Author Topic: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time  (Read 14215 times)

Mrs. PoP

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Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« on: November 11, 2014, 06:42:31 PM »
I'm planning on buying my first ever turkey this year - not for a proper Thanksgiving dinner, but rather as an inexpensive source of meat for Mr PoP to eat.  Probably some for sandwiches, or just munching, some will end up frozen and destined for soups, pot pies, etc. 

The catch is, as a vegetarian, I have no idea what makes a "good turkey" nor what constitutes a "good price" on such a bird.  So help me out. 

What should I be looking for when buying a turkey?

What price should I be aiming for?  (So far the best I've seen is $0.59/lb.  Is that good?)  Or when does the price of turkey usually dip the lowest?

Pigeon

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2014, 07:04:15 PM »
It is going to be very local. Look at the fliers for you area.

As for cooking, it is better if you brine it. Google Alton Brown turkey to get the general idea.

mozar

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2014, 07:32:57 PM »
I say google Martha Stewart, she has the best Turkey recipe. Any frozen butterball turkey is fine, just thaw breast side down. If you want to go organic, local, then try your local farmers market or order online. Organic turkeys tend to be gamier and have less white meat. If there is just the two of you you should try a whole chicken first. You might get sick of eating that much turkey. It's a lot of meat.

GizmoTX

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2014, 07:43:14 PM »
Butterball is injected & more expensive -- go for an unadulterated bird. Frozen is fine -- a "fresh" turkey is usually one that's kept just above freezing. Pick one that is 12 to 15 pounds. Plan to thaw it several days in advance in your refrigerator. Then brine your turkey -- this really makes it moist & flavorful. You can oven roast your turkey but we like it smoke grilled (indirect heat) or deep fried. Turkey is fantastic year round, not just for Thanksgiving.

Pigeon

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2014, 08:01:49 PM »
I agree, your basic unadulterated frozen bird is better. Butterballs are injected with nasty stuff.

Jesus Christ

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2014, 08:55:49 PM »
0.59 cents a pound is a great price and will be the cheapest price for the whole year. Best to buy the biggest turkey they got to maximize your efforts. Also if you have freezer space, buy 3 more birds. Using is Brine is nice as mentioned above.

BlueHouse

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2014, 09:03:24 PM »
I'm not a good cook, but I believe professionals who have told me that it's simply not possible to cook a whole turkey in a regular (non-commercial) oven.  Maybe try a chicken?

geekette

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2014, 09:07:33 PM »
I'm not a good cook, but I believe professionals who have told me that it's simply not possible to cook a whole turkey in a regular (non-commercial) oven.  Maybe try a chicken?
Plenty of us do it at least once a year!

But I do stick with a 14 lb or so.

Almost all turkeys (that I see) are pre-"brined" (i.e. injected with broth, etc).  If you do an Alton Brown style brine, especially on a standard grocery store (already injected), it might make the gravy too salty.

BlueHouse

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2014, 09:22:24 PM »
Plenty of us do it at least once a year!
Ya, I know, and then we have to pour gravy all over it because it's so dry.  I know part of it's me, but can anyone honestly say they cooked a decent turkey?  A few years back I ordered one cooked at the local deli and man, that was the best turkey I've every had.  Nothing added and it was just great.  Entire family said it was the best they'd ever had.

N

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2014, 12:55:06 AM »
uh, I cook delicious turkeys every year. Several times a year. in my regular baseline model oven.
last year I tried the Americas Test kitchen braised turkey method and it was a big winner.
sometimes my brother buys a pre-brined local bird from a butchers for thanksgiving and its always great.
often times I just buy a couple of breasts with bone and roast those.

I do stick with 14 lb ish birds though, I dont have to feed large crowds.

