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Chef Bill McCabe
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Selecting The Right Turkey for your Holiday Meal!

November 21st, 2010 by Chef Bill

Buying the right turkey for Thanksgiving dinner involves a lot more than a quick trip to the supermarket: you have to consider how many people you’re serving, how much time the bird will need to thaw, and even whether you have enough room to store the turkey. Here’s how to get this most basic part of the holiday right.

Selecting the right turkey is essential to success of your dinner. You’ll want about 3/4 to 1 pound per person, so do the math before shopping. All turkeys in the supermarket would make good choices, as they’re all required to meet USDA standards for quality and safety. However, there are different grades out there to choose from. For your Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll definitely want to choose Grade A. Many turkeys are pre-basted, which is a great choice if you want a turkey that’s guaranteed to be moist and delicious. You will definitely want to make sure that the turkey you choose has a pop up timer. This will ensure that your turkey gets cooked to perfection. You can choose from fresh or frozen turkeys. They’re both good, but there are some benefits to buying a fresh turkey. For one, there’s no thawing time required. Also a fresh turkey is normally a little more juicer than a frozen one.

Storing Your Turkey
Proper storage is essential to health. A frozen turkey can be safely stored for a long time in the freezer; however a fresh one will only keep for a few days. So, if you choose a fresh turkey for your meal, be sure to purchase it around 2 – 3 days before Thanksgiving to ensure optimum freshness.
If you are using a frozen Turkey you will need to defrost it in the refrigerator (depending upon size) for 3 – 4 days prior to cooking it.
DO NOT DEFROST TURKEY AT ROOM TEMPERATURE