Penny Ashton - 1990
Serves 10 to 12   THANKSGIVING PREP NOTES      

Order your fresh turkey around Nov 10th. Pick it up the night before. It shouldn’t sit around any longer than necessary. A 10 to 16 pound bird should serve 12 people. I usually serve 10 people and like to send some home with guests so I cook an 18 lb Turkey and have leftovers to share.

If possible, remove turkey from store wrap and clean as soon as you get it home. (See Preparation and Storage below) If that’s not possible, cut the wrapping leaving the bottom intact to catch juices and store with wax paper over it. Get it out of the bag and cleaned first thing the next morning. Raw poultry is fragile. Turkey is more fragile than chicken. It doesn’t keep well in home refrigerators and it builds up bacteria quickly. NEVER stuff bird in advance. Bacteria can develop. Thoroughly WASH in hot soapy water: hands, knives, surfaces, breadboards and utensils that come into contact with raw poultry. Throw away used paper towels. When storing leftovers, remove stuffing from cavities and store separately. Reheat leftovers thoroughly. Boil gravy for 1 minute before serving. Use cooked turkey, gravy & stuffing within 3 days or freeze. Freezing turkey in 2 cup portions is handy.

Internal temperatures with Meat Thermometer
Breast = 170° — Thigh = 185° — Stuffing = 160°

Clean sink. Place bird in sink and cut open wrapping. This is to let any juices go down the drain instead of over counter. Take care not to puncture skin on bird or juices will escape when cooking. Undo legs from holder. Do not remove holder. Do not cut away any “excess skin” from the bird; the flap at the neck area is needed to hold stuffing. Remove giblets (turkey innards) and neck from cavities; rinse them, pat dry and store in plastic wrap or Baggie. Clean, scrape and remove any entrails and fat left in the cavity by the butcher . Examine the outside of the bird for small black quills, pin feathers, remove them with tweezers or pliers. Rinse thoroughly inside and out. Do NOT soak bird or leave it wet. Pat dry inside and out with a paper towel. Some cooks refresh the bird with orange juice inside and out just before stuffing. Store turkey loosely wrapped in waxed paper or plastic wrap in refrigerator, so air can circulate around it. Wash everything as described above. You may cook the broth for gravy the night before and then refrigerate it. I make the broth on Thanksgiving , after I stuff the bird and get it in the oven.
  1.For Additional information: Read about poultry: Joy of Cooking - pg 460 and The New Basics Cookbook - Pg 422-428.