FoundPeace

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2014, 01:27:07 AM »
The few times I've cooked a turkey it turned out delicious and moist. Some things to do to make sure it isn't dry:
*Brine it
*Cook it at a low(er) temperature and make sure to use a meat thermometer (cooking a turkey takes at least 4 hours!)
*Cook it upside-down. The dark meat fat will keep the white meat moist.
*If you don't want to do a brine smother it in butter (under the skin).
*Make sure it is completely thawed (this takes days!).
*Cover it. I usually cook mine in a very large Dutch oven. This helps keep all of the moisture inside. Another option is to cover it with aluminum foil.

Another suggestion that I learned from my grandfather is to regularly inject it with cranberry juice. This makes for a delicious bird (assuming your husband likes the turkey/cranberry combo).

Mrs. PoP

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2014, 05:07:48 AM »
Thanks for all the advice everyone - looks like I'll be trying to find a 14-ish lb one at the Publix sale this weekend and the Alton Brown recipe was the one I had seen online that I wanted to try. 

Pigeon

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2014, 06:11:36 AM »
Good luck.  I don't have any problem cooking delicious turkeys either.  I do it several times a year.  If you brine and don't overcook it, the results are excellent.  If you did overcook it the first time out, there are a million ways to use the leftovers such that it wouldn't really matter.  Hot turkey sandwiches, casseroles, soup, turkey pot pie, etc.

Most of the cheap frozen store brand turkey I see is not injected with stuff, but read the labels.  If it's injected, don't brine.

If I brine my own unadulterated turkey, I don't have problems with the gravy being too salty.  I make my own broth for the gravy by simmering the giblets and neck (not the liver) with an onion, celery, sage and rosemary and some white wine and don't salt that.  Then taste the final gravy and see if it needs salt.

2ndTimer

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2014, 07:24:45 AM »
The easiest possible recipe for a beginner is probably the "cook in a bag" method.  Ask at the grocery store for a  bag to roast a turkey in and then follow the directions on the box.  Not nearly as fancy as many recipes I have seen but it makes a good, not dry, basic turkey with a minimal learning curve.

mak1277

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2014, 07:51:11 AM »
Plenty of us do it at least once a year!
Ya, I know, and then we have to pour gravy all over it because it's so dry. 

I put gravy on my turkey because it's not (yet) socially acceptable to drink a glass of gravy.

stripey

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2014, 08:01:44 AM »
Do it in a large crockpot/slow cooker on low heat and it will braise (otherwise use a Rompertopf). Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature if you worry about that sort of thing (I used to, but the meat was always hot enough). Will make very tender and moist eating, but will not brown the skin-- if you want brown skin, finish off roasting uncovered for maybe 20 minutes at the end.

By the way, this works really well for a tough old farm chicken if you ever have to cook such a thing (although to be honest, I use the old tough ones for making chicken hot and sour soup... old birds make the best broth and soup).

Fodder

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2014, 08:30:01 AM »
My tip would be to cook it breast side down.  It will keep the breast meat moist, and allow the thighs to cook more quickly (and they need to come to a slightly higher temperature than the breast due the amount of fat/collagen/etc.  Just trust me.

And get yourself a digital thermometer.  Your bird needs to hit 75C.

GuitarStv

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2014, 08:42:21 AM »
Buy the cheapest turkey you can (utility turkey FTW), and brine it if it's not pre-brined.  Then it's just a matter of sticking in the meat thermometer and waiting for awesome.

FarmerPete

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2014, 08:45:45 AM »
If you watch Alton Brown or use his recipe, take note of an important fact that's changed over his career...The USDA has CHANGED the cooking temperature of turkey.  Basically, the hard part of cooking turkey is that different meat requires different temperatures to be done.  Dark meat required a higher temperature (180!!!!) and would dry out the breast which only needed 165.  Alton's solution was a tinfoil breastplate that you put on part way through the cooking.  Now, the USDA has decided that 165 is sufficient for everything, so it makes it a heck of a lot easier.  Pull the turkey out when it reaches 161, and the carryover will raise the temp up to 165 while you let it rest.

