instead of frozen, as I dont want to deal with the thawing process. But the frozen Butterball birds say they come with seasoning already applied to the bird? Anyone think this is better than a fresh bird?

- I'm going to bake it, instead of frying and am aiming for moist meat all around. What's the best way to do that? I've read about putting the bird in a cooking bag of sorts or wrapping in Aluminum foil. I also read that brown-bagging (putting the bird in a greased grocery store brown bag) is not really safe for health reasons, but has the best results.

- Stuffing. I know it needs to be pre-cooked before being put in and I've also read that putting stuffing in makes the cooking time longer. Some recipes suggested putting an onion or an orange in the body cavity to add flavor, instead of stuffing and just serve that on the side. Any suggestions?

- Baking process: I think I like the idea of roasting at a high temp like 450F initially for say 30 mins and then slowly cooking at say 300F for 3.5 hours for a 15 lb bird. What do you think?

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-12-2007, 04:18 PM
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Cook the stuffing on the side, it doesnt need to go into the bird.

Now heres a little trick I use that gaurantees moist breasts (yes I giggled when I typed that)

1. Get out a bowl and put half a stick of butter in there, some salt pepper and oregano. stick butter in microwave for a few seconds to soften it. now mix those ingrediants up. next, take butter mixture and get your fingers in it.. (wash your friggin hands first) You want to rub the butter mixture up under the skin from the neck area and the opposite area, the skin will seperate fairly easy and you can get the butter and spices inside almost all the way around the birds body.

Now throw some oranges quartered in the cavity, and put the turkey on a turkey roasting rack and pan UPSIDE down. that is very important, your going to cook the bird tented with some aluminum foil upside down for 70% of it's cooking time basting every 15 minutes or so with it's own juices. when 70% of your time is up take the bird out and gently flip it over right side up. shake some salt, pepper oregano over the bird and put it back in the oven to finish it's cooking time.

you will have a winner here.




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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-12-2007, 04:56 PM
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You'll be well fed this weekend Do what ever the Joy of Cooking tells you to do Jay. I would rub olive oil on the bird....lightly sprinkle with seasoning salt....and sprinkle with cajun spices

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-13-2007, 08:53 AM
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I have yet to eat a baked turkey that even came close to the moistness of a fried turkey. Fried turkey FTW!

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-13-2007, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTony View Post
Now heres a little trick I use that gaurantees moist breasts (yes I giggled when I typed that)
Thanx Tony. I'm going to try and incorporate some of the things you described.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maoisn View Post
I have yet to eat a baked turkey that even came close to the moistness of a fried turkey. Fried turkey FTW!
Man, but to have a huge pot of burning oil seems like a hazard waiting to happen... I'll try the baked route, cooking the turkey in a cooking bag.


One question about the actual baking: I'm going to get a big Aluminum foil baking pan and can the turkey rest right on the foil pan or does it need to rest on a raised grill on the pan? I would think just putting the turkey in the pan might cause the underside to burn...?

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-13-2007, 09:51 AM
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Letting the turkey sit in a brine for a few days will season it all the way through and guarantee moist meat. Making your own brine is easy, it's just salty water with whatever seasoning you like. Brewing your favorite tea than salting it and letting the bird sit in that completely submerged for 2 days minimum will get you some interesting flavors, unbelievable moisture and happy guests.

No turkey that is roasted in the oven will be moist with out brining.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-13-2007, 10:20 AM
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Don't listen to Tony, he's Italian and knows nothing about cooking a bird. Tony, stick to pasta

I like to cook the bird in a roaster oven. That way it frees my oven up for other things. A little trick I learned over the years is to put a slit in the rear of the birds skin. Then shove a stick of butter up to the top of the bird before you cook it. Other than that follow the butterball directions. It usually turns out pretty good.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-13-2007, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
I'd rather be railing :)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. D View Post
No turkey that is roasted in the oven will be moist with out brining.
I read that fresh turkeys shouldn't be brined since they still have a lot of moisture in them. Is that true? It said brining a fresh bird would make the meat too moist.

And do you think cooking it in a bag in an oven would be enough to keep it moist without brining?

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-15-2007, 06:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammin View Post
I read that fresh turkeys shouldn't be brined since they still have a lot of moisture in them. Is that true? It said brining a fresh bird would make the meat too moist.

And do you think cooking it in a bag in an oven would be enough to keep it moist without brining?
I've never done bag cooking personally, but it could be good.

Brining is always a good idea, fresh bird or frozen it works wonders. Also, there is very little difference in moisture content between a fesh and frozen bird. You can see this for yourself if you weigh a frozen turkey and fresh turkey of the same size, they will weigh the same.

I do think that fresh birds are better as they have a better texture to the meat.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-19-2007, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
I'd rather be railing :)
 
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Turkey came out good!

Just wanted to report back that the Turkey was a success


Starting out with a fresh bird


These were all the ingredients that I put in the brine solution, soaking the bird overnight. This is the recipe that I based my brine solution on.


And here is the finished bird, after baking for 3 hours at 350F in a Turkey Bag. I think it came out a little dry, but everyone else said it was perfect and tasted great. I shoved a stick of butter under the skin of the breasts and only stuffed the bird with onions.


Carving the bird.


The dinner spread (home-made by everyone who came over): Sweet Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Apple Pie, Pumpkin Pies, Cranberry Sauce, Cornbread Stuffing with and without Sausage, Smashed Chessy Potatoes and the Veggie Tray.


Thanx for all the advice in this thread
I'm going to try roasting a duck next

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-19-2007, 11:23 AM
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Looks awesome!

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-19-2007, 11:08 PM
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You know, there is a 1-800 number people can call:

Butterball Hotline

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-20-2007, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
I'd rather be railing :)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norseman82 View Post
You know, there is a 1-800 number people can call:

Butterball Hotline
But I found 1-800-CLSB-Kitchen to be much more informative

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