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Oct 11, 2007 06:30 AM

thanksgiving turkey question

good morning...

i have never prepared a turkey, in any form, but was recently asked for advice by my hostess for thanksgiving dinner this year. for serving a large group, would one 24 pound bird or two 12 pound birds work better? any thoughts?

i believe she only has one oven. thanks for the help!

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  1. Depends on the size of her oven, and what else she needs the oven for that day, but my vote is for one 24lb turkey.

    If her oven is average to small then the one 24lb might be her only choice. And if she's making other things that need to go in the oven, I can't imagine how two pans with turkeys will fit alongside whatever else needs to go in there (scalloped potatoes, stuffing, roasted vegetables).

    If using a 24lb turkey though bear in mind that:
    -odds are the meat won't be as tender as a smaller, younger bird.
    -if it's a frozen one, make sure it is *completely* thawed before cooking--for a turkey that big, it will take at least 4 days, if not longer.
    -I would definitely do stuffing on the side so that the breast isn't overcooked by the time the stuffing is at a food-safe temperature.

    1. My SIL, in the summer, would precook the turkey a day before. It tasted delicious the next day. I've always wanted to try that, and may just do that this Thanksgiving. Then you could cook the second turkey the day of. I have a new toaster oven and am planning to use that for some sides.

      1 Reply
      1. re: conniemcd

        The other option for doing two birds is to roast one in the Weber -- my mom has been doing this for years, and last year she initiated me into it.Turkey with a light smokiness -- yum! We do it on the covered back porch, so it can be done in any weather.

        I guess the third option would be to buy the turkey(s) already cooked from a local market. These days the more upscale places will offer free-range, organic, etc. turkeys, not just frozen (or even fresh) turkeys injected with salt water and preservatives.

      2. We were serving a large crowd for Thanksgiving this year (Canadian Thanksgiving was last weekend) and my husband decided he wanted to do both a ham and turkey, well aside from pre-cooking one or the other I was at a loss as to how to get them both cooked with only one oven. Well, he came home from the store with a portable roaster by Hamilton Beach ($40Cdn) and cooked the ham in the roaster and the turkey, as usual in our oven. I'm not a huge fan of big kitchen gadgets but the roaster was certainly cheaper than updating our current stove.

        I'd also vote for the one 24lb bird. Olivia had excellent recommendations regarding the thawing time and stuffing. Roasted veggies for instance can be done ahead and heated through while the turkey rests.