Other tips...make sure you use a proper thermometer.  Many a thanksgiving meal were ruined by those tiny little plastic pop up thermometers not working (or prematurely working).  I have a nice remote digital probe that I use when I smoke meat outside.  Works great.  I can check the exact temp from the couch while watching football or playing with the kid.  I've never brined a turkey, but I hear it works really well.

As to price...My local store (Meijer) is selling turkey for $0.54 a lb for store brand with an additional $20 purchase (50% off).  I'm a little troubled, because prices have been much lower past years when the did a fixed dollar sum off the turkey price.  For the last ten years, they've done a deal like, "Get $10 off the price of a turkey (10-15lb size) or $17 off a turkey (16lb+) with an additional $20 purchase."  With that deal, if you bought the smallest sized turkey in the range, you got a killer deal.  10lb * $1.20lb - $10 = $0.20lb.  or 16lb * 1.20 - $17 = $0.137lb.  Of course the deal gets worse the bigger the turkey gets.  For example a 15lb turkey costs $0.53lb.  A 22lb turkey costs $0.42lb.  Still not BAD prices, but I always spent a good five minute searching for the smallest turkey I could find.  I'm going to wait until the end of the week to make my move on turkeys to see what the sales are going to be next week.  If I'm lucky, they'll be better.  Either way, turkeys last a year in the freezer, so I normally get 2-3 of them.

Lizzy B.

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2014, 09:44:43 AM »
The easiest possible recipe for a beginner is probably the "cook in a bag" method.  Ask at the grocery store for a  bag to roast a turkey in and then follow the directions on the box.  Not nearly as fancy as many recipes I have seen but it makes a good, not dry, basic turkey with a minimal learning curve.

I heartily second this recommendation. We do a brined turkey in a bag. The first time we had it I was amazed!  Who knew turkey could be so delicious?!?  It stays nice and moist, so if your sides aren't ready when the turkey is, it'll hold very easy. Plus so flavorful. Stick lemon slices and some fresh thyme in the body cavity and voila. Perfect turkey.

And now after thinking about turkey, I'm hungry and my mouth is watering and I still have an hour and a half to lunch. Thank you, fellow mustachians.

frugalnacho

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2014, 09:49:22 AM »
I'm planning on buying my first ever turkey this year - not for a proper Thanksgiving dinner, but rather as an inexpensive source of meat for Mr PoP to eat.  Probably some for sandwiches, or just munching, some will end up frozen and destined for soups, pot pies, etc. 

The catch is, as a vegetarian, I have no idea what makes a "good turkey" nor what constitutes a "good price" on such a bird.  So help me out. 

What should I be looking for when buying a turkey?

What price should I be aiming for?  (So far the best I've seen is $0.59/lb.  Is that good?)  Or when does the price of turkey usually dip the lowest?

After thanksgiving.  But 0.59 is a pretty good price.

I'm not a good cook, but I believe professionals who have told me that it's simply not possible to cook a whole turkey in a regular (non-commercial) oven.  Maybe try a chicken?

Uh...what? Thousands and thousands of people do it every year.  Multiple times a year.  You never ate home cooked turkey?  I have probably 40-50 times, every one of them cooked in a residential oven and absolutely delicious.

Another Reader

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2014, 10:24:59 AM »
Lowest price on a decent unadulterated turkey will likely be at Costco, the day AFTER Thanksgiving.  You will need to get there early, as they go fast.

I can't eat the "basted" (injected with chemicals you would not use) turkeys.  Read the ingredients....

+1 on buying multiple turkeys if you can use them up over the next few months.  Make sure Mr. PoP likes both white and dark meat before you go the whole turkey route.

TrMama

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #22 on: November 12, 2014, 10:43:58 AM »
I can't stand tons of salt in my food and have never bothered with brine. However, I do love butter. When I cook a turkey I dust it with Spike (a seasoning blend) and rub it with butter. Then cook, covered and baste every 20-30 min with more butter until there are enough juices in the bottom of the pan to baste with those. Continue to baste every 20-30 min. Remove the cover for the last 30-40 min to brown the top.

