Magic Pickle advice needed on turkey! We will have 25-30 people for Thanksgiving. We are going to have 2 hams, and a turkey, and I am debating how BIG it should be - I don't want it to be so massive that it dries out, but also everyone needs to get some ...I plan to order a fresh one

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11 Comments

Queen O. November 8, 2010
I've had two smaller turkeys deep-fried for the past few years for 25-28 people). I live in the south and with a little care, can do them with little to no fire risk. The flavor is great, they only take about 40 minutes per bird (14-16 lbs each) and it leave the oven for all the other stuff.

That said, I usually have significant left overs. But I like that!
 
jwolfsthal November 3, 2010
regardless of the number of birds, be sure to brine it. prevents a dry bird, regardless of how it is cooked (beware - do not fry a brined bird - mad mojo). Also, you can't use the pan drippings for gravy with a brined bird, but lots of other optiosn for good gravy.
 
innoabrd November 3, 2010
Another good solution to the dark meat/light meat conundrum is the old Julia Child method of removing the hind quarters and boning the thighs (leaving attached to the legs) and removing the backbone. this allows you to cook each for an appropriate time and then you can serve on a platter on top of a mound of stuffing. I find removing the backbone really reduces the total cooking time, so the additional prep can help with oven congestion on the day.
 
nutcakes November 2, 2010
That's a good idea of Allies (but yes thighs are so much easier to carve than legs)but I'd go with the larger turkey. Like said, you get better yield with a larger turkey. Do you think dryness is due to size and the cooking taking longer? I'm not sure about that. I think of dryness resulting from dark meat needing to be cooked to 180F and white meat only needing 160F to be moist. One solution is to brine the turkey which gives very good results, but is awkward. I've done cheesecloth soaked in melted butter over the breast which helps some.

I have also had good results from 160lb Diestel natural turkey cooked unstuffed in the famous, if improbable high heat 500F method. This is what I will likely do this year:
http://www.nytimes.com/1996/11/27/garden/high-heat-roasting-makes-tom-turkey-a-bird-of-paradise.html
 
innoabrd November 2, 2010
allie has the right idea, but instead of legs, get thighs. If you bone and truss them before roasting, you can simply slice them across when you serve. I also season them before rolling and trussing, so they're especially yummy.

Dark meat tastes better anyway!
 
aargersi November 2, 2010
I DO need a pteropdactyl but I can't seem to find an organic free range one ... thanks