tea berry-blue (teaberryblue) wrote,
tea berry-blue

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Thanksgiving Tip of the Day: Prepping your Turkey, With Photos

So, to give you a sample of Google strings that have landed people at my blog today, we have:

do i need to put my turkey in a bag if i brine it?

No, you do not. You can put your turkey the long way into a really big stock pot. You can also buy a big plastic rubbermaid container or cooler and fill that with brine. But bagging it is the easiest way. Here’s how:

Get 2 heavy duty garbage bags and place one inside the other. Put them inside your turkey roastin pan. Take your cleaned, unwrapped turkey and put it in the bottom of the innermost bag. Keeping the bag upright and the opening to the top, pour in your brine solution. Now tie the bags shut and put the whole thing in your fridge. This is even easier with a brining bag, which is like a giant Ziploc. But garbage bags will do in a pinch!

thaw 26 lbs turkey in a day and half

Seriously, THREE different people got to my blog using this search string. SERIOUSLY. Guys. You might have wanted to look this up last week because you seriously need a day for every five lbs of turkey. So you should have started on Saturday.

If you are desperate, though, I will be nice. Take that sucker and clean out a giant rubber container or a big ass cooler. Run your tap to cold and fill it up. Put the turkey inside. Change the water after an hour. Keep doing this for 13 hours. Now your turkey is thawed.

should i take the bag out of the turkey

No, cook it with the PLASTIC BAG inside it. The PLASTIC melts, ENHANCING THE FLAVOR of your turkey.


can you brine a turkey in its plastic wrapping

Um. Since the plastic wrapping would PREVENT THE BRINE FROM GETTING IN, the answer is no.

a really big turkey


So it seems like people might need a little more help with their turkeys. It’s pretty late at night, but even if you are brining your bird, there is still time. I’m going to take you step by step through the cleaning process.

Here are some steps to prepare and get to know your turkey.

1) Take a look at it while it’s still in the wrapper.


The left side is the head and the right side is the tail. The turkey is on its back. The side pointing up is its breast. That’s the delicious white meat! The big hole on the tail side is normally referred to a the “cavity” in recipes and that is where the stuffing will go.

2) If you have a big sink, put the turkey in the sink before continuing. If you don’t, you can use your roasting pan, a rubber tub, a cooler, a really big bowl, or even your bath tub. Just make sure that your sink-tub-cooler-thing is cleaned out really really well and rinsed down with cold water if you cleaned it with soap.

Remember while you are moving your turkey around that turkeys are animals. They are pretty touch and can take some abuse. The skin won’t even rib unless you actually cut into it, tug at it, or abrade it pretty roughly. Don’t worry about being too gentle with it.

Good? Good!

3) Now you are going to cut open the turkey wrapper. Start with a very clean pair of scissors. Wash them with dish soap and hot water. Now cut into the plastic starting at the cavity, like this:


It’s the easiest place to cut into!

Now point your scissors toward the other end of the turkey and, being careful not to cut the flesh of the turkey, cut all the way to the other side, like this:


Peel away the plastic, and remove it completely from the turkey. Discard it!

Great. Now you have a big, naked turkey in your sink (or tub or bowl or whatever).

4) Now you need to take out the giblets. The giblets are turkey organs– usually the neck and heart, and sometimes the liver, are included inside the turkey, for you to use to make stock or to chop up and cook in the gravy.

To take them out, reach your hand into the cavity. Don’t be shy!


Some turkeys will have the giblets wrapped in a plastic bag all together, but other turkeys will have them loose. I didn’t get a liver in mine this year, but just so you can identify them, here’s the heart:


And here’s the neck:


Rinse them off in the sink and put them in a plastic baggie in your fridge!

5) Next you will want to wash the turkey off. If your sink or tub has a spray or shower nozzle on a hose, use that. Make sure the water is COLD– do not use hot water! Rinse the turkey thoroughly, pulling back the wings (you know what those are, right? They look like giant chicken wings), and then tip the turkey up so it is cavity-side-up. Run cold water into the cavity and dump it all out. Just wash the whole thing until you don’t see any more red running off of it.

If you are NOT brining your turkey, this is the point where you will want to take it and pat it dry. Use clean dish cloths or paper towels and pat off all the excess moisture. If you’re brining it, you’re about to dunk it in a vat of water, so no sweat.

6) Now pull the turkey ot of the sink and put it on a prepared prep surface. This can be a counter, table, or even the floor, prepared with a wooden board, rubber mat, old tablecloth, play doh play mat, whatever you have handy.

7) Take a very careful look over your bird. Turn it over and look at it in all directions. This is a good way to familiarize yourself with how a turkey looks and feels, but you are also– surprise– looking for feathers! They don’t always all get taken off, and sometimes they only get half-taken off.

Here’s what one looks like:



It will normally just look like a little white or brown thread (depending on your turkey variety) hanging off your turkey. Sometimes it will just be the little itty quill from the feather– you’ll be able to feel it because it will feel like a thin plastic straw. Look all over your turkey. Don’t be surprised to find up to a dozen of these little feathers. They are most likely going to be in the hard-to-see places, like under the wings or around the cavity. Don’t get too worried, though– it won’t kill anyone if they eat one. Get as many of them as you can.

Great! Now your turkey is ready for prepping! If you’re not ready to prep it yet– for example, if you’re salt-rubbing it, don’t do that till Wednesday night– then you can put it in its roasting pan and cover it up with plastic wrap or a towel. If you are brining it, you can brine it right away!

Give yourself a good half-hour to prep the turkey from beginning to end. It might go quicker than that but that allows you the time to look for feathers and to be slow and careful so you don’t drop it– turkeys are heavy!

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

Tags: cooking, food, food and drink, how-to, thanksgiving, turkey
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