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Ahhhh, the imagery of a Thanksgiving Turkey perfectly baked and served to perfection. I always strive for that like many of you do. However, I also see Turkey as a great item for long term food storage as well. Especially this time of year when you can find some good pricing on this product.
Many folks are intimidated with cooking a Turkey. I certainly was the first time I attempted it. After I was done, I remember thinking....'what was I afraid of?"
I cooked a Turkey yesterday. Why you may ask? For several reasons. I will list them at the end of the post. Here is the method I use and find that it works well. Read on!
Yes, I am using my Roaster Oven again. So, I laid out the rack on the counter. See the little blue box. In my world, this is a 'must'. Get the Oven Cooking Bags for Turkeys. They are totally worth it.
Take your thawed Turkey out of the wrapping. If you are buying a frozen Turkey, let it thaw in your refrigerator for several days. This is a very safe method to thaw your bird. Rinse the bird.
Remove the neck and giblet packets from the neck and little 'butt' opening. Rinse the cavities. After rinsing, I often salt the cavities.
I cut up onion, apples, and always add citrus. These help keep the meat moist and flavorful.
Fill the cavities with these. You can also add herbs such as Rosemary as well.
Follow the directions on the box of the Oven bags by putting in flour and shaking it in the bag.
Tie the legs closed to keep your content inside the cavity. You can also use toothpicks to keep the other cavity closed.
Place your Turkey in the bag. I placed the bagged Turkey on the rack and then carefully loaded it into the Roaster Oven. You can place you Turkey in your Standard Oven at this point as well.
Put water into your oven as well, set the temperature gauge, put the lid on, and wait until it is cooked. You hopefully can see the little red 'dot' on the Turkey. I am a big proponent of using these little gauges. Why? they not only ensure the Turkey is cooked, but you may also be surprised at how fast your Turkey can cook not only in the bag, but also in the Roaster. The combination can cut some time off the process.
Now....as to why I cooked this Turkey. It was for these wonderful Sisters. They had a Relief Society Activity where they were doing a recipe exchange.
They also were learning how to make Cranberry Sauce from Scratch. The plan was to have some Turkey Sandwiches to enjoy the homemade Cranberry sauce on. Well, unfortunately, 'somebody' walked by the Roaster Oven and unplugged it. I had left my house to run some errands while the Turkey was cooking. I returned home ready to grab the Roaster Oven and it's contents.....and....well the Turkey wasn't done cooking. I was surprised and also scrambling to think of what I could at the time. So what did I do? I ran to the local Deli and got sliced Turkey. I apologized to everyone, and they all laughed. After plugging it back in, it did cook up beautifully and was enjoyed a couple of hours later.
However, cooking a Turkey ahead of time reduces the stress on the Holiday. I will write a post soon on how to package and save your excess Turkey later. However, by cooking your Turkey ahead of time, you only have to heat it up on for your Holiday Dinner.
Finally, canning or freezing Turkey now will give you many options in the months to come.