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Old 11-21-2012, 12:03 PM   #19
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Re: help with turkey

First time cooking the Thanksgiving turkey here too. My family does a Thanksgiving potlock and the turkey torch has now been passed to me. I was so nervous about cooking a turkey for a group of 20 that I cooked a tester turkey a few weeks ago. I did a modified Alton Brown recipie because I didn't have all the ingredients on hand. It came out great and I'm not a huge fan of turkey. The whole process wasn't nearly as intimidating after having accomplished one complete bird. I learned a few things.

If you're going to brine the turkey, do it now so that it sits overnight. Salt, water, and maybe a little sugar is the most important part of the brine. The extras...are extra. Don't forget to wash the brine water off. Timing is important with a giant bird. Be aware of the time you want to served food and count backwards with the number of hours needed to cook the turkey. Pad that with an hour. For instance, dinner is served at 3pm in my family. With a 20 pound turkey, I ought to put the turkey in the oven around 8am, no later than 9am. Use a meat thermometer, even a cheapie one, so that you don't overcook the turkey, or worse, undercook it. Oven bags are wonderful. Don't carve the turkey immediately after taking it out of the oven. Let it sit for 15-20 mintues.
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