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Top 10 Questions About Cooking a Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes

When you’ve been around as long as Plainville Farms® brand turkey, you’re a recognized expert. All Plainville Farms® turkeys are raised on family farms without ever using antibiotics, feeding them a vegetarian diet in a stress-free environment in accordance with our standards. They taste delicious.

Here’s some sage advice based on the top questions we get asked year-after-year:

How do I know how much turkey to buy for my guests? As a general rule, Plainville Farms® brand recommends about a pound per person, but you can always go for a little more if you’d like to make sure there are plenty of leftovers.

What are the best herbs to season a holiday turkey? The traditional herbs used at Thanksgiving time are parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones to try. Turkey is particularly versatile and goes with many different herbs and spices. Sometimes we go for a garlic rub, other times just a little pepper and Hain Pure Foods® sea salt It’s advisable to not over salt the bird so guests can add salt to their liking. Remember you can follow your family traditions or create your own.

Can you grill turkey for Thanksgiving?Roasted turkey is classic, but grilling a whole, half or breast of turkey is becoming more and more common these days. As long as your grill is big enough, this is an amazingly flavorful way to go. You’ll want to make sure your grill heat is low enough, around 325-350°F, so that the skin gets nice and golden brown and the meat has plenty of time to cook through. Check that the internal temperature of the cooked turkey reaches 180oF per USDA guidelines. Remember, when using this technique you will not end up with a pan full of juices for your gravy. Make sure to buy some Plainville Farms® turkey or Imagine® gravy or plenty of extra turkey stock to prepare your own.

How often should I baste?We know you’re not going to believe this, but Plainville Farms® turkeys are so naturally juicy that we don’t think they need basting. That means you don’t have to open the oven every 45 minutes or so and baste your turkey, though you may if you just can’t resist.

How long does it take to roast a turkey?Depends on the size. Generally it’s about 15 minutes per pound for an unstuffed Plainville Farms® turkey at 325°F. Just tent it with foil so that the breast stays nice and moist while the rest of the bird has a chance to cook through. Remove the foil about an hour before you expect the turkey to be finished cooking so that the outside is browned evenly. Our turkeys have pop up timers to let you know when they’re done, but we always recommend double-checking that the internal temperature of the bird is 180°F per USDA guidelines.

What’s the easiest way to make gravy?Once you’ve roasted a turkey, you’re on your way to making a great gravy. Simply transfer the roasted turkey to cutting board and pour the pan juices into a large measuring cup. Then, whisk a little bit of flour, like Arrowhead Mills® organic flour, into the turkey drippings to create a roux in the roasting pan. Keep the pan over a medium heat and slowly whisk in the pan juices to the desired consistency for your gravy. Keep nice and hot, but do not boil. If you need to make extra gravy, add some extra turkey stock to the pan. Season with Hain Pure Foods® sea salt and pepper as needed.

How do you get a turkey to brown evenly all over?We find that roasting a turkey on a rack at 325°F gives it that golden color all over, while the meat stays moist. Make sure to allow for plenty of air circulation between the pan and the bird so that it gets evenly cooked.

How do I know when my turkey is done cooking? Every Plainville Farms® turkey has a pop up timer, but we always recommend double checking with your own meat thermometer. Stick the meat thermometer into the turkey at the thickest part of the thigh. If it reads 180°F, the turkey is done. At that point, it’s time to allow the bird to rest on the carving board for 15 minutes or so and prepare to carve.

Should I carve my turkey in front of my guests?
 Carving a turkey can be an extraordinary show, but it can also be very intimidating to a party host. If you enjoy the attention and feel confident with your knife skills (and have all of the appropriate tools lined up), go for it. If it’s your first Thanksgiving and you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, there’s nothing wrong with presenting the bird once it’s been carved in the privacy of your own kitchen. Either way, you may find our turkey carving video a welcome refresher class before the big day.

Why do people brine their turkeys? Brining is a popular technique used to make a turkey moist by hydrating the muscle cells of the meat before cooking. Plainville Farms® brand turkeys are raised the traditional way, and they are already super moist and flavorful. We don’t think you need to brine our turkeys.

About Plainville Farms®: Plainville Farms® was established in 1835 and is a recognized leader in family farmed turkeys that have never, ever been given antibiotics and are raised humanely in accordance with the brand’s stringent standards. Their products include a variety of ABF and Organic, fresh, special occasion and deli meats.

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