Perfect Food, Picnic, Tailgate, & Backyard Recipes and more...
Google
 
Web Alan's Kitchen Recipes

Recipe Index | FUN Trivia Quiz | Menu Ideas | Grocery Saving Tips | BEST Places to Picnic | Alan's Kitchen BLOG

Home >> Food >> Meats

Ladybug Go Green Gardens
Find Easy Ways to Green Your Garden
Articles, Pics, Tips, Ideas & More?
Go Green @ Ladybug Veggie Gardens

Food, Cooking, Picnic, Tailgate, & Backyard Recipes plus more...

 
 
 
 
 

Turkey

Turkey is a large, widely domesticated North American bird with white plumage and a bare, wattled head and neck. The name turkey was originally applied to an African bird now known as the guinea fowl, which was believed to have originated in Turkey. When the Europeans came upon the American turkey, they thought it was the same bird as the African guinea fowl, and so gave it the name turkey, although the two species are quite distinct. Turkeys are traditionally eaten at Christmas in Britain, and Thanksgiving in the United States.

Raw turkey skin color is off white to cream-colored. Under the skin the color ranges from a pink to a lavender blue depending on the amount of fat just under the skin.

If the turkey has reached an internal temperature of 180 F (82 C) as measured in the thigh, it should be safe to eat. When there is a pink color in safely cooked turkey, it is due to the myoglobin in tissues which can form a heat-stable color. This can also happen when smoking, grilling or oven cooking a turkey.

How to buy a turkey

Fresh turkeys are considered the best but are very expensive compared with frozen. Often, during holiday seasons, a fresh turkey needs to be ordered in advance from a butcher or meat counter at a supermarket. Frozen turkeys can be bought well ahead of time from a supermarket. If a turkey is frozen it must be properly defrosted inside a refrigerator or cooler before cooking.

How to buy a turkey

Fresh turkeys are considered the best but are very expensive compared with frozen. Often, during holiday seasons, a fresh turkey needs to be ordered in advance from a butcher or meat counter at a supermarket. Frozen turkeys can be bought well ahead of time from a supermarket. If a turkey is frozen it must be properly defrosted inside a refrigerator or cooler before cooking.

Defrosting safely

Even though a frozen turkey is a veritable meat glacier, it is still quite possible it may be warm enough for bacteria to grow on its surface and meat yet still have a frozen center. A turkey with a frozen center will not cook properly thereby increasing the risk of food poisoning. For this reason, it is essential to thoroughly defrost the turkey correctly.

The best method

The bird should be placed in a tray in the bottom of a refrigerator, and left for at least 5 hours per pound. A typical turkey will take around three days to defrost. Some home cooks report that 5 hours per pound is far too optimistic for a large turkey. (this is because the surface area, through which heat is gained, increases with the square of the length while the volume of meat increases with the cube of the length).

A quick method

In the event that a turkey is purchased at the last minute and needs to be defrosted very quickly, the bird can be unwrapped, and placed in a bowl of cold water. The water needs to changed every half hour or so to keep the temperature above freezing. On no account should warm water be used. It is dangerous and will encourage bacteria to grow on the skin of the turkey.

Safe cooking

When cooking a whole turkey, use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh. The internal temperature should reach a minimum of 180 F (82 C). For optimum safety and uniform doneness, it is recommended to cook stuffing outside the bird. If stuffing the bird, the center of the stuffing must reach 165 F (74 C). Turkey breast should reach 170 F (77 C). Drumsticks, thighs and wings should be cooked until they reach an internal temperature of 180 F (82 C).

Consult the following information for safe turkey cooking directions.

How to carve a turkey

A turkey, like all meat should not be carved as soon as it is cooked, but should be left for about 1/2 an hour to an hour to rest. Covering the bird while resting will keep it warmer and result in less drying out. This improves the texture, and allows the turkey to be handled without burning the fingers.

The breast is the easiest part to carve, and is widely considered the best to eat when freshly cooked. There are two methods of carving the breast.

  • Slide a sharp knife down one side of the breastbone and remove half the breast in one swoop. Carve this boneless slab of meat crosswise in thick slices.

  • To carve the breast at the table, hold the turkey with a carving fork and slice parallel to the breast bone. This method is easier if you remove the wishbone before cooking the bird. That way the knife can cut through the meat and the stuffing giving a very large slice of turkey and stuffing.

Serving suggestions

For Christmas in Britain, turkey is traditionally served with cranberry jelly, bread sauce and winter vegetables including roast potatoes, Brussel sprouts, and parsnips. Sometimes sausage meat that has been wrapped in bacon is also served.

For Thanksgiving in the United States, turkey is traditionally served with cranberry sauce and gravy. Other items vary, but common complimentary dishes include mashed potatoes, biscuits, dinner rolls, black olives, various vegetables such as corn, squash, sweet potatoes, and various types of pies for dessert (such as pumpkin, apple and pecan).

 
Powered by ... All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
E-mail | AlansKitchen Privacy Policy