Preparing for Turkey day!

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Feb 9, 2010
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I have 21 people to cook for... Pray for me!

My biggest problem was that Thanksgiving will be at my uncle's house. It was a "I will do all of the work if you are willing to host" type deal.

So, the question was.. How can I cook enough turkey for 21 people. Most turkeys that I can get are around the 20 pound size. Not enough, I'm afraid. I could cook 2 of them, but that simply would not fit into my uncle's oven.

So, this Saturday, while I was in the grocery store, the lights suddenly dimmed, angel's voices started to sing, and a bright aura beamed from the pile of frozen turkeys. There, sitting on top of the pile, was a 30 pound turkey!!!

More an ostrich than a turkey, it was the only one (amongst a hundred) that was even close to that size! I quickly grabbed it before anyone else saw it. As I placed it into my shopping cart, I distinctly heard the cart groan under the newly applied weight. Glorious!!!!

Now I just need to figure on how long to cook it. At 20 minutes per pound, this bird will take 10 hours.

How is everyone else's plans going??
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We cook a 23 to 25 lb every year, only have 8 people but everyone gets to take leftovers home, and yes they insist on turkey to take home. I start mine the night before in a roasting pan in a cooking bag and cook it all night @ 225 to 250 (depends on who starts the cooker), by 9pm it's falling off the bone. We don't eat the skin so I don't bother browning it. I slice it up and put it in a pan with some of the juice and too it back in the oven to keep warm.

Some kind of good
I second the cooking bags. It reduces cooking time and keeps everything very very moist. Just in case you are not the type to actually read instructions you need to poke several holes into the bag to permit some steam to escape.
(I recommended these to a friend who didn't read instructions and wasn't happy. She didn't tell me what exactly happened but she had to go back to the store to buy another turkey and start over).

I've been using those bags for years and love them.

Pam in cinti
Wow, I wonder what my friend did wrong. It really does say to vent in the instructions. I only poke holes midline since I flip the bird over for the last half hour or so of cooking in order to get as much juice as possible into the normally drier breast sections.

I honestly had visions of exploding bags or something. No idea what happened, but she was not happy at all.

Pam in cinti
do yourself a favor and cook the bird upside down. The dark meat with all the juices will cook first and let the juices run down through the stuffing in the bird. The juices then end up in the breast, making the white meat moist and flavored from the stuffing. Just make sure you know where to look for the pop timer.....
I'm about to prepare for next year. I think if I put in a cranberry wine it will be ready to take maybe two bottles to be thankful for next year. then The next few years I'll probably be more and more thankful every year there after. My question is, to oak or not to oak cranberry wine?
My family and I are headed to a friend's house, so we'll be a total of 17 people. My hubby is making the pumpkin pies.

We do the turkey bag, too. That's a great idea about turning it upside down to make the white meat more juicy!

@Whitehrs I made one of the Island Mist Cranberry Malbec kits for my first one. It doesn't have oak, but it also doesn't have much in the way of complexity. I would oak it put half the f-pack in during fermentation if I were to do it again. I am going to open a bottle of that to see how it tastes and whether I will take it with me on Thanksgiving.
I like to use the "diaper method".

The issue is that the breast will always cook faster than the dark meat. Either the dark meat is under cooked, or the breast meat is dry as the Sahara desert.

The diaper method slows down the cooking of the breast so that the turkey ends up evenly cooked.

I take a large sheet of tin foil and fold it up much like you would fold up a flag, ending up with a large triangle of several foil layers. I then mold the triangle over just the breast, leaving the drumsticks exposed. This "diaper" slows down the cooking of the breast.


I then cook at 325 until done (internal temp of 160) and let rest (covered) for 20 minutes minimum. Juicy and delicious!

I just never tried it on a bird this big before!
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Well I guess I'm the only poster who doesn't cook a turkey for Thanksgiving. Several years ago, we started cooking a rib roast. This year, I plan to cook it on my Green Egg with oak chips. I have a good Paula Deen recipe that creates some really good prime rib.
A word of warning . . a 30 LB bird is big. You might want to do a test run before cooking day to be sure that the bird fits in whatever (oven/roaster) you are planning to cook it it. I learned the hard way that our oven will not accommodate a bird bigger than 25-26 LBs.

Thanksgiving is one of the best days of the whole year. Well, next to bottling day.
I deep fry mine can't beat 3 min a lb I do 2 15lb turkeys and always have plenty 10-12 people.
Bacon wrapped filet for Thanksgiving day. Kids both go to the other relatives for that day, come to our house on Sat. for turkey and all the trimmings. Oldest grandson likes this arrangement. Stretches eating time out. He never seems to stop eating. Have a great holiday everybody, drink some wine and stay safe. Arne.
just the two of us this year...we are still doing two 20# birds and 4 pans of dressing. We love turkey and dressing! We will make about 30 vacuum bags and freeze. Boil a pot of water throw in a frozen bag and open a can of green beans...near instant dinners.

Christmas we do hams with scalloped potatoes and freeze meals. 4th of July is smoked briskets and chickens. New Year's is chilli & stew making time as we use up last years meats. We love big batch cooking!
There will be 14 of us, only a few who really like turkey, so we have on order a 6-8lb. bone in turkey breast. This will go on the rotisserie, in the oven will be a rib roast Of course all of the required sides and desserts and wine to make you repeat "I can't believe I ate the whole thing"

Gobble Gobble
Me being jamaican we eat, you guessed it, jerk turkey for thanksgiving. We've never had the issue of the bird fitting in the oven because we don't cook it in an oven
Last year we did Thanksgiving for 42 at our fire department banquet hall. We cooked 2 22lb turkeys and a 14 lb ham. One was baked and one was deep fried. Had mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, peas, carrots, stuffing, and all the other goodies. I think I peeled 35 lbs of potatoes. We also invited the police officers and who were working as well as the EMS crew that was on duty in the borough.

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