Late Thanksgiving? Still Some Tips for Turkey Day and Removing That Metal Thing.

Former title: Preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner Ahead of Time - And Tips for Thanksgiving Day and Removing Metal Thing from Turkey

Based on this page's visitors' activity, the three most popular turkey days are US Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter; in that order. Canadian Thanksgiving and US Columbus Day also show increased activity.

This is both a serious and somewhat humorous page on getting ready for and preparing for Thanksgiving dinner early and ahead of time for a change. Also includes tips for Thanksgiving Day itself., and includes info about removing that metal thing. Also some worthy food safety tips.

Re: Metal Thing... If you are here just about getting rid of the metal thing, here is a direct expanded description. Or you can read the original description about two-thirds the way down this page under the heading, "How to Cook a Turkey - The Day", starting at Step 4.

Thanksgiving / Christmas / Easter Turkey Cooking Instructions and Recipe
Thanksgiving / Christmas / Easter Turkey Cooking Instructions and Recipe | Source

Turkey Recipe Time - How to Give Yourself the Bird - The Intro

Well, the time is approaching. Once again it is you versus The Bird (film at eleven). The contest is simple; one of you is going to become the turkey. Will it be you, i.e., in the hospital with food poisoning? Or will it be your formerly feathered friend? The other major item to remember is that a non-overcooked turkey is a delicious turkey.

This recipe is for the beginner cook. Information for this article was compiled from personal experiences and government resources.

There is a rumor that this turkey recipe works equally well on non holidays.

Yes it does.
Yes it does. | Source
You didn't overcook it, did you?
You didn't overcook it, did you? | Source

How to Cook a Turkey Recipe Time - The Beginning

Your first step is stress reduction. All you have to do to accomplish this is to plan ahead and start getting things done early. Start planning your turkey dinner menu. Start buying the non-perishable, canned-goods part of your meal. No special trips required; just start picking up the items during your regular shopping. Put them all in their own special shelf section. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, you will have everything you need. Every time you think of a perishable item, write it down on a list.

Your next step is deciding whether the guest of honor is obtained fresh or frozen; and how big he is going to be.

If you like having lots of leftovers that you can freeze and munch on for months, then get the biggest turkey that you think your oven, refrigerator, and the rest of your kitchen can handle. Otherwise, guesstimate around a pound per person; make it a pound-and-a-half for pre-stuffed turkeys. Depending on the type of turkey you buy, this will result in varying amounts of leftovers for maybe a week.

Fresh or Frozen?

If you are thinking about buying a frozen turkey, there are really only two things to keep in mind:

1. Will it fit in the freezer?

2. Are you willing to put up with the major aggravation of thawing it?

If you are buying a fresh turkey, do not buy more than 1-2 days before cooking.

There have been government warnings to not buy pre-stuffed fresh turkeys.

How to Cook a Turkey Recipe Time - The Thaw

In the refrigerator:

Do not unwrap turkey. It will take a day for each 4-5 pounds of turkey to thaw; unfortunately this is a very rough estimate. Once thawed, 1-2 days is the safety limit before cooking.

When putting the turkey in the refrigerator: triple bag it in 3 of those disposable plastic grocery store carryout bags; otherwise, your odds are 50:50 that the bottom of your refrigerator will be soaked in turkey blood. Apparently, turkey packaging isn't what it used to be.

In cold water:

Submerge the turkey in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes. Thawing time is one hour for each two pounds of turkey. You must cook immediately after thawing.

In the microwave:

This option is only available if the turkey is not too large. Follow the microwave’s instruction manual and the information on the turkey label as to the defrosting logistics. Once again, cook immediately after thawing.

Before | Source

How to Cook a Turkey Recipe Time - Preparation the Day before Thanksgiving

A Final Check:

1. Do you have all the ingredients for the entire meal?

2. Do you have a roasting pan that the turkey will fit in?

3. Do you have a food thermometer?

4. Do you have a pair of pliers? A regular pair of pliers and wire cutters will do when you are dealing with a plastic "hook" in the turkey. If you are dealing with a metal "hook", then you will preferably want vise-grips pliers.

Stuffing Preparation:

It is safe to prepare the stuffing the day before the meal. However, the wet and dry stuffing must be stored separately in the refrigerator. Do not mix them. Do not put in turkey.

Kitchen Preparation:

1. All dishes and silverware washed.

2. Rest of kitchen organized.

3. Sink has been cleaned and is ready for the Big Bird Drop.

4. Lots of Kleenex and paper towels.

5. Plastic-lined trash receptacles on stand-by.

After | Source

How to Cook a Turkey - The Day

The Countdown:

1. Inform the dog that the kitchen is off limits today. Ditto the cat. Clean the kitchen floor so you don't feel bad when the turkey falls on it.

2. Unwrap the turkey in the sink.

3. You might want to save the wrapping if there are cooking instructions on it, otherwise immediately throw away all wrapping materials (food bacteria contamination issue).

