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Nov 14, 2011 11:08 AM

New Ideas for Thanksgiving Turkey

No I don't want to smoke nor can I fry a turkey I still want to brine it but I always cook a whole Turkey. I was considering since I am on Food Stamps and the cheapest Turkey at the store is a 18lbs+ turkey for $.69 per pound I am considering asking the butcher in the meat department to cut the turkey in half wrap both and I will freeze one half and only cook the one half on Thanksgiving then in December I can make the other half when we are in the mood for more turkey. I assume the halved turkey will take less time to thaw so instead of 5 days thawing I could go for 3 days. I am shopping on Monday and then have it brine overnight or less than that I can take it out then and wash and dry it the rest of the overnight and 10 or 11 am roast it. I also assume it will take less time to roast it maybe only 2 hours first upside down to keep breast juicy then upright at a higher temp to brown the skin. Would this be a correct assumption. I also may roast some turkey wings and legs as that is what my family prefers as the hot Thanksgiving meal and then save some white and dark for Sandwhiches the next day or two. I am only feeding 4 or 5 this year instead of my usual 7 or 8 people This way I have plenty of room in the oven for a Sweet Potato Cassarole, Cornbread Stuffing, and Corn Pudding and on top of the stove will be Mashed Petatoes, Gravy, and Steamed Green Beans and a Blender Hollindase.

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  1. Are you sure the 69/lb is for a FRESH turkey? The bargain prices are on the frozen ones. If it's fresh, you could disarticulate the joints, do the legs and wings on Thanksgiving, and wrap and freeze the breast, entire or in halves, to cook next month. That way you could slice the raw breast into cutlets, cube it for turkey a la king or casseroles, etc.

    Brining should be at least overnight, refrigerator air-drying another overnight. If you are working with a fresh turkey, brine only what you are using now. Brine the part you are freezing once you after you thaw it in December.

    2 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      The post doesn't say anything about fresh... in fact it mentions a half Turkey taking less time to thaw.

      1. re: acgold7

        Nothing is said about fresh specifically, but I would also assume that is what was meant since the idea was to have the butcher cut the turkey in half. Hard to do with a frozen turkey. The original post also mentions freezing the other half--and I'd assume s/he isn't considering defrosting a whole turkey, having it cut in half, and then refreezing the 2nd half.

        Another option would be to buy frozen legs instead of a whole turkey, or maybe a small breast and then several packs of legs. I would think you'd be able to cut costs that way, especially since you'd be buying frozen rather than fresh.

    2. If you go the route of cutting the turkey in half, you can roast it cut-side down on a cookie sheet and it should cook through in just over an hour (450 for 20 min to brown the skin, then 350 till it's done). It's basically the same thing as cooking a spatchcocked or butterflied turkey; it's a great way to roast it, since all of the skin gets crisp and it's done in a shorter amount of time. Good luck.

      1. An excellent idea to have the butcher saw the turkey in half. Used to do this a lot when all of my kids still lived at home. Ask the butcher to cut off the backbone for you ahead of time and give to you, this can be put toward excellent turkey stock for gravy. I often butterfly my turkey and can do a 15 lb turkey in about 2 hours at 375 (after high heat browning first). The trick is keeping the beast well lubricated. When doing a butterflied or half turkey, I would roast it skin side down initially on high heat (425) for 20-30 min and turn it skin side up for longer time. Also, think about laying it on a bed of mirepoinx (cut onions, celery, carrots) to further lubricate it and season the juices to use for gravy.

        You will have far better luck with a $.59/lb frozen turkey than a Butterball, which is injected with glop and God knows what. Have fun!

        1. Here's an easy way to do it, and it's ideal for just such a situation. I posted about it on ch and then sent the idea to one of my favorite food bloggers. You can easily brine the turkey pieces if you want, then lay them on top of a pan of stuffing and bake until done. It frees up oven space, saves wrestling a whole bird, flavors the stuffing, and cooks in half the time. The pieces should thaw in 1-2 days, and you don't have to worry about flipping the breast to keep it moist.

          1. Thanks everyone yes it is a frozen turkey at $.69/lb and I am pretty sure the butcher can saw the frozen ones in half and cut out the backbone. I do plan to roast on top of Carrots and onions. I will brine all day the day before then dry overnight. The other unused half will be sent right to our larger freezer to be used later in Dec. Less thawing time, less cooking time, and not as heavy of a roasting pan to haul in and out of the oven. Sounds like a easier Thanksgiving to me.