Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Different ways to cook turkey


A branded line of mock turkey products, usually made from tofu (soy protein) or seitan (wheat protein), tofurkey serves as vegetarian alternative to the holiday staple. Tofurkey can be served as roast, with vegetarian stuffing and gravy. Here’s a recipe for “traditional” roast: Spread the margarine on your tofurky or other mock vegetarian turkey roast. Sprinkle the poultry seasoning, salt, pepper and thyme over the roast, being sure to coat liberally and evenly. Cook according to package instructions. For further info, visit: About. com:vegetarian.


Indoor models are now available for frying your turkey with less mess and less smell, though some would say less adventure, than the original outdoor models (think barbecue grill or smoker set up in the driveway, with the men-folk standing around with their brews while occasionally looking in the direction of the fryer). Food Network TV chef Paula Deen suggests using her house seasoning (salt, pepper and garlic powder), to rub onto bird, then following with your favorite dry rub before letting the bird sit and reach room temperature. Next comes the big dip into very hot peanut oil, which can easily be combustible if you’re not careful. At three minutes cooking time for pound of bird, this is way faster than the conventional oven roasting.


Good for smaller crowds, and/or those with a total aversion to dark meat. Serving two turkey breasts can also help the host avoid family arguments over who gets the drumsticks. It’s way easier to carve than a whole bird, but you might not have any wishbone to pull once you’ve finished carving. Higher price per pound at the grocery store, but it’s all meat, so just buy a smaller weight than if you were getting a whole bird. The key with turkey breasts is not to let them dry out. Brining is a great way to avoid this problem. Brining involves a 12-hour salt water soak (usually kosher salt and other seasonings) for the bird or breast before roasting. For further info, click on Foolproof Turkey Breast recipe by Guy Fieri at


This recipe passes the “one-inch rule” (a list of ingredients no longer than one inch long, and preparation instructions no longer than one inch) which means it ought to be pretty dummy proof. Mix thyme, lemon zest (uh-oh, better have a lemon zester), salt and pepper with softened margarine. Rub herb butter under skin of the breast and season outside with more salt and pepper. Drizzle breast with Rachael Ray’s famous EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and roast for 45-50 minutes for 2 five-pound breasts. Yum. For the recipe, check out, and click on Roast Turkey Breast with Herb Butter.


This Thanksgiving recipe calls for stuffed turkey legs and roasted breast. The recipe fails the one-inch rule, but looks well worth it for the more fearless Thanksgiving host or hostess. There are separate directions for what to do with the legs and breast of a 20-pound turkey, including stuffing the legs with a foie gras-based wild mushroom stuffing. Guess that evens the score between the goose and the turkey. For further info, visit and click on Wolfgang Puck.
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Here is the important advice when it comes to cooking the traditional whole roasted turkey. Carefully read the instructions on the frozen bird before you put it in the freezer. How long will it take to thaw, and how long to roast? Word to the wise, do NOT think you can pull the bird out on Thanksgiving morning to get started, no matter how early you get up. If you ignore this advice, you can plan on taking your guests to K&W as Plan B. This basic recipe calls for 15-20 minutes per pound, until internal temperature is 165-180 degrees Fahrenheit. Yep, that means you needed to get a meat thermometer, too. For further info, visit: FoodNetwork. com.


Choices abound. Yes, you can get it in a jar, but why not treat your guests to the real thing instead? Gravy can be made from pan drippings (the juices and fat left in the roasting pan after you take the bird out of the oven), or starting with broth or other soup stock. Some folks prefer golden gravy, others swear by the brown gravy. Some recipes can be made ahead, while others are made just before serving. No matter which you choose, your mashed potatoes and stuffing will thank you for it.


The old Pepperidge Farm standby is the quickest and easiest (just open bag and voila), with the StoveTop varieties a close second, which requires adding liquid to dry crumbs, and cooking on, you guessed it, the stove. Stuffing recipes that need to be cooked can be cooked inside the bird, while the bird is roasting, or cooked and served separately. But watch out: A stuffed bird takes longer to roast than an unstuffed bird (something about physics — mass, volume and temperature).