[Side note: If you are dealing with the pesky plastic thing instead of the pesky metal thing, do the following. You can easily snip through the plastic parts that are holding the legs together with a pair of wire cutters or possibly even scissors. Then open up the turkey as wide as possible and fish around until you find the thick part of the remaining plastic thing farther down. Simply grab the thick part of the plastic thing with a pair of regular pliers and twist, turn, and pull on it until it comes out. Problem solved.]

If removing the metal thing...

4. Pry the turkey legs loose from the pesky metal thing. Using a large screwdriver as a crowbar works perfectly as a lever for this. A pair of closed, large scissors might also work; just be sure the scissors are big enough and thick enough that you don't bend and ruin them.

5. If possible, take everything out of the turkey. Reach into turkey and find the prongs of the metal thing. Squeeze them together, you might be able to unhook them from the turkey.

6. Wash hands and pick up the pliers (preferably large vise-grips). Clamp onto the metal thing embedded in the turkey.

7. Holding the turkey down on the counter, repeatedly yank on the metal thing away from the turkey several times. If you are lucky, the metal thing will eventually come out and the problem is solved. Otherwise...

* The next two steps are only for the healthy and fairly strong. If you do not qualify, then have someone help you. *

7.1. Use the pliers clamped to the metal thing to lift up turkey over sink.

8. Rapidly lower turkey and then suddenly yank back up. Repeat if necessary.

9. Set the pliers and the pesky metal thing aside.

10. Pick turkey up off floor and put back in sink, clean floor.

11. Rinse off turkey and if unable to do so earlier, remove everything from inside the turkey.

12. Clean everything that has been food bacteria contaminated so far, including your hands, the pliers, the screw driver, and the faucet knobs.

13. Mix the stuffing ingredients and place in turkey. The stuffing should be stuffed loosely and moist.

14. Place in roasting pan and immediately begin cooking.

15. Clean the sink (food bacteria contamination issue).

Turkey Roasting Timetables (Temperature at 325 Degrees Fahrenheit):

[Side note. There might be cooking instructions right on the turkey packaging. They could well be worth following. After all, their objective is to get you to buy the same brand next time.]

Cooking Times (approximate) – Unstuffed:

  • 8-12 pounds: 2.75 - 3.00 hours
  • 12-14 pounds: 3.00 - 3.75 hours
  • 14-18 pounds: 3.75 - 4.25 hours
  • 18-20 pounds: 4.25 – 4.50 hours
  • 20-24 pounds: 4.50 – 5.00 hours

Cooking Times (approximate) – Stuffed:

  • 8-12 pounds: 3.00 – 3.50 hours
  • 12-14 pounds: 3.50 – 4.00 hours
  • 14-18 pounds: 4.00 - 4.25 hours
  • 18-20 pounds: 4.25 – 4.75 hours
  • 20-24 pounds: 4.75 – 5.25 hours

Using a food thermometer to check turkey:

A temperature of 165 degrees must be attained throughout the whole bird. Check the temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast to ascertain this. The stuffing must also have reached a temperature of 165 degrees.

Important Note: An overcooked turkey is a tough, dry turkey.

Let turkey rest for 20 minutes after removing from oven. Remove stuffing and prepare turkey for the dinner table and carving.

Storing Leftovers

Leftovers must be put in refrigerator or freezer within 2 hours of cooking.

Do not wrap turkey leftovers with aluminum foil; unwanted chemical reactions can result.

Refrigerated leftovers must be eaten within 3-4 days or put in freezer.

May all your turkeys be awesome.

Thanksgiving - Christmas - Easter Turkey Cooking Instructions and Recipe.
Thanksgiving - Christmas - Easter Turkey Cooking Instructions and Recipe. | Source

Please share this information so as to help others. The more people who are knowledgeable, the better off we all are.

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jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom

I'm so glad this hub was about turkey! A very funny hub which almost had me in tears. (In a good way!) Thanks for sharing your hilarious turkey cooking guide. Voted up and very funny.

gnik 5 years ago

Clever article and entertaining. Much of the advice was good related to preparation. Unfortunately, the turkey time roasting tables is definitely the old fashioned way of roasting a turkey. These temps and times will give unpredictable results. Sometimes, the bird will be great. But other times one will get meat that is way too dry, way too tough, or sometimes even both. As one who has roasted many turkeys, both the way you suggest and other ways recommended by more up to date chefs, I can say there are other ways that will produce a much more enjoyable and tasty bird.

Hollie Thomas profile image

Hollie Thomas 4 years ago from United Kingdom


Only you could write a hub about cooking a Thanksgiving turkey and leave me in hysterics at the end. Thank you for this, and the much needed giggle. :)

Lionrhod profile image

Lionrhod 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

Great hub! I especially loved the bit on informing the dog and cat and washing the floor. Stuck this on my pinterest food board too. Up, funny and useful!

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