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Let’s Talk Turkey

Turkey, the centerpiece on Thanksgiving dinner tables, requires just a bit of planning ahead and know-how. Here are a handful of practical turkey tips to help you sit down to your best holiday meal ever.

How much? Estimate one pound of uncooked turkey per person; that will give you enough for dinner and leftovers the next day.

Fresh or frozen? All-natural, kosher or organic? We’ve got them all, ranging in size from 10 to 24 pounds. Most are available in our stores, though you may need to call our Meat Department up to three weeks in advance to order fresh, all-natural and organic turkeys. Choose from these varieties:

Schnucks, Butterball and HoneySuckle frozen turkeys weighing 12 to 24 pounds.

Schnucks, Butterball, HoneySuckle and Perdue fresh turkeys weighing 10 to 14 pounds or 18 to 22 pounds.

All-natural frozen HoneySuckle turkeys range in size from 12 to 14 pounds.

Frozen kosher turkeys are available between 12 and 14 pounds.

Fresh and frozen organic turkeys weigh about 10 to 13 pounds or 16 to 20 pounds.

Plan-ahead thawing. Place your frozen turkey sealed in its packaging in a shallow pan on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Allow 24 hours of thawing for every four to five pounds. You can keep a thawed turkey in the refrigerator up to two days.

Turkey timetable. Start preparing your turkey about an hour before roasting. This takes the chill off your bird and may reduce roasting time. Allow about 15 to 18 minutes roasting time per pound, or 3 to 3-1/2 hours for a 12- to 14-pound turkey. Allow turkey to stand at room temperature 20 minutes before carving.

Temperature is key. It’s all about degrees, in the oven and in your turkey. To make sure your oven maintains the right temperature, purchase an oven thermometer and test for accuracy before the big day. To check doneness of turkey, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, making sure the thermometer does not touch bone. Look for juices to run clear from the thigh, and wiggle a drumstick to see if it moves easily at the joint. Final internal temperature in the breast and thigh should reach 165°F. Residual heat in the turkey will continue to cook the turkey while it stands, so you may want to take your turkey out when it reaches 160°F. If the turkey’s thighs or breast meat near the bone appear pink after the temperature registers safe and juices run clear, the meat is perfectly safe to eat. There are many factors causing this rose tinge including nitrates in the bird’s feed or water supply.