1. Look for the SIZE that best suits your needs. These guidelines will give you approximately 3lbs of leftovers. The ratio is based on adults. Reduce in half for young children:
4 to 10 people: 10 – 15lb (4 – 7 kg)
12 to 30 people: 16 – 26lb (9 – 12kg)
We recommend 1lb per person for a turkey under 18lb and 1/2lb per person for turkeys over 20lbs (the larger the turkey, the more meat you yield)
2.Thawing a Frozen Turkey: 5 hours per 1lb in the fridge or 1 hour per pound in water
a.) Refrigeration Method: Put the turkey on a tray and place on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator. It will take approximately 4 days for a 20 lb. turkey to thaw.
b.) Water Method: Place a wrapped frozen turkey in the sink and completely cover with cold water. Before putting turkey in the sink, you must ensure that the sink has been thoroughly disinfected and rinsed before starting this process. Add ice cubes thawing goes over night. Change water frequently. Using cold water only.
3. Fresh Turkeys: Check the expiry date on the packaging of a fresh turkey and be sure you can cook the bird before this date. If you are STORING a fresh turkey in your refrigerator, put it on a tray and place it on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator. This will keep any raw juices from coming into contact with other foods (cross-contamination). You can become very sick if raw meat/poultry/fish juices come into contact with other foods.
4. When prepping the turkey, it important to wash all kitchen surfaces that will come into contact with the turkey. WASH YOUR HANDS THOROUGHLY with SOAP and water for 20 seconds. Wash kitchen surfaces with dish soap, then rinse with a sanitizing solution of 1 capful of chlorine bleach in a sink full of warm water. Follow with a rinse of hot water.
5. PREHEAT the oven to 400 degrees. You may want to remove the middle and top racks.
6. REMOVE THE PLASTIC wrap from the thawed turkey. Take the giblets and neck from the body cavity.
7. If you are STUFFING, either use a prepared mix or make your own. Stuff the turkey loosely, as stuffing expands as it cooks. See Recipe section for a stuffing recipe.
8. Place the turkey in either a roasting PAN or in a disposable foil pan. If the turkey is very large, sometimes a foil pan works better. Use a baking sheet for support . You can mold the pan around the turkey. You may want to add a small amount (up to 1 cup) of water, broth or ginger ale to the pan. Cover with lid or foil.
9. Place the turkey on the bottom shelf of the oven. Let the turkey cook at 400 degrees for approximately 30 minutes for the smaller turkey up to 1 hour for the larger turkey UNTIL you hear the turkey start to crackle. REDUCE TEMPERATURE TO 325 F. for the remainder of the cooking time. Check for doneness by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast. It should read 170 F (77 C).
10. After the turkey has finished cooking, remove from oven, cover with foil and LET THE TURKEY REST for about 15 minutes before carving.
11. Remove the STUFFING and place in a bowl. Place in oven to keep warm.
12. CARVING the turkey can seem like a daunting task. Following these tips will make it much easier.Begin with a very sharp knife. Use a cutting board with a towel underneath to prevent slipping. Cut the drums/legs off, then the wings. Using a carving fork (has two long prongs) put fork deeply into breast. On a slight angle, start slicing the other breast 1/2 inch thick. Until getting close to bone. Carve other breast in same angle against the grain. Use secure meat with fork in thigh. Continue carving thighs with same procedure. Spoon some juices from the pan over the turkey. Cover and return to oven to keep warm.
13. Make gravy from the pan drippings, use the water from the potatoes or other veggies for added flavour and nutrients. If the gravy is too light add 1 – 2 Tbsp INSTANT coffee grounds. Season with salt, pepper, garlic, basil or thyme. Thicken with flour or corn starch.
14. Sides: Mashed Potatoes, peas & carrots and squash/turnips and coleslaw pairs well with a traditional Turkey Dinner.
15. REFRIGERATE the cooked meat within 2 hours of cooking. Once carcass is cooled, put in plastic bag and freeze. It will make a great soup stock later.
16. There are many great recipes that are available for turkey leftovers. Prepare casseroles and freeze before left over turkey gets dried out.
Leftover Turkey should be consumed within 3 – 4 days. Enjoy!