VISUAL GUIDE TO POPULAR TURKEY CUTS OF MEAT

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Ground Turkey Meat

Usually sold in pre-wrapped packages of 1 or 2 lbs. A great, lean substitute for other ground meats, can be purchased with varying levels of percent fat content to fit the goals of your favorite recipe.

CHEF TIP: Place ground turkey burgers 3 to 4 inches from heat source. Turn burgers halfway through, cook to internal temp of 165 degrees F.

SAUTE: Cook over medium-high heat until no pink remains.

BROIL: Cook over high heat until no pink remains.

GRILL: Cook over medium heat until no pink remains.


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Turkey Wings, Drumsticks, & Drummettes

The easiest and fastest cuts to cook, they love any kind of sauce you can dream up for them.

CHEF TIP: Cook to internal temp of 165 degrees F for wings and 175 degrees F for drumsticks. Turn parts at least once during cooking to ensure uniform cooking.

BAKE, ROAST or BRAISE: Cook at 350 degrees F until tender and browned.

PAN or DEEP FRY: Cook at 350 degrees F until tender and browned.


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Turkey Breast Cutlet

Half of the turkey breast is filleted off the bone and is often cut into smaller portions for easier, more even cooking. This is one of the most versatile cuts and works well with breading.

PAN FRY, SEAR or SAUTE: Cook over medium-high heat for at least two minutes per side. When done cutlets will be lightly browned, cook to internal temp of 165 degrees F.

  

CLICK HERE for a poster that shows you all the various cuts that you can get from a whole turkey.


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THAWING TURKEY

Thawing a whole bird can be a bit of a daunting task.  A quick search on the net will bring up a half dozen methods and so many tips, it can be hard to know what the best method might just be.  Through our time in the kitchen we have settled on the following two methods as being the best ways to thaw a whole turkey. These methods should result in a perfectly tasty turkey that is properly cooked.

Refrigerator Method

The key to this method is to plan ahead and allow approximately 24 hours for every four to five pounds of bird weight for thawing in the refrigerator. Place the bird, in its original wrapping, on a shallow baking sheet in the refrigerator.

       TURKEY WEIGHT    DAYS TO ALLOW FOR THAWING  

  • 8 - 12 pounds 2 to 2.5 days

  • 12 - 16 pounds 2.5 to 4 days

  • 16 - 20 pounds 4 to 5 days

  • 20 - 24 pounds 5 to 6 days

Cold Water Method

If you need to thaw the turkey more quickly, you may thaw the bird in COLD water, in the original wrapping. The cold water must be changed every 30 minutes. Allow approximately      30 minutes per pound using this method.

    TURKEY WEIGHT       HOURS TO ALLOW FOR THAWING 

  • 8 - 12 pounds 4 to 6 hour

  • 12 - 16 pounds 6 to 8 hours

  • 16 - 20 pounds 8 to 10 hours

  • 20 - 24 pounds 10 to 12 hours


DO'S AND DON'TS OF ROASTING A WHOLE TURKEY

At some point in your life, you will roast a turkey! If you are lucky, your grandmother will have a secret family recipe for you to follow.  For the rest of us, here are some do's and dont's to take the fear out of an Amercian classic; Roast Turkey. 

DO use a meat thermometer to determine the correct degree of doneness.

DO roast turkey until the breast meat registers an internal temperature of at least 170 degrees F.

DO follow the package directions for any whole or cut turkey.

DO follow the National Turkey Federation's turkey roasting time guidelines for your bird's weight. 

WEIGHT (LBS)         TIME (UNSTUFFED)

  • 8 - 12 2.75 to 3 hours

  • 12 - 14 3 to 3.75 hours

  • 14 - 18 3.75 to 4.25 hours

  • 18 - 20 4.25 to 4.5 hours

  • 20 - 24 4.5 to 5 hours

  • 24 - 30 5 to 5.5 hours

DON'T roast turkey in an oven temperature lower than 325 degrees F.

DON'T roast turkey in a brown paper grocery bag. Present-day grocery bags may be made or recycled materials and are not considered safe for food preparation.

DON'T use stuffing when roasting turkey with high-temperature foil-wrapped methods, or on a charcoal grill. Stuffing is only suitable for open-pan or cooking bag conventional oven methods.


STORING TURKEY

RAW: When you return from the grocery with raw turkey, place it in the refrigerator. A hard chilled turkey should not be placed in the freezer. If the turkey is frozen and the thawing process does not need to begin, store in the freezer. You can store a raw whole turkey in the freezer at 0 degrees F for up to 12 months and a breast for 3 months. Raw turkey can also be refrigerated for 1-2 days.

COOKED: The leftover turkey should be carved from the bone and the stuffing removed. All leftovers should be stored in shallow containers and refridgerated or frozen within two hours of cooking.


TURKEY TIPS

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Purchase one pound of turkey per person to be served. This formula allows for the holiday meal plus a little left over to put in your favorite "leftovers recipe."  Check out our RECIPE PAGE for some great leftover turkey ideas.

Ensure that the packaging is intact and avoid purchasing a bird with packaging that has rips or tears.

A whole frozen turkey may be stored in your freezer for up to 12 months. Take advantage of grocery store sales, buy one for now and one for later.

Select alternative turkey cuts if you are having a small gathering for the holiday. You can always ask the butcher to cut a whole fresh bird into two halves, roast one half and freeze the other half for a different date.

A SHOPPERS GUIDE TO TODAY'S TURKEY CUTS & PREPARATION - A visual guide to popular turkey cuts with quick tips on how to cook various turkey cuts.

TURKEY TIPS  -  A mini guide on preparing and cooking turkey for any occasions. Includes a classic turkey gravy recipe and  Lemon Garlic Marinade.