If in doubt, call a trusted relative with stuffing experience and ask to borrow her favorite recipe.


If you can’t afford turkey, as was the case for poor Bob Cratchit from Dickens’ timeless classic, A Christmas Carol, a stuffed goose is a perfectly acceptable alternative to a whole roasted turkey. Here’s a quick and easy recipe from Schlitz Goose Farms: Preheat oven to 375 degrees; score skin with a sharp knife in a check pattern;place skin side down in a large dry Teflon pan over medium heat until skin is crispy. Turn over onto flesh side until seared, then flip back to skin side, then place in oven at 375 degrees until internal temperature is 140 degrees. Remove from pan and place skin side down on paper towel and let sit for 15 minutes.


If all else fails, go to Plan C — a night out at your local Chinese restaurant. Inspired by the final scene of the 1983 film A Christmas Story, when the Bumpus coonhounds pillage the Ralphie’s family kitchen on Christmas Day and devour the cooked turkey, chop suey and roast duck always go better when Chinese waiters serenade you with “Jingle Bells.”

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Best CornBread Dressing

Whether you say stuffing or dressing, cornbread dressing is a popular side dish for Thanksgiving. Food Network's chefs are making it even more popular for Thanksgiving 2009. Emeril Lagasse's Bacon and Green Onion Cornbread Dressing, Paula Deen's Southern Corn Bread Dressing and Tyler Florence's Caramelized Onion and Cornbread Stuffing are all fantastic cornbread stuffing recipes.

Perhaps you have a family recipe for cornbread dressing and you want to add a new twist to it or you've never made dressing for Thanksgiving with cornbread before and want to give it a try. The Internet is a great place to find a recipe for the holidays and entering in "cornbread dressing" on Google will give you more choices than you have time for.

ABC's Good Morning America featured Emeril Lagasse making his easy Bacon and Green Onion Cornbread Dressing, which may become a popular hit for many families this year. Using cornbread, bacon, onions, cayenne pepper and several more ingredients, Emeril kicks up the spicy factor in this delicious version of cornbread dressing.

Emeril's cornbread dressing recipe is one of many to try for Thanksgiving:

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Butterball Turkey Questions

Got turkey on your mind and thawing in the fridge? As I shop and chop and bake and prepare for the big day, it gives me some comfort to know that I am not the only one who is stressing about whether or not the turkey will come out perfectly done or dry and mealy this year.

Each November and December, the people manning the turkey tips hotline run by Butterball, the nation's most popular turkey brand, field as many as 100,000 calls from people -- as many as 12,000 on Thanksgiving alone -- asking about everything from cooking temperatures and thawing techniques to how much stuffing they should use.

Here are a couple of examples of more amusing turkey situations reportedly handled by the people at Butterball, according to an Associated Press story:

# A woman who cleaned out her turkey with a scrub brush and asked if that was OK to do. (Not necessary.)
# People who want to know if it's okay to thaw a turkey in the bathtub while washing their kids. (Ewww.)

If, like me, you are suffering from a bout of pre-turkey anxiety, check out these tips and recipes from's guide busy cooks, Linda Larsen.

How Long To Cook A Turkey

It’s going to be Thanksgiving soon and you might be wondering how long should you cook a turkey. Well, the turkey cooking time is not the same for all turkeys, as we will teach you below.

We hope that you and your family will have a delicious Thanksgiving turkey. We’ll try to share with you some turkey recipes and other turkey cooking guide soon.

How Long To Cook A Turkey

1. Measure the weight (W) of your turkey in pounds.
2. Multiply the weight of your turkey in pounds by 15 to determine the total number of minutes to cook your turkey.

Example, your turkey is 15 lbs, then the turkey cooking time is 125 minutes.

