Sunday, December 13, 2015

Turkeys Part Two: Lessons Learned

In case you didn't catch part one of my turkey post, here is the linkAs I was discussing in that post, we had read that 24 weeks was a reasonable amount of time for the turkeys to reach their optimal weight.  My husband loaded the turkeys up in the wee hours of the morning and drove them an hour or so to a processing facility.  He was able to stay with them and watch the process which he said was very quick and seemed to be as painless as possible.  The man at the processing plant had a little difficulty with one of our toms due to his size which was my husband's first clue that maybe our turkeys were a little different than most. 

When asked how we wanted the turkeys processed, my husband told them we wanted 1 male and 1 female left whole and the other male and female cut into parts.  And here is where we learned our first lesson.  When asked how you want the turkeys processed, it is a good idea to ask how much each weighed before making a decision.  Turns out we had some very large turkeys on our hands.  Our males weighed in at just over 40 pounds each after being processed.  Yes, that's right.  Forty pounds per tom!  I don't even have an oven large enough for a 40 pound turkey.  If I had known they were that large under all those puffy feathers, I would have opted to get both toms cut up and the females left whole.  The females weighed in at a much more reasonable, albeit heavy, weight of approximately 20 pounds each.  

The plant manager explained that most people bring their turkeys in somewhere between 16 and 20 weeks which is definitely our second lesson learned.  The 24 week time frame worked well for the females, so another option would be to buy sexed birds the next time so that you're working with either all females or all males.  Either that or process them at different times. 

When we got the birds back home, we were barely able to fit them in the upright freezer.  In fact, we thought the freezer door was closed but as it turned out the suction on the door was not as strong because of the one of the tom's legs sticking out just a bit too far which resulted in a thawing of some of the veggies in the freezer.  We were able to salvage most though.  That's lesson number three.  Always check the upright freezer to make sure the door is closed tight when storing 120 pounds of turkey inside.  

So, we stored the turkeys until Thanksgiving at which point we thawed one turkey breast (from one of the hens).  The turkey breast weighed in at a little over 9 pounds.  We made a mixture of melted butter, orange juice, rosemary, salt, and pepper, and basted the turkey with the mixture throughout the cooking process.  It turned out to be absolutely scrumptious.  Much more flavorful than turkeys you buy at the store and more moist also.  We served it alongside a sweet potato casserole, dressing and gravy, and Brussels sprouts with bacon.  It was a yummy meal and one for which we were truly thankful.        

1 comment:

  1. Second part is good as first part. I just don’t want it to end and want to read it more.