Can You PRE-cook your turkey????
Just thinking i would like to cook the turkey the day before, make the gravy etc. Thoughts/experiences???
The simple answer is yes, you can cook it a day before, but unless you are cooking two turkeys for the table and or the amount of guests you are having......you are really cooking the same turkey twice.......even if you are just reheating, you must bring the temperature up to serving very slowly, or risk drying your bird out..... and this takes a couple of hours if you leave your bird whole.
Myself, I think your time would be better spent concentrating on preparing the gravy and sides....i.e., by cutting the vegetables and preparing extra turkey stock by buying extra wings, legs and thighs. Planning ahead and preparing a list is what makes you efficient.
Another tip, two small turkeys are easier to cook than one very large one. Here are a couple of threads that may prove helpful to you.:
Personally, I don't like to make my turkey the day before UNLESS I'm serving it already carved on a platter, in which case, I'll undercook the bird a little to allow for re-warming. But I will make everything but the mashed potatoes the day before so that my oven will be unoccupied the day of
I have cooked a turkey,stuffed, the day before thanksgiving - then another one on the day itself. We were having a large crowd, needed 2 birds, and I couldn't do them both on Thursday. I did carve up the first bird after it was done, reheated the meat & stuffing the next day, and it was pretty good. I did not do gravy a day early, though.
If it's a time issue and you're not concerned about the presentation, spatchcocking the turkey will save you a lot of cooking time. One year I had Thanksgiving with just my parents, and wasn't really concerned about the whole turkey presentation - we carve up the whole thing before putting it on the table anyway. I wasn't exactly sure how long it would take to cook, but a turkey that was probably around 14 lbs took less than two hours to cook. The turkey was done before I had barely started on making the side dishes.
Of course you can. I'm making the roast turkey for our church dinner on Sunday and there isn't any reliable way to have it ready at midday, not to mention the carving etc, so I'm going to cook it at my leisure tomorrow. Then I'll carve it up and sprinkle it generously with chicken broth (homemade on Wednesday and delicious in itself) so that it won't dry out when it's reheated. You can't really precook a turkey if you want to leave it whole for the table, but if you're going to carve it up beforehand it's not a problem.