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Do I dare order a roasted turkey?

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As it turns out, I'll be hosting Thanksgiving this year. It'll be a small, very manageable group of 8, but I'm already thinking that the day would be so much less work if I ordered a roasted turkey instead of roasting it myself. But I have NO idea where in southern Chester County or northern Delaware I should consider buying it. I'm happy to do the rest of the meal, so I don't need side dishes, desserts, etc. But I've got to be certain that they do a great job with turkey AND that I can pick it up on T'giving day, warm -- not chilled and re-heatable. Is there a place I can trust with my order? Thanks.

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  1. Ted Pace now has a catering operation. Formerly Pace One.

    1. Tangent, but, why not roast the turkey the day before and then just reheat slices/legs/etc on Thanksgiving itself? That's what I usually do, and everyone complements me on how juicy and wonderful the turkey is, and I don't have to worry about it being under/over cooked, too cold, etc. I typically reheat slowly in a crockpot with pan drippings and a little broth from the day before. I did an 18-pound bird that way last year for a big gathering and it worked beautifully.

      8 Replies
      1. re: sockii

        I don't think I'd want to do that. In my experience with reheating turkey, it never tastes as moist or flavorful as when it's just out of the oven. I'm sure there are ways to do it correctly, but I just don't trust myself.

        1. re: CindyJ

          I can't think of anywhere in Southern Chesco where you could pickup a warm turkey ready to go on Thanksgiving Day.

          Could you "prep" the turkey the day before Thanksgiving? That way you only have to pop it in the oven on Tday.

          1. re: Sydneyeats

            Oh, I'll manage to roast the turkey. I was just looking for a way to save time and oven space.

          2. re: CindyJ

            Funny 'cause in our house we always have held fast that turkey always tasted best "the day after", when it's had some time to really rest and be warmed in all the great pan drippings. But to each their own!

            1. re: sockii

              Exactly...that's what the gravy is for!!

            2. re: CindyJ

              If it's only the turkey you are worried about, Julia Child has a very simple formula I have been following for years. Butterfly the turkey. 90 minutes at 450 degrees. We tend to have smaller turkeys (8-12 pounds) and it has always worked out well for us. Nicely browned skin, moist white meat. If you really want, cut off the legs and thighs and give them an extra 10-15 minutes. The actual turkey is now what we sweat the least.

            3. re: sockii

              I have a question about this. Lets say we're going to roast it the day before (for whatever reason) . Can you keep it whole for the next day? Or is it best to slice it all up and reheat the parts? If you can keep it whole, what's the best way to warm it up?

              1. re: Atochabsh

                I'm not speaking from experience, but I would break it down to reheat it. I think if you stuck a whole bird in the oven it would take forever to reheat and it would most likely dry out in the process. If you slice the breast, you can reheat it in the gravy and do the legs and wings in the oven.

            4. It's rare to find somewhere that you can pick up a warm turkey then just serve it. You can get a nice already cooked turkey from Whole Foods, Wegman's, Baldicci's, many gourmet stores but you are going to have to warm it up.

              I hate to tell you this but roasting a turkey is actually not too bad of a job. You just prepare it then throw it in the oven for 2.5 hours. You can even roast it the day before then warm it up the next day if you need/want to. If you want easy then I would- roast your own turkey, make some basic salad/veggie sides, and buy a few complex sides/desserts from Whole Foods or elsewhere.

              Check out Ina Garten's perfect roast turkey recipe. I've done it and it's rather easy. Skip a few things if you find them too much or google for a quick easy roast turkey recipe or even do a turkey breast rather than a whole turkey if you need to.

              2 Replies
              1. re: drake0388

                "If you want easy then I would- roast your own turkey, make some basic salad/veggie sides, and buy a few complex sides/desserts from Whole Foods or elsewhere."

                For me, the joy of cooking is in the salads, sides and desserts for the rest of the meal. It's always seemed to me that, once carved, turkey is turkey; the fun and creativity happen with the accompaniments. I've roasted turkeys before and I have no qualms about doing it again. As I said, I was simply looking for an acceptable shortcut.

                I've pretty much decided to buy a fresh turkey and roast it on T'giving day. I'll prep it and pop it in the oven, and I'll delegate the monitoring and basting to someone else.

                1. re: CindyJ

                  If wherever you get it from can cut it up, (spatchcock? Or is that just a chicken term?) I highly recommend it. I have roasted a turkey this way and it too much less time and cooks more evenly. However, even with a smaller turkey I had a lot of difficulty cutting down the backbone, much more so than a chicken. So have the butcher do it if you can.

              2. Yes. You dare. After years and years of cooking and basting and babysitting for a bird that I absolutely despise, this year Wegman's is doing my turkey. This way I will have the time to spend on my appetizers, my side dishes and desserts. I suggest you do the same:):):):)!!

