Thanksgiving Turkey 101

Q. How much turkey do I need?

A. The basic rule of thumb is one pound per person being served (1.5 lbs to 2 lbs if you want leftovers or have big eaters). The larger the turkey (20+ lbs), you can cut back on that one-pound allowance. Larger turkeys yield more edible meat per pound than smaller turkeys. In the same way smaller birds (10 lbs or less) yield less edible meat per pound.

Party SizeTurkey Weight
4 People5 lbs
8 People10-12 lbs
10 People13-15 lbs
12 People15-17 lbs
14 People20-22 lbs
16 People22-24 lbs

Q. What is brining?

A. Brining a turkey is the process of adding salt to the turkey either by dry rubbing the turkey with salt or soaking it in a wet marinade of water, salt, and spices. Dry brining is usually done for a period of 12–24 hours while wet brining is done for 8–12 hours. Both methods will add flavor to your turkey and help with tenderness.

Q. Should I brine my turkey?

A. People with sodium restrictions should avoid brining. If you are looking to enhance the flavor of your turkey, brining is an easy solution. Adding flavor can also be accomplished with a good stuffing recipe and a fresh turkey gravy made with the turkey drippings after cooking.

Q. If I buy a frozen turkey, how long will it take to thaw?

A. There are two methods commonly used to defrost frozen turkeys. The easiest is to place the frozen turkey in your refrigerator for approximately one day for every five pounds that the turkey weighs before you are planning to cook it (ex: 15 lb turkey 3 days). The quicker method is to place it in cold water, still in the bag in which it came in. This cuts time to approximately to 1/2 hour for every pound of turkey (ex: 15 lb turkey 7.5 hours). Be sure to change the water every 30–45 minutes.

Q. How long should I cook my turkey?

A. Preparation for cooking a turkey will help with cooking times. As with any piece of meat, the closer to room temperature it is before cooking, the faster and more evenly it will cook. An unstuffed turkey that is at room temperature will need to cook 13–15 minutes per pound. A turkey that has been stuffed with a bread stuffing will need 15–18 minutes per pound. You should always use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the turkey has reached 165°F in the thickest part of the thigh meat.

Q. What are giblets and what do I do with them?

A. Turkey giblets consist of the neck, gizzard, heart, and liver of the turkey. You’ll want to remove them before cooking. They can be used to make a broth base for your turkey gravy by simmering them in a saucepan while your turkey cooks. The liver can be used in the stuffing for added flavor.

Lorem Ipsum for the Title

Aliquam et lorem dignissim, faucibus sem non, rutrum eros. Sed blandit nulla eget tempor lacinia. Aliquam nec bibendum lorem. Morbi nisl est, commodo quis porttitor eget, egestas id odio. Suspendisse sed massa neque. Vivamus tincidunt ac velit vel pretium. Nulla et rhoncus eros. Vivamus hendrerit magna vel enim interdum facilisis. Quisque volutpat consequat tristique. Donec venenatis risus commodo bibendum dapibus. Duis id libero non elit eleifend condimentum. Vestibulum neque ligula, tristique at mattis euismod, porta consequat eros. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas.

Integer vestibulum, risus vel porta lacinia, mi orci auctor ex, nec consectetur velit lorem vel nisl. Aenean pellentesque tortor leo, eu facilisis libero faucibus non. In non neque id dui euismod convallis. Donec faucibus, velit sed fermentum congue, lectus dolor venenatis ipsum, sit amet vulputate diam odio malesuada sapien. Morbi feugiat arcu sodales justo hendrerit, id bibendum sem ultrices. Suspendisse facilisis ex mi. Nam tristique volutpat scelerisque. Proin imperdiet ante eget placerat efficitur. Praesent a ipsum faucibus, ultrices velit in, tempus urna. Duis non tristique leo. Curabitur vel orci eu leo bibendum ultrices vel quis justo. Phasellus condimentum scelerisque mi non euismod. Proin ac pulvinar arcu, vitae pharetra risus. Suspendisse sed sodales magna.

Aenean sit amet tellus lacinia, molestie quam non, rutrum dui. Sed vitae finibus mauris, vel ultricies metus. Suspendisse faucibus sagittis ligula, elementum porttitor dui varius non. Praesent mi diam, tristique at tristique ac, rutrum ac purus. Nullam nec mauris sagittis, mattis ligula eget, ullamcorper ligula. Nullam a turpis at lectus pellentesque malesuada eu ut tortor. Nulla vel orci nec lectus feugiat congue. Nunc pellentesque ante nulla, vel semper enim pellentesque in. Maecenas eu turpis vitae purus fringilla sagittis quis vel quam. Aenean fringilla finibus justo, ac tincidunt quam ornare vel. Fusce arcu massa, aliquet at tempor varius, consectetur nec urna. Sed finibus quam sapien, vitae finibus nibh malesuada et. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc dolor tellus, sagittis ultricies finibus sit amet, imperdiet ut metus. Vivamus egestas turpis sed mauris interdum congue. Fusce facilisis, augue eget finibus tempus, erat neque scelerisque est, sit amet ullamcorper augue risus id leo.

Morbi sed leo quis lectus tincidunt malesuada eu sit amet tortor. Proin ut elit in eros molestie iaculis. Donec a pellentesque turpis. Nunc vitae massa molestie, fermentum ante quis, vehicula nulla. Donec eget leo ut nisi aliquet fringilla id ultricies augue. Mauris dui quam, suscipit in nunc quis, mattis fermentum felis. Pellentesque malesuada imperdiet condimentum. Aenean porta tempus eros eu dignissim. Proin vitae neque elit.