All this talk of turkey has me seriously considering starting a new tradition to celebrate both Canadian and American Thanksgiving . . .

Eric

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #23 on: November 12, 2014, 10:54:29 AM »
All this talk of turkey has me seriously considering starting a new tradition to celebrate both Canadian and American Thanksgiving . . .

We always do a turkey for the Superbowl.  It's a grand tradition!

GuitarStv

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #24 on: November 12, 2014, 11:12:13 AM »
All this talk of turkey has me seriously considering starting a new tradition to celebrate both Canadian and American Thanksgiving . . .

Our tradition involves a turkey dinner about a week after all major holidays (when they go on sale).  :P

OSUBearCub

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #25 on: November 12, 2014, 01:05:58 PM »
Here in Florida, $0.59 per pound with no additional purchase necessary at Publix.  Not fresh, free range, organic, or unadulterated with injected brine - just the turkey most of us grew up on.

Keep in mind the average yield of edible meat from a turkey is 53% of the total weight (http://www.eatturkey.com/foodsrv/manual/purch6).  So a little math - 15 lb turkey would cost $8.85.  The actual meat on that turkey would be 7.9 lbs.  This makes the true cost per pound $1.12.  I left out weight reduction based on cooking because that's a lot of math and every protein looses weight during cooking and almost all are purchased raw. 

I doubt anyone would scoff at that but it may or may not change your opinion of stockpiling half a dozen awkwardly shaped birds in a chest freezer.  :-)

Mrs. PoP

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #26 on: December 03, 2014, 06:49:26 PM »
Turkey was a success!  Don't get me wrong, preparation was absolutely disgusting and I'm so glad I'm a vegetarian after that, but Mr PoP says the bird is easily some of the best turkey he's ever had in his life.  Thanks to everyone that recommended the Alton Brown brining recipe.  The only hiccup was that I couldn't find candied ginger anywhere and had to make that from scratch, adding an extra step.

$0.59/lb at Publix - bought a 14ish lb bird, so ~$8, but then I was able to use a Winn Dixie coupon for $5 off since my order was now over $50, so it was a heck of a deal, too.  Volume-wise it made about as much meat as I would normally pay $8-$9 or so for if it were boneless skinless chicken breasts bought on sale.  So I think it was a decent deal. 

I did buy two (the second one was about the same price, but with a Target coupon), so will be attempting it one more time, but it's enough effort that I don't think this is something I want to do more than once or twice per year.  It was nice that the Mr appreciated it, though, and is enjoying Thanksgiving for lunches this week. 

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #27 on: December 03, 2014, 07:15:44 PM »
Plenty of us do it at least once a year!
Ya, I know, and then we have to pour gravy all over it because it's so dry.  I know part of it's me, but can anyone honestly say they cooked a decent turkey?  A few years back I ordered one cooked at the local deli and man, that was the best turkey I've every had.  Nothing added and it was just great.  Entire family said it was the best they'd ever had.

This lady agrees with you.  The gist of her message is, turkey never tastes good, so don't worry about it, that's why we have cranberry sauce and gravy. Just put the fucking turkey in the oven.

pksr

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2014, 10:48:32 AM »
Late to the party but we can apply the same turkey logic to the upcoming Christmas holiday.

Deep fried turkey is one of the greatest foods ever. A many hour affair with high risk of drying out the meat is replaced by a 30-40 minute affair that delivers the juiciest and yummiest meat imaginable with almost no chance of overcooking. There is a small risk of death and/or burning your house down, but that can be dropped to almost no risk if you're careful. The peanut oil is expensive, but you can lever its value by cooking multiple birds.

The only drawback is that once you deep fry a turkey, you are committed for life. Whoever was responsible for cooking the turkey in the oven will insist on it.

frugalnacho

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #29 on: December 05, 2014, 10:18:19 AM »
Plenty of us do it at least once a year!
Ya, I know, and then we have to pour gravy all over it because it's so dry.  I know part of it's me, but can anyone honestly say they cooked a decent turkey?  A few years back I ordered one cooked at the local deli and man, that was the best turkey I've every had.  Nothing added and it was just great.  Entire family said it was the best they'd ever had.

