Turkey tips for a beautiful Thanksgiving bird! November 23 2016

Riemer Family Farm-Turkey Tips

Whether you're tackling a Thanksgiving turkey for the first or hundredth time, our top tips will ensure your big bird is the best it can be. Adapted from foodnetwork.com

1. Thawing a frozen turkey requires patience. The safest method is to thaw turkey in the refrigerator. Be sure to plan ahead — it takes approximately 4-5 days for a 20-pound turkey to fully defrost.

2. For crisper skin, unwrap the turkey the day before roasting and leave it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight.

3. Plan on 15-20 minutes per pound in a 350 degree F oven for a defrosted turkey.

4. A turkey will cook more evenly if it is not densely stuffed. Consider adding flavor by loosely filling the cavity with aromatic vegetables — carrots, celery, onion or garlic work nicely — or by carefully tucking fresh herbs underneath the breast skin. For the stuffing lovers, cook the dressing in a casserole dish on the side.

5. Before roasting, coat the outside of the turkey with vegetable or olive oil, season with salt and pepper and tightly cover the breast with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning (it will be removed in step 7).

6. Don't be a peeping Tom (pun intended)! Once you get the turkey in the oven, resist the temptation to open the oven door and admire your handiwork. When the oven temperature fluctuates, you're only increasing the likelihood of a dry bird. About 45 minutes before you think the turkey is done, remove the foil from the breast to allow it to brown.

7. Remove the turkey from the oven and use an instant-read thermometer to determine temperature; it should read 165 degrees F at the thigh when it's done. If you stuff your turkey, check the internal temperature of the stuffing as well; it should be at least 165 degrees. PASTURED TURKEYS TEND TO COOK FASTER.  Your meat thermometer is your best friend when it comes to cooking poultry.

8. Tent the bird with foil and let rest for about 25 minutes before carving. If you need more time to make gravy, heat up side dishes, etc., you can let the turkey set for up to an hour without losing too much heat.

9. Remember to carve your turkey with a very sharp or electric knife.

Learn more specifically about pasture raised birds at this Mother Earth News article 

Another method I like is starting the turkey in high heat for the first 20 minutes then lowering the temp for the rest of the time.  Here is a link to an old NY Times article on that method.

Thank you for purchasing your turkey from us!  We would love your feedback or post your beautifully cooked turkey pictures on our facebook page. Happy Thanksgiving!

Jen & Bryce Riemer

Note* We raise Broad Breasted Bronze turkeys which we have found to be superior in taste.  If you find a few dark pin feathers remaining this is normal.  It is nearly impossible to get every single one out.  They can usually be removed easily with a knife or tweezers if you do not like the look of them.