Thanksgiving has come and gone and I am no longer a turkey-cooking amateur.
Yes, that’s right, I have successfully cooked and served my first turkey.
Let me take you through the oh so eventful steps that led to our fabulous meal.
Last Tuesday- After reading many, many websites and blogs about cooking and thawing turkeys I frantically rearranged my fridge and pulled the 20 pound bird out of the freezer at 9pm at night totally terrified that if I didn’t remove it early enough I would be attempting to cook a partially frozen turkey and would give everyone food poisoning. (You are going to notice a theme to my worries as you continue to read…)
Sunday night (the day before our big meal)- I unwrapped the turkey, had a mini freak out because there was still ice in some of the crevasses and began removing the giblets and gizzards from the inside of the turkey. I washed it with cool water inside and out (gagged a little) and patted it dry. I salt and peppered the outside and inside, added a whole bunch of poultry seasoning and stuffed a couple carrots, onions and a stalk of celery inside the cavity.
Monday morning (crack of dawn…)- Set the oven to 450 degrees, removed the turkey from the fridge and uncovered it to take the chill off. Went back to bed.
15 minutes later- Remembered that I am bad at going back to sleep… got up and blogged.
7:30 am- Put the turkey in the oven and turned the heat down to 350 degrees. (Began to worry that it would not cook in time and people would get, you guessed it, food poisoning)
7:40 am- Realized I was supposed to put 2 cups of water or broth in the bottom of the pan and frantically ran to the oven to add it.
8:15 am- My bird got its first basting bath. I removed the bird from the oven and closed the door (The site I read said not to let the heat escape!) then I basted it all over with the liquid from the bottom of the pan. I continued this ritual every 45 minutes.
10am- I took my first thermometer reading. Not done (shouldn’t have been) and starting to wonder would there be ENOUGH time. Would someone get sick?
10:45- Temperature reading number 2….it was lower than the last time. How can that be? Isn’t it supposed to be getting hotter??
11:30- Last basting for the bird. This time with melted butter….delicious!
12:15pm- Turkey needs to come out, but the temperature still isn’t at 170 degrees…just keep cooking!
12:45pm- Skin is golden brown, temperature is…close-ish….let’s throw caution to the wind and take the bird out and let it rest for carving
1:15- Bird is carved, meal is set, let’s eat!
The verdict- Delicious! And no one got food poisoning! I think was a win on all fronts. I will totally make a turkey again. It’s not so hard…just time consuming. But the results really are worth it.
Side story- My sister’s fiancee loves the neck of the turkey and my mom usually cooks it up for him. I thought we had thrown it away. (As I assumed it was in one of those little bags I made Andrew remove from the inside of the turkey.) It was a pleasant surprise when Andrew found it as he carved up the leftover turkey. I sent it home in a little doggie bag with Matt to enjoy later that night.