For starters it was a bad year for turkeys…
We began with 3, one for Thanksgiving, one for Christmas and one spare to cover the feed cost. Somewhere about half way through we lost one then a few month later the second I don’t know why? They appeared healthy had good appetites and were very active so yeah not really sure what happened? Either way there was still one bird left who would probably dress out at 20-25lbs at this point so he is up…however..
Our resident bird ‘Peep’ who is more of a pet was about 1 1/2, he hangs out makes strange turkey noises and just is kind of a mascot but he had a gimp leg. The leg in question has always been a little off and has been getting worse making it difficult for him to strut around especially now that he was full grown tipping the scales at 55+lbs. So seeing the hardship that he was enduring the call was made to let him take center stage on the Thanksgiving table. After dressing him out we had a 45lb turkey! Never cooking a bird that big before I turned to Chef Keith Snow over at Harvest Eating and after a couple of emails back and forth gained the confidence that cooking a large bird is the same as cooking a small bird all you have to do is follow the same basic rules. BTW he did a great podcast dedicated to cooking a turkey if you are interested check it out here -> Cooking the Thanksgiving Turkey with Chef Keith Snow
With Thanksgiving being on a Thursday the turkey was dispatched on the prior Sunday and placed in the fridge to rest for a few days, the night before Turkey-Day right before going to bed I took it out to come up closer to room temp before going into the oven. I woke up at 5am and started to get things ready planning to pop the bird in the oven by 6am.
Basically what I did to cook the bird was layed out the largest roasting pan we had (which was too small) layered the bottom of the pan with carrots, celery, onions and a cup of water then turkey was placed on top with a thermometer probe buried deep into the breast. Everything was covered with a huge tinfoil tent.. no salt, no pepper, no herb infused butter it was kept simple. Then into a 350 degree oven until the thermometer said 140 degrees. At 140 the tinfoil was pulled off then back in until 160 degrees. Bird came out at 160, juices were drained to use for gravy and the bird was heavily tented with tinfoil and towels to keep the heat in until serving time. So how long did it take to cook? 6am -2pm at 350 and it was served about 5pm btw when we uncovered it steam rose out and everything was still hot!!
How did it turn out?
There were lots of leftovers a bunch was frozen however there were soups, sandwiches and salads made as well as at least a gallon of some supremo turkey stock that will be used later!
Here is a shot of what the bird looked like at carving time.