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2 turkeys or 1?

last year i had 20 people and I made 2 brined turkeys. it was awesome, albeit a lot of work. 4 wings, 4 legs....you get the idea..... this year i'm only having 7 people. overkill to do two birds? dh thinks (and i don't disagree) that a smaller bird isn't as tough as a bigger one. and we could send everyone home with leftovers.....


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  1. not overkill at all, though granted I love leftover turkey. Just get small ones as your dh suggests. I always do two: one in the oven and one on the weber. The one on the weber generally comes out better (to my taste).

    4 Replies
    1. re: susancinsf

      And I've never been one for weber-cooked turkey. I prefer the roasted in the oven type. So I am glad Susan does two this way, since I am usually at her Thanksgiving table:-) (Although I will admit last year's weber turkey was pretty tasty....). I also believe that leftover turkey is one of the reasons for the season (In fact, this may REALLY be overkill, but I'm thinking of roasting a turkey the Sunday after Thanksgiving, when I'm home with just my husband and son....)

      1. re: janetofreno

        NOT overkill at all. when i'm a guest, i go to the market friday morning and buy all the fixins and make my own tgiving meal. that's MY black friday.

      2. re: susancinsf

        how do you season? I'm cooking a 16# hopefully on the weber, (usually use just S&P, plenty of it) but am cooking for a gathering and wanting to try other seasonings. Your thoughts? thought I might do a half-and-half suing jerk paste and...?

        1. re: toodie jane

          I season my Weber turkey exactly the same as my oven turkey: salt and pepper, some fresh herbs (usually Italian parsley, sage and thyme), rub with olive oil, and fill the cavity with fresh sage, chopped onion, and cut up apples. The biggest one I've ever done on the Weber was about 15 lbs, so just be sure it fits.

      3. For 7-10 people , l get two 11-12 lb birds, quite tender and lots of leftovers, especially those wings. Thighs never leave my home, however.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

          god, does a bird that small cook in like 15 minutes? my whole time table will be thrown off.... i wonder if i could fit them both in the oven at the same time.

          1. re: eLizard

            About 17-20 minutes a pound, thus in together about three hours.

            1. re: eLizard

              If you remove the backbone and breastbone on on the turkeys(spatchcock)....you can lay them flat on a rack & sheetpan/shallow roasting pan set up which would allow you to use two shelves in your oven.

              If spatchcocking seems extreme, then you could simply remove the legs and thighs, but you would probably have to remove the breastbone and back anyway to fit .....unless you could puts the four legs and thighs together on the lower rack and have enough clearance on the above racks.

              1. re: fourunder

                i'm wondering if roasting them side by side in two 9x13 pans would work. i think it might.... i've ordered em, in any event.

                1. re: eLizard

                  You could fit them in with the backs chopped off, which is known as a Hotel Breast, as it stands taller. A fully deboned breast may be tight, but that would not bother me at all. We carve in the kitchen, not at the table, so presentation is not necessary.

                  I would caution you to still use something underneath the smaller pans to catch any splatter, especially if you are using the traditional moderate heat method...... When I roast Turkey I use 225-275* depending on the size of the birds, so grease splatter is not a concern.

          2. For 7 people, one bird will be just fine. Unless you're hosting a hoard of gluttons, I don't see how one decent-sized bird (maybe 18-20 pounds tops?) plus all the usual Thanksgiving sides wouldn't be MORE than adequate. Any guest expecting more should perhaps think of dining elsewhere for next year's holiday.

            Doing two smaller birds is not only unnecessary but definitely throws everything else out of whack. Good grief - so unnecessary. Feel confident that just one bird will work out just fine for you.

            (Oh - & the "smaller birds are more tender" issue is moot. Not proven on any scale, so don't worry about that at all.)

            2 Replies
            1. re: Bacardi1

              One more vote for two smaller birds! Less cooking time, they can both go in at once and like you said four legs, etc. I've been doing the same for the past few years and my guests really appreciate it.

              1. re: _nemo_

                I estimate 2 lbs/person, including leftover & bone wastage. We still end up w/ tons of leftovers, even when I package up generous to-go plates for the guests.

            2. We're going to be a smaller group this year-12 instead of 20, & I plan on smoking a turkey & a turkey breast,(we'll also have ham & a bunch of other stuff)-I like having 2 carcasses to make stock, & leftovers are not usually a problem....

              1. Not overkill at all! I always do two turkey since I try avoid the fisticuffs between my DH and brothers when vying for the drumsticks! Plus we love leftovers so I am never worried about having too much turkey

                1. Two birds is probably too much unless you really go nuts for leftovers. Personally Inwant enough for a turkey sandwich or two and maybe a pot pie and tetrazzini.

                  1. I'd go with two turkeys, but not for the cooking time reason, but, rather, you'll be able to get moister meat with smaller birds rather than trying to have every part of a giant bird cook to perfection all at the same time. It's easier to control the temperature of the meat with a smaller bird rather than a larger bird.

                    1. One year, when his turn to cook, Dad made a "deconstructed" turkey WAY before that became a cooking show buzz-word. HE preferred white meat, not big on dark meat at all, and DEFINITELY not into picking the carcass afterward. He bought 2 BIG whole breasts (had wings attached), and some parts (drums, thighs, and a few more wings). We made stuffing like would go IN the birds... since no place to stuff, made foil "cavities", open on top, that breasts sat on top of while roasting. Yes, it would cost more to buy piece by piece, but came out great and very little that you couldn't eat. And it didn't take nearly as long to cook as a HUGE whole/stuffed bird.

                      1. I have the same problem this year! I'm getting 2 turkeys and roasting one traditionally, My husband is going to cook the other on the smoker :)....lots of choice for guests!

                        1. I've been doing two turkeys every year for 10 years or so now. There have been anywhere from 7 to 14 adults at the table, and I just get slightly larger birds when our guest list grows. I will admit, however, that a big motivation for the approach is so that I can fry one and roast one. I still waiting for the year when we have just a few more people (or the children get a bit older) and I have a reason to add a barbecued bird to the meal.

                          1. I fix a large turkey on Thanksgiving day for the 6 of us
                            (5 grown men plus me, plus any of the boys' random
                            friends that drop by)
                            Then ham for the Friday
                            Then another turkey for the Saturday.
                            Sunday is leftover turkey or ham sandwiches for lunch,
                            and then a big pot of beans cooked with leftover hambone
                            while watching all the football games.... so fun !!!!
                            I have been cooking T-day for so many years,
                            it is one of my favorite meals to cook !!!!! Can't wait !!!!
                            Have Fun !