This lady agrees with you.  The gist of her message is, turkey never tastes good, so don't worry about it, that's why we have cranberry sauce and gravy. Just put the fucking turkey in the oven.

That's crazy talk and that lady might be retarded.  That, or maybe she just doesn't like turkey?  I love turkey.  I've had at least one turkey for thanksgiving every year of my life, and almost always one for my birthday dinner, and usually at least one more at some point during the year.  So probably close to 100 turkey dinners in my life.  They have always been delicious.  Sometimes dry, but usually not.  Turkey is delicious and isn't supposed to be dry.  Out of all those turkey dinners I have only cooked one myself, and it was a few weeks ago, and it was mind blowingly amazing.  I am trying to get my mother in law to buy me 3 turkeys when walmart has their employee discount sale this month so I can replicate my awesome turkey dinner a few more times this winter.

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #30 on: December 05, 2014, 12:25:49 PM »
Yeah we did 2 turkeys this year neither were brined.  All a wet brine does is basically put water into the turkey so its less likely to dry out ... you lose flavor.  Just put a good thermometer in it and monitor temp when it his 165 in thy and breast pulll it out rest it and you'll be fine.   also smoked turkey >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> any other way you cook a turkey

Frankies Girl

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #31 on: December 05, 2014, 12:37:45 PM »
We love turkey and I have never brined or had a bad one cooked in my gas oven.

I did try something new this year... I didn't do any basting of the turkey.

I prepped it by rinsing it off to get any stray bits on the outside, pulled out the bag o' gizzards, neck and gravy starter, cut off some of the excess skin that always gets annoying around the neck area, then stuck some butter pats/spices under the skin on the breast area, and slathered the outside with more butter and the mix of spices (salt, parsley, sage and thyme). I then stuck some celery and an orange in the cavity. This took all of 15 minutes I think.

Then put the turkey in the oven with a tin foil cover on the breast area (this prevents it from getting too brown), and cooked it that way without checking until about 30 minutes before it was due to be finished. I then pulled off the foil to let the breast area brown up a bit.

It was the best turkey we'd ever done (and we like our turkey and do one at least twice a year). It was tender and juicy and flavorful without gravy even. I will never fuss over that thing again!

And I saved the neck and gizzard and some of the skin/fat to make a broth out of using Frugal Girl's broth how-to as a jumping off point. I figure it should work just as well as chicken, so fingers crossed! http://www.thefrugalgirl.com/2014/11/how-to-make-chicken-broth-that-is-actually-tasty/

Eric

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #32 on: December 05, 2014, 01:12:06 PM »
The peanut oil is expensive, but you can lever its value by cooking multiple birds.

I'm not sure if you mean at the same time, or over time, but you can definitely re-use the peanut oil over and over again if you just filter out the "sludge".  Let your oil settle after cooking (like for day), and the sludge will settle to the bottom of the pot.  Pour 80% of the oil back into the container.  Most of the remaining 20% can then be filtered using a cheese cloth (or even a coffee filter) inside your funnel.  I've probably only lost 1-2% of the oil at a time doing this and can re-use one of those big ass jugs multiple times with no ill effects.

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #33 on: December 05, 2014, 02:11:48 PM »
If you've never done it, a charcoal grilled turkey is awesome.  We just season with salt and pepper and put it on a Weber Kettle grill with the coals on one side and the turkey on the other.  Takes around 2 hours, rotate bird near the halfway mark. 

Spork

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #34 on: December 05, 2014, 02:20:28 PM »
The peanut oil is expensive, but you can lever its value by cooking multiple birds.

