Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Carver Family Tried and True Turkey Tips


So, assuming you’re not having eel for Thanksgiving, you’re probably having turkey. How big of a bird are you going to get, and how will you prepare it?


When I was first married, these questions terrified me. I know many of you are turkey connoisseurs, and I hope you leave additional tips in the comments. But just in case anyone needs some suggestions, here are some from my husband, a true Carver. He learned these turkey preparation tips from his grandfather who was the traditional turkey fixer and carver in the family. Um, actually his grandfather’s last name was Graves, but our last name really is Carver. So that's kind of interesting, especially for the holiday season. J

Can I brag on my husband for just a paragraph? I grew up knowing nothing about cooking, except that my mother seemed to think it was drudgery, so I have always been in awe of my husband’s kitchen savvy. I’m particularly impressed when it comes to holiday meals. Not only is everything delicious, but I know my husband has thoroughly enjoyed the preparation process. I tell him he missed his calling. Wouldn’t you hire a caterer or go to a restaurant with the name of Carver’s? Hand-carved roast beef, carved turkey….

I digress. So, without further ado, here are a few turkey tips from a Carver.

Stuff the cavity with an apple, an onion, and some celery. It will cook the same time as an unstuffed, but it will have added flavor.

If you cook in the oven, use an oven bag. You don’t have to baste, and clean-up is so much easier. We have used Reynolds, and we find them at Wal-Mart.

Cook your turkey breast side down. Yes, it looks a little odd in the roaster, but then the breast is sitting in the juices. It will come out flavorful and moist.

Fix just a turkey breast in the crock pot. If it’s just a few of you, you don’t need a whole turkey. Fixing just a breast also makes for easier clean-up since you won’t have to de-bone a carcass.

Fix an entire turkey in a large electric roaster. It’s smaller than the oven but still large enough for an 18 pound bird, and it cooks the same as a crock pot, moist and flavorful.

Taste is more important than appearance. Your stomach won’t care what shade of brown the turkey is…or isn’t.


It’s not pretty, but…mm, mm, good.

Bon appétit! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!








How do you prepare your holiday bird? Fill the comments with other helpful suggestions!




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14 comments:

  1. Oh, that looks delicious! Here we rarely eat turkey. Definitely not a whole turkey :-)
    I do not want my children to such 'recognizable' meat will eat.

    http://showmeastorie.blogspot.nl/

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    1. Maybe just the turkey breast? We've found it the perfect size and gives just a few leftovers. So glad to see you here again!

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  2. Oh, this makes me hungry! Our upside-down bagged turkey looks crazy, but tastes sooo good! Thanks for these tips. I'm going to try adding the apple this year! Blessings to you and your family!

    I'm visiting via Serving Joyfully!
    Mary @ Woman to Woman
    www.marywomantowoman.blogspot.com

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    1. After reading everyone else's recipes and then posting these tips, it's getting so hard to wait for Thursday! Hope you like the apple, Mary, and have a terrific Thanksgiving!

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  3. Oh great tips. I have to try them. But my Cowboy is planning on frying one this year. Got a new indoor fryer at Walmart this week.
    We may have to do two! Especially since you need all the juice for dressing which is my favorite part!
    Thanks for sharing. BTW I wrote a post today too and I am having a give a way. Come by and visit me.
    Blessings,
    Sherry

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    1. Don't you love it when the husband fixes the turkey? Hope you enjoy your turkey, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Sherry!

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  4. I just want to second your suggestion to only cook a breast if you're having a small gathering. My husband's in the military, so the first year we were married was also both my first year not spending Thanksgiving at home and first time cooking Thanksgiving dinner. I got my mom to e-mail me all the family recipes that I couldn't imagine not having, and started cooking on Monday. My dad and step-mother were flying to Arizona from North Carolina to spend the weekend with us, and I wanted everything to be perfect. I made enough food to feed at least 20 people. We had four. I had bought the smallest whole turkey I could find, but a small turkey is still a whole lot of food. We had invited a couple we were friends with to join us, but when I got the turkey they hadn't gotten back to us, and I didn't want to not have enough food. My parents couldn't really take leftovers back with them on the plane, so we ended up with all the leftovers. We had leftover turkey in our freezer until Christmas. Since then (except for the two years circumstances have been right to spend Thanksgiving in NC)I've gotten just a breast each year, and that's what I have in the freezer now that I need to move to the fridge to thaw. We still end up with those great Thanksgiving leftovers, but it's a few meals, not a months worth that has me stretching my imagination for things to do with turkey and my husband begging to never eat turkey again. One day when we're blessed to host a huge family gathering I'll make a whole turkey again, this year when it's just our family of three I think we'll stick to just a breast.

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    1. I have done that so many times -- it would be embarrassing not to have enough food. Then, enough for an army! Thanks for sharing your story, Bazile. Our children are still young and aren't big eaters, so a breast even works for our family of eight. Have a terrific Thanksgiving!

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  5. GREAT ideas! Although I do use a bag, I have NEVER thought to turn the turkey upside down. That is genius! I found your lovely blog through the Creative Me linkup, and I'm looking forward to reading more. New follower here!

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    1. It won't brown so well that way, but it will be moist. I'd love to know how it turns out for you, Pam. Thanks for much for visiting and for following! Blessings to you for a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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  6. I am so going to try the roasting bag next year when I'm hosting. These are great ideas. Thanks for linking up!

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    1. Roasting bags make it soooo easy! You'll love it, Rosilind!

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  7. Great options here! I've never done a turkey before and the thought scares me to death so this is a great guide for some of us newbies. I will be sure to bookmark it and use it when/if I ever attempt my own turkey! I just found your blog and have loved getting to know you better... hope you don't mind if I follow along!

    new follower :)
    bonnie
    bonnielouisa.blogspot.com

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    1. The thought of doing a turkey scares me to death too! So glad my husband has the know-how. Happy to have you here, Bon!

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