                7 Replies
                1. re: jarona

                  I love Wegmans, but I wouldn't order a pre-cooked dinner from them. I did that one New Years Eve, several years back. I ordered a prime rib roast with all the sides. When I went to pick it up, they pulled the tray from the fridge. Everything had been cooked the day before, then cooled and chilled. I followed the heating directions exactly as they gave them to me, but by the time the roast was warmed through, it had overcooked. The entire meal was a disappointment because the reality of the "feast" was that it was like eating a meal consisting entirely of warmed-over leftovers (and I should mention that with few exceptions, I do NOT enjoy leftovers).

                  No, I've decided to roast my own fresh turkey, and I'm even going to try brining for the first time.

                  1. re: CindyJ

                    You might consider dry brining it: http://www.food52.com/blog/2713_russ_...

                    This looks easier and less messy. I look forward to trying this method.

                    1. re: asmith

                      I'm doing our Thanksgiving the easy way this year. Our daughter and family observe Kashruth; we do not. So, I have ordered two spit-roasted roaster (large) chickens and a half roasted turkey breast. Acme in Narberth will cut up the chicken and slice the
                      turkey breast. I couldn't make Kosher stuffing here anyway, so we shall 'make do' with potato and noodle kugels, plus salads and vegetables, with Parve Pumpkin pie from Acme/Narberth. Sounds good to me.

                      1. re: asmith

                        As a matter of fact, after reading and writing about the various brining options, I've decided to try that dry brining method. It makes sense and it seems less messy, less fussy and less risky than wet brining.

                        1. re: CindyJ

                          I did have a great wet brining recipe (I did it overnight in a 5 gallon paint container). It was Alton Brown's recipe and is really good if you want to search for it. But it takes a bit of work. You brine it overnight, cook at high heat for a bit to crisp up the outside and then cook it slowly until a certain interior temperature is met via a digital meat thermometer stuck inside the thing. But it's a bit of work and a bit hard to time we found out.

                      2. re: CindyJ

                        Uh oh...thanks for the heads up on that. I'm still going to chance it though. If it turns out really bad, I'll chalk it up as an object lesson learned. I'm really, really looking forward to giving my sides and desserts the proper attention they deserve. Actually, if I liked turkey, I would never think of having Weggies, or anyplace else for that matter, roast it for me. However, I absolutely cannot stand turkey. I'll make sure I do an excellent gravy for everyone to throw over the bird.
                        Thanks again CindyJ. I'll be thinking about your advance warning, I'm sure, on Turkey day!

                        1. re: CindyJ

                          I should have listened to you CindyJ. My pre-cooked turkey from Wegman's tasted fine, but I STILL had to cook it for three hours as it was frozen. Lesson learned!

                      3. Hey Cindy, there's a bakery in south Philly called Cacia's that will roast your turkey for you. It comes out fantastic without all the work! Might be too far for you to go, but ... maybe there's a bakery in your area that also does this. Check out this video.

                        http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/video/...

                        Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: froghollowguy

                          How do they do that? I mean, how do they time the roasting so small birds roast in less time than the bigger ones? And, at 500 degrees, I'd wonder about overcooking it. Call me a skeptic...

                          1. re: CindyJ

                            Be skeptical all you want. They have been doing it for as long as I can remember (and I'm over 40) and everyone comes back every year, so they must be doing something right.

                            As for timing, if you know the weight, you know when to pull it out when it is done. Obviously, they don't cook them all in one shot. Plus, we're talking about a huge brick oven so many birds can go in or out as needed.

                        2. I have also seen that Percy St BBQ is offering a 15 lb smoked turkey for $65 (a full meal for 6-8 people with all the sides is going for $225). My only issue is that you have to pick it up on Tuesday (11/23), so I can see some of the same issues previously mentioned about re-heating and overcooking.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Philly Ray

                            There are a number of places that will roast the turkey for you, but most would need to be picked up at least a day before T'giving.

                          2. I would just roast the turkey yourself. It doesn't sound like you'd be happy with a pre roasted turkey and you didn't sound too enthused about roasting it a day before (which actually sounds like a great idea to me). The turkey has to rest after you pull it out of the oven anyway. So there should be plenty of time and oven space for side dishes.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Atochabsh

                              Oh, it wasn't so much a time and space problem as much as a desire to have one less BIG thing to do. I've got double wall ovens so I can have several things baking/roasting at the same time. I'll be roasting my own turkey, and it'll be just fine.

                              1. re: CindyJ

                                Whole Foods does a fabulous job. In fact it's so good that we haven't bothered cooking at Thanksgiving for years. They also have really good root vegetables and other things. And starting next year it will be a much shorter drive for you?

                                1. re: bluehensfan

                                  It will be. I'm looking forward to the opening of WF in Glen Mills -- whenever that is.