Are you worried about having a wonderful Turkey on Thanksgiving Day? Did you buy a big enough bird? Will it thaw out in time? These are just some of the common questions about preparing a turkey dinner. I’ll answer them plus give you a few different resources that you have in your back pocket, so to speak, in case something unexpected comes up that isn’t covered here.
How big a turkey should I get?
How big a turkey you need depends on the number of guests as well as whether or not you want leftovers. A good rule of thumb is about one pound per person. If you are just serving turkey breast instead of a whole turkey, you can figure on one half pound per person.
How long does it take for a turkey to defrost?
The best way to let a turkey defrost is in the refrigerator. Generally, the defrosting requires one whole day for every four pounds of frozen turkey. Of course, a more expensive fresh turkey will save you the trouble of defrosting.
Is basting a turkey required?
Personally, I think that basting does make a difference, although some experts disagree with me. Frequent basting can reduce the oven temperature, so a longer cook time might be needed. There are other methods for keeping a turkey moist, including using an enclosed oven bag or brining the turkey.
How do can I tell when the turkey is done? Some turkeys come with one of those little pop up indicators, which can help. But if you buy your turkey fresh from the farm like we usually do, you are on your own.
The safest place to test is in the thickest part of the thigh, the part just where the breast begins. Insert a meat thermometer in this spot. It should read around 165 degrees.