Big or Small What Size Turkey do I need?

Holiday Turkey season is here. I hate that it is called “Holiday” turkey season, because I truly love turkey year round! It’s one of the most versatile meats and it’s so easy for busy families. You can cook one turkey, eat a few meals, freeze the rest of the meat, and make soup…

But, knowing what size of turkey you need can feel daunting. Here’s a few tips.

  1. Check out your oven size. If you live in an RV or small apartment you may be better off buying a turkey breast, or cutting up a whole turkey into pieces.

  2. To Brine or Not to Brine? We are “briners.” We think it makes an extra juicy bird. We use a big disinfected cooler for our brine. We store it in an unheated garage and add ice as needed. Alton Brown has a great recipe for it (click HERE) …but you can also just use sea salt and water. Know most factory farmed birds are injected with a saline solution, so it’s something widely practiced.

  3. Do you have the right pan, large cutting board, and sharp carving knife? I use a big pan from a restaurant supply store. It has high sides which catch some of the juices that normally spray onto oven walls! When cutting your turkey put a dishcloth under your cutting board to keep it from slipping around. Use a very sharp knife for beautiful turkey slices.

  4. Have freezer containers ready. Zip Locks or wide mouth mason jars are a great way to freeze turkey. It lasts for several months in the freezer.

  5. “A Pound per Person” is the rule of thumb for making sure your guests have enough to eat. Sounds like a lot of meat though right? Remember there is weight from the carcass and juices that go into that equation. If you only do one pound per person know that doesn’t include much leftovers.

  6. If you are buying one of our birds know that there’s about a pound of goodies inside the bird that should be omitted from your math equation. We carefully prepare the nutrient dense Liver, Heart, Neck, and Gizzard and put inside each bird. If you have 10 people over for dinner you’ll need an 11 bird due to this extra weight.

  7. Have a large stockpot ready for the turkey carcass. While your making stuffing and your veggie sides save all of your trimmings to throw into that stock.

  8. Search the web for recipes on how to use the Goodies. Gizzard Soup is a Vermont favorite. We love the heart and liver pan fried with bacon. Or, if it’s not for you serve this healthy treat to your pet!