Thanksgiving - The Perfect Turkey
I’m a Thanksgiving traditionalist. I endorse the classic harvest feast of roast turkey, corn bread stuffing, giblet gravy, and cranberry sauce. I also urge you to buy a fresh killed bird. Turkeys that live into the cooler fall weather are firmer and more flavorful. Frozen turkeys, packaged in the summertime, start out flabby, then lose whatever tone they had when they’re defrosted. In fact, you could be getting a turkey that was stored in a commercial freezer for a year. Frozen birds look good because they’re corseted by plastic wrap into a shape they just don't have. That basting "butter" injected into the turkeys is, really, only vegetable oil. Add to this the inevitable water loss from defrosting, and you have a tasteless, dried out end product. Fresh turkey is the only way to go. …and they’re not that much more expensive.
When ordering your turkey, one pound per person is about right – but don't waste your time on a bird smaller than 8 pounds. If you’re a small group, a capon or goose will do. But if you've got a big crowd, don't get a turkey that weighs over 25 pounds. Two 15 pounders will be easier to deal with and better tasting than one 30 pound monster. Be sure that whatever size you get fits in your oven and you have the right size roasting pans. Get your turkey a day or two before Thanksgiving. Re wrap when home, and when ready to cook it, rinse and pat it dry with paper towels. Sprinkle inside and out with salt and pepper. Place in a shallow roasting pan, breast side up, on a V shaped adjustable rack.