Important Notes:

* The cooking time above is for an unstuffed, thawed turkey in a 325 degree F oven. You should add 15 minutes cooking time if your turkey is stuffed.
* Insert a cooking thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh to ensure your turkey is cooked to 180 degrees F before taking it out of the oven. If your turkey is stuffed, the temperature of the stuffing should be at least 165 degrees F.


Some turkey-making tidbits from the experts at Butterball's Turkey Talk-Line:

_ Don't let turkey juices spill onto other things, like countertops, to prevent contamination. Clean it and anything it touches, quickly.

_ Use separate cutting boards for vegetables and raw meat, and another one just for cooked food.

_ Buy a pound and a half of turkey per person, if you want leftovers.

_ Make sure to leave enough time for thawing, which can take days depending on bird size and thawing method. You can keep a thawed turkey in the fridge for up to four days before cooking.

_ Put vegetables like onions and carrots in the pan while you roast.

_ Use a meat thermometer to determine when your turkey is done. Thigh temperatures must measure at least 180 degrees. Even if the meat is slightly pink, that's fine as long as the temperature measures up.

_ Store your cooked turkey in the fridge when the meal is done. Don't keep it at room temperature for longer than two hours.

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Turkey Cooking Times

Courtesy of

Keep the bird in the oven for the right amount of time

Ahh, the age old question. How long should you cook your turkey? We all know there's nothing worse than a turkey that's been cooked too long. Unless it's a turkey that's under-cooked, of course. Don't worry, you don't have to worry about dry or under-done turkeys anymore because we have all the turkey cooking time tips you need.

Did you know that most people over-cook their turkeys by one whole hour? It sounds crazy, but it's true. People often over-cook turkey because they really want to make sure it's safe to eat. But your turkey can be both safe to eat and cooked for the perfect amount of time! Nobody wants to eat a dry, over-cooked turkey.

Your turkey should give you a list of cooking times; how long you cook it is based on how big the turkey is. Additionally, it matters whether or not your turkey is stuffed. For instance, here's what Butterball tells us:

Net Weight (in pounds and in hours)

* 10 to 18 lbs.: 3 to 3-1/2 hours, unstuffed; 3-3/4 to 4-1/2 hours, stuffed
* 18 to 22 lbs.: 3-1/2 to 4 4-1/2 hours, unstuffed; to 4-1/2 to 5 hours, stuffed
* 22 to 24 lbs.: 4 to 4-1/2 hours, unstuffed; 5 to 5-1/2 hours, stuffed
* 24 to 30 lbs.: 4-1/2 to 5 hours, unstuffed; 5-1/2 to 6-1/4 hours, stuffed

You should be checking for doneness about 1/2 an hour before your turkey is supposed to be done. But how do you know if it's really done? It's actually quite simple. All you need to do is put a meat thermometer in your turkey before you put it in the oven! If the turkey is stuffed, place the thermometer tip inside the stuffed cavity. If it's not stuffed, put the tip of the meat thermometer in the thigh muscle just above and beyond the lower part of the thigh bone pointing toward the body. Don't let it actually hit the bone.

Your turkey will be done when your meat thermometer reads:

* 80 to 185 degrees F deep in the thigh; also, juices should be clear, not pink when thigh muscle is pierced deeply.
* 170 to 175 degrees F in the thickest part of the breast, just above the rib bones.
* 160 to 165 degrees F in the center of the stuffing, if turkey is stuffed.

As long as your thermometer reads these temperatures, your turkey is done. Don't keep cooking it! You should now have the perfectly-cooked turkey and will keep all your guests happy!

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One Turkey Brine Recipe

By David Liu

Thanksgiving day is coming and turkey recipes are everywhere. Here I am going to offer you a great turkey brine recipe and help you understand the recipe so that you may make some turkey recipes yourselves for your next Thanksgiving day.

First, to make a turkey brine solution, you need some water, which serves as a medium in which you mix all types ingredients you want to use. Water serves also as a carrier to deliver all the ingredients onto the turkey meat. Basically there are three types of ingredients you need to make some attractive aroma.