I'm not sure if you mean at the same time, or over time, but you can definitely re-use the peanut oil over and over again if you just filter out the "sludge".  Let your oil settle after cooking (like for day), and the sludge will settle to the bottom of the pot.  Pour 80% of the oil back into the container.  Most of the remaining 20% can then be filtered using a cheese cloth (or even a coffee filter) inside your funnel.  I've probably only lost 1-2% of the oil at a time doing this and can re-use one of those big ass jugs multiple times with no ill effects.

You can... but it is a MASSIVE amount of peanut oil (unless you have some fancy schmancy unitasker turkey fryer that optimizes for that.)   When I've done it in a big pan, it was always about 5 gallons.  And once it's opened, it will go rancid in 4-6 months.

Don't get me wrong:  I love fried turkey.  I'm just too cheap to spend $50 on oil.

Eric

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #35 on: December 05, 2014, 02:40:32 PM »
The peanut oil is expensive, but you can lever its value by cooking multiple birds.

I'm not sure if you mean at the same time, or over time, but you can definitely re-use the peanut oil over and over again if you just filter out the "sludge".  Let your oil settle after cooking (like for day), and the sludge will settle to the bottom of the pot.  Pour 80% of the oil back into the container.  Most of the remaining 20% can then be filtered using a cheese cloth (or even a coffee filter) inside your funnel.  I've probably only lost 1-2% of the oil at a time doing this and can re-use one of those big ass jugs multiple times with no ill effects.

You can... but it is a MASSIVE amount of peanut oil (unless you have some fancy schmancy unitasker turkey fryer that optimizes for that.)   When I've done it in a big pan, it was always about 5 gallons.  And once it's opened, it will go rancid in 4-6 months.

Don't get me wrong:  I love fried turkey.  I'm just too cheap to spend $50 on oil.

It goes bad?  I did not have that experience.  I probably used my same 5 gallon jug for ~5 years and ~15 turkeys.  The oil always had the same consistency and smell and the turkeys were all wonderful.  But yes, I was using a fancy schmancy turkey fryer.  And then I gave away the turkey fryer because I was moving across the country. :(

Spork

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #36 on: December 05, 2014, 03:01:56 PM »
The peanut oil is expensive, but you can lever its value by cooking multiple birds.

I'm not sure if you mean at the same time, or over time, but you can definitely re-use the peanut oil over and over again if you just filter out the "sludge".  Let your oil settle after cooking (like for day), and the sludge will settle to the bottom of the pot.  Pour 80% of the oil back into the container.  Most of the remaining 20% can then be filtered using a cheese cloth (or even a coffee filter) inside your funnel.  I've probably only lost 1-2% of the oil at a time doing this and can re-use one of those big ass jugs multiple times with no ill effects.

You can... but it is a MASSIVE amount of peanut oil (unless you have some fancy schmancy unitasker turkey fryer that optimizes for that.)   When I've done it in a big pan, it was always about 5 gallons.  And once it's opened, it will go rancid in 4-6 months.

Don't get me wrong:  I love fried turkey.  I'm just too cheap to spend $50 on oil.

It goes bad?  I did not have that experience.  I probably used my same 5 gallon jug for ~5 years and ~15 turkeys.  The oil always had the same consistency and smell and the turkeys were all wonderful.  But yes, I was using a fancy schmancy turkey fryer.  And then I gave away the turkey fryer because I was moving across the country. :(

Yep.  Most oils go rancid.  I know some people can't seem to taste that.  I don't think it's terribly harmful, but doesn't taste very good.*  Some oils go REALLY fast.  Peanut lasts 4-6 months if opened.

*I'm not a doctor and someone will invariably chime in with "eating rancid oil will cause your children to be born naked" or some other such risk.

frugalnacho

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #37 on: December 05, 2014, 08:28:23 PM »
No rebuttal from Eric? He must be dead from rancid oil.

Rural

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #38 on: December 06, 2014, 04:20:05 AM »
The easiest possible recipe for a beginner is probably the "cook in a bag" method.  Ask at the grocery store for a  bag to roast a turkey in and then follow the directions on the box.  Not nearly as fancy as many recipes I have seen but it makes a good, not dry, basic turkey with a minimal learning curve.

