I’ve done many Thanksgiving turkeys over the years. Here is my shortlist of tips:
- Take advantage of the deals on frozen turkeys but stick them in your freezer for future use. For Thanksgiving spend the extra dollars and get a fresh turkey. I speak from experience: not having to worry about thawing alone makes it worth the price. Most of our local grocery chains carry them.
- If using a fresh bird, plan on either dry or wet brining. If wet brining see if the butcher counter can provide you a turkey size box. If you line the box with a food grade bag (like a Reynold’s turkey bag) it will give you a nice compact structure for brining that has a chance of fitting into a refrigerator.
- If using a frozen turkey don’t bother brining. The solutions they inject it with make brining less effective. Just thaw, season, and cook,
- Make sure you have a sturdy pan for the bird. If using foil pans, stack two for added support AND use a sheet pan underneath, otherwise you run the risk of the pans bending and bad things happening. Again I speak from experience, but even after a few years it is still too painful to think about–move along people, nothing to see here.
- Don’t over season, don’t over smoke. Your bird should taste like turkey, not like seasoning or a cigar. Use a moderate touch when seasoning and don’t use a lot of smoke wood. When in doubt, use less. We carry a lot of rubs that will work but our top three recommendations are “John Henry’s Tammy’s Herbal Rub”, Dizzy Pig’s “Mad Max Turkey”, and Dizzy Pig’s “IPA”.
Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!!