The first ingredient is protein which can come from vegetable stock or any other protein source. This is not essential because turkey is high in protein. However, protein here is not just for the roasting and help you get brown color. It can give you some taste.

The second ingredient is sugar, which can be brown sugar, or honey, high fructose corn syrup, maltose, and fructose. You can use one or two or a combination of more sugars. Different combinations will have different impacts on the turkey roast flavor note and color. Please note that you should not use too much of any sugar.

The roasting process will induce a reaction called browning reaction or Maillard reaction, which in this case will create some roast flavor note and brown color.

The third ingredient is spices or flavorings. The commonly used include black peppercorns, allspice berries, chopped ginger among others. Obviously these are to give you some unique flavor to your turkey. These are very important and can be as important as salt.

The last, maybe the most important ingredient is salt, which is the major ingredient that delivers the taste or saltiness without which meat does not taste much as meat. Table salt here can also enhance the browning reaction and play a role in the roasting process. Some turkey brine recipes use kosher salt, which is not necessarily a better choice.

One example of turkey brine recipe formulated for 15 pounds of turkey is given below. You can adjust it if you feel comfortable enough to do so.

Light brown sugar - 1 cup or honey 2 cups;
Apple juice - 2 teaspoons
Vegetable stock - 1 gallon
Black pepper or peppercorns - 1 tablespoon
Allspice or allspice berries - 1.5 teaspoons
Chopped ginger, powder or fresh - 1.5 teaspoons
Salt - 1 cup
Iced water - 1 gallon

With this turkey brine recipe, you combine all ingredients in a large stockpot and heat all the content to the boiling point of water. Then remove the turkey brine from the heat, cool to room temperature and refrigerate. Please note that you should never use the warm or hot brine for your turkey. That is not the way you brine your turkey.

Before you use your turkey brine solution, the turkey needs to be thawed in a refrigerator or a cooler kept at under 40 degree F. Please note that the process may take a couple of days. Before cooking a turkey, you need to thaw it a couple of days prior to roasting.

When do you brine your turkey? You should brine your turkey early enough to allow the ingredients to work their way into the turkey. It is recommended that you should brine your turkey 12 to 24 hours prior to roasting your bird.

To brine your turkey, simply combine the brine, water and ice in a 5-gallon bucket and place your thawed turkey with all innards removed in the brine solution. Make sure the whole bird is fully immersed, covered and refrigerated or set in a cool place for at least at least 8 hours.

While you wait for the bringing to be finished, prepare your flavorings using a turkey stuffing recipe. This is to give your turkey a boost of flavor inside out. One example of a turkey stuffing recipe (okay, this may not be really a stuffing recipe). Let us call it a flavor booster which can consist of the following:

1 apple sliced, red, green or whatever
0.5 an onion, sliced
4 sprigs rosemary
1 cinnamon stick
6 dried leaves of sage
1 cup of water
Some canola oil

Assume you have already brined your turkey. Now take your bird out of the brine solution, rinse inside and out with water, and place it on a roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and use cheesecloth to pat dry the turkey. But don't use paper towels, which are not necessarily food graded.

Now mix the apple, onion, cinnamon, and water and microwave it on high for five minutes. Then add steeped booster to your turkey's cavity and also the sage and rosemary. Tuck the wings underneath the turkey and coat the skin with canola oil. Please note that the oil is important as it can minimize the loss of moisture and help keep the meat tender and juicy. Now it is time to place the bird to an oven preheated to 500 oF.

Cooking a turkey

Keep your turkey in the preheated oven for 30 minutes and then insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and lower the temperature to 350 oF. Make sure to monitor the inner temperature is no higher than 160 to 170 oF. For a bird with about 15 pounds, it may need 2 to 2.5 hours of roasting. After you finish cooking your turkey, let it stand for 20 minutes before carving to allow juices to set so the turkey will carve more easily.

Good luck and have a great Thanksgiving day. If the turkey recipe works for you, come back to visit us again.

For the safety issue, please read Roast turkey safely for thanksgiving day

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