I heartily second this recommendation. We do a brined turkey in a bag. The first time we had it I was amazed!  Who knew turkey could be so delicious?!?  It stays nice and moist, so if your sides aren't ready when the turkey is, it'll hold very easy. Plus so flavorful. Stick lemon slices and some fresh thyme in the body cavity and voila. Perfect turkey.

And now after thinking about turkey, I'm hungry and my mouth is watering and I still have an hour and a half to lunch. Thank you, fellow mustachians.


+1 on the bag. Turkey and nothing else in the bag, cook to temp and check with a thermometer to be sure, wonderful every time. If you want to be all fancy, chop up an onion and set the turkey on top of it in the bag, but this year I didn't bother and it was still wonderful.

Eric

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #39 on: December 06, 2014, 08:39:09 AM »
No rebuttal from Eric? He must be dead from rancid oil.

Hahaahahaha.  I'm not sure what else to say, other then what was already said.  All my turkeys were delicious.  Good looking out though.

Ambergris

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #40 on: December 06, 2014, 04:48:29 PM »
Roasting a turkey takes hours, so another tip, if you're not presenting the turkey for thanksgiving, spatchcock it. This reduces the cooking time down to about 1 1/2 hours for a 12 pound bird.

http://www.marthastewart.com/275445/how-to-spatchcock-a-turkey/@center/276949/everything-thanksgiving#856486

Goldielocks

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #41 on: December 06, 2014, 06:29:46 PM »
I'm not a good cook, but I believe professionals who have told me that it's simply not possible to cook a whole turkey in a regular (non-commercial) oven.  Maybe try a chicken?

Huh?

I tried to cook two turkeys at once- they were such a good price-

Now that is hard to do in one oven !
 Had to BBQ one when I could not get the door closed.  Funny memory.

OP

I am not an organic eater.  All poultry here is hormone free. 

So the best turkey for me is the cheapest utility grade one I can find.  Usually means it is missing a wing or has torn skin. (During processing).


Most frozen turkeys are pre brined for you so they stay juicy.  The cheaper the turkey, the more likely it has been brined with mild salt water, and that is good for keeping it juicy.   Young turkeys, 5 to7 kg ( up to 15 L's) are the most common as gatherings are geting smaller, and are easy to handle.    As another said, less bang for your buck, but easier to cook without dryness.

If you are vegetarian, and neither you nor SO know how to cook it, I suggest having SO (next time) be the turkey chef beginner.  Why would a vegetarian want to pull out the turkey parts, wasdh it, etc?

  Just thaw it 100% the day before you cook it.  Any problems I have had have been due to trying to cook near freezing, but barely thawed, turkeys.  Timing was off or dark meat did not cook as fast because it started too cold.

My last turkey, I butterflied, and will definitely again.  I also have used the flipping method to imoprove cooking times and juiciness

Edited.. I looked up spatchcock..  Same concept as butterflied- remove backbone, flatten and even out the bird.  Highly recommended!
« Last Edit: December 06, 2014, 06:44:35 PM by goldielocks »

OSUBearCub

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Re: Need Advice - Buying a Turkey for the First Time
« Reply #42 on: December 08, 2014, 11:17:15 AM »
Roasting a turkey takes hours, so another tip, if you're not presenting the turkey for thanksgiving, spatchcock it. This reduces the cooking time down to about 1 1/2 hours for a 12 pound bird.

http://www.marthastewart.com/275445/how-to-spatchcock-a-turkey/@center/276949/everything-thanksgiving#856486

Spatchcocking is the holiday fad this year and it looks tempting.  The one thing the articles never mention is that most recipes were developed and tested in industrial kitchens.  These kitchens have ovens that can accommodate full sheet pans.  When you spread out a 20 pound bird, flat, it'll take up a lot of real-estate.  Make sure you've got a large enough sheet pan and enough space in the oven to accommodate that pan before you go hacking apart an innocent turkey. :-)