Just a few more things about buying your bird. I’m not going to go into cooking methods – there are plenty of other sites for that.
Don’t pick up a frozen bird on Wednesday and expect it to be ready to cook on Thursday morning. A 14 pound turkey will take three days to thaw in the fridge. You can speed the process a bit by leaving it in a cold-water bath in the sink all day on Wednesday, but for safety’s sake, you must change the water every hour, and put it back in the fridge when you go to bed. Save the hassle by bringing it home a week before and putting it directly into the refrigerator. It will thaw in 3 to 4 days, and it will be fine for it to sit in there until you are ready to cook it. Be sure to put it in a pan – it will leak.
Re-think the giant bird. I know, it looks so Norman Rockwell, having the entire extended family gathered around one enormous turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. The reality of cooking a bird that weighs more than 20 pounds is a bit less romantic. Many modern ovens are not even big enough to hold them,and they never cook evenly (forget about turning them over!) Why not do 2 smaller birds? 12 to 14 pounders are the most common size, roast well and are easy to handle. Just think, four drumsticks instead of two!
I’ll do one more turkey-buying post, either tomorrow or this afternoon, on label terminology. Three years out of the business, I need to scope out what they’ve added so I can let you in on the industry’s secret code. Check back later!