Rocket Science Scale: 4 – Complicated
SOOO, I’ve made my first turkey. It was a glorious 10.5 lbs. Which cost six dollars. Since it was a “young” turkey (whatever that means) and I think my grocery story really wanted to get rid of it for the butterballs coming in next week.
I decided that this year I wanted to have a Friendsgiving. What’s a Friendsgiving you ask? An excuse to make a turkey. And eat Thanksgiving food weeks before Thanksgiving. I guess I like my friends too.
Since I was the host, I decided to make the turkey and stuffing. I’m not a gravy fan so that didn’t happen. But read on for my personal do’s and dont’s for making a turkey. Because I made plenty of mistakes on my first turkey and maybe my tips might help make your turkey better.
The Turkey Story: Friendsgiving 2014
1. Tip Number One: Decided early on if you are going to buy a fresh or frozen turkey. My dad is the thanksgiving chef, and he always buys a fresh butterball the morning of Thanksgiving. So I thought I’d do the same. A week before I decided since there would be about 10 people at Friendsgiving I needed a 10-12 lb turkey. Friendsgiving was on a Sunday. I checked the grocery store on Friday to make sure there were fresh turkeys. At the time there weren’t any at the March I went to but the grocer said that they would have fresh ones the following morning. So I went back on Saturday, and they only had 16 lb turkeys. THAT COST 60 DOLLARS. I like my friends but not that much. So I asked the Marsh grocery if there was any way I could get a turkey and still cook it in time for Friendsgiving (Dinner would be served around 6:30). He said I had a chance if I bought a small frozen turkey and used the cold water method to unfreeze it. So I bought a 10 lb turkey and spent the next couple hours freaking out about it.
TL; DR: Commit to the type of turkey you choose. If you want a quick turkey, go fresh but expect to pay the big bucks. Otherwise, get a frozen turkey a week ahead of time.
2. Tip Number Two: If you pick the frozen turkey, Commit to the thawing method. I had to use the cold water method due to my short time commitment. This involved submerging the bird in cold water and changing the it about every 30-60 minutes. The collective internet told me to change it every 30 minutes. I changed the water every 60 because the water was always extremely cold when I started changing it. The collective internet also agrees that thawing it in the fridge is the best idea. So buy the turkey a week ahead and thaw it 2-3 days before you want to cook it. Look it up on the collective internet for an exact time. (Pro-tip: If using the cold water method, you should cook the turkey right after it thaws. This is because bacteria has a higher possibility to fester if you put it back in the fridge since the turkey might have gotten warmer than room temp while thawing.)
3. Tip Number 3: You know if your turkey is thawed if you can take out the neck. AKA my turkey was not fully thawed when I was ready to cook it. Sigh. So I took out the giblets and then ran cold water through my turkey until the inside was less frozen.
4. Tip Number 4: If you don’t have a roasting rack, use vegetables! The cook on the bottom and are really great since they spend hours soaking in Turkey juices 🙂 I also stuffed my turkey. Don’t forget Butt Stuffing is the best.
5. Tip Number 5: Let the turkey sit and cook. And cook it at where you are having your party. Even though I planned Friendsgiving, My friend’s Mona and Jason hosted. Since fitting 9 people in my small apartment would have been cramped. So I went over to their place around 1 and put my turkey in. I didn’t brine it or baste it while cooking but instead just put some salt and pepper on it and made my dad’s stuffing. Which is just the classics store bough bread crumbs and celery and onion (plus some sage). This is the part where patience is key. I cooked the turkey according to the instructions on the turkey. Always follow what your turkey says to do.
6. Tip Number 6: If you don’t want to kill your friends, and your turkey might not have been thawed fully, let it cook in the oven for a longer time. They will appreciate a slightly dry turkey over getting sick. Also, apply instagram filters to make your turkey look more cooked. No one will know.
7. Tip Number 7: Let the turkey rest for at least 30 minutes. This will allow the juices to sit in the turkey. And allow others to put their side dishes in the oven to cook since you can’t just eat a turkey. Eat the roasted veggies that are under the turkey.
8. Tip Number 8: Get a glass of wine. Eat some appetizers. Talk with your friends. DON’T BE THAT WEIRD PERSON WHO OBSESSES OVER THE TURKEY.
9. Tip Number 9: Find a friend who knows how to carve a turkey. Thanks Stephen!
10. Tip Number 10: Enjoy. Make the table look pretty. Eat all the food. Be thankful you have friends who will eat the turkey you spent all day cooking. Hang out with said friends. Maybe play a board game. Or watch football.
OR Watch this video. One of my friends has never seen Pochahontas, and claimed it was a thanksgiving movie. Because indians and cowboys. This is the only impression he has of the film.
Here was our reactions to it:
Hopefully these tips help you make your turkey!
And Happy Friendsgiving, my small amount of internet followers. I want to tell you I am thankful for having somebody read my rambling thoughts. And read my cooking/science posts. It’s pretty sweet 🙂