Food safety is important and as the holidays approach, families should know how to properly thaw a turkey. Safely thawing a frozen turkey requires defrosting at cool temperatures. Place the turkey in a shallow pan (in its original wrapper) and place in the refrigerator. Leave it there until completely thawed. This will keep the thawing temperature below 40 degrees, which is important to avoid bacterial contamination. Defrosting will take approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of turkey. After thawing, try this delicious recipe idea for baking your turkey the night before you plan to serve it.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
• Large turkey
• Salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder
• Poultry spice
• (2) heads of garlic, peeled
• (2) yellow onions, peeled and quartered
• Cup celery, chopped in chunk sizes
You will need heavy aluminum foil and a meat thermometer.
1. Thoroughly wash the turkey, inside and out. Pat the turkey dry.
2. Remove the turkey neck, livers, and gizzards, and set aside.
3. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan on a rack.
4. Season, inside and outside the turkey, with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and poultry seasoning.
5. Place the garlic, onion, and celery under the rack. Add water to the pan, but not enough to let it touch the turkey (just until it almost touches the turkey.)
6. Place the neck, livers, and gizzards in the pan resting in the water.
7. Place the turkey in the oven and roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, baste the turkey and lower the oven to 250 degrees. COVER THE PAN COMPLETELY BY MAKING A TENT OUT OF THE ALUMINUM FOIL.
Make sure all the edges of the pan are covered, so that the moisture will remain in the pan. It is very important to be sure the edges are sealed.
8. Now you can forget about the turkey until 7:00 AM the next morning when you wake up dreaming and smelling the delicious aroma of baked turkey. To be sure the turkey is done; insert the meat thermometer into the breast and it should be 165 degrees, as the turkey must reach 165 degrees to be considered fully cooked.
9. To brown the turkey, raise the temperature to 400 degrees, unwrap the turkey, and baste it. Turn off the oven when it has reached the desired amount of browning. Cover the turkey again and leave it to cool and ready to serve.
Tip: You can strain the drippings and refrigerate them. After this cools and begins to gel in the refrigerator, remove the fat layer and use the drippings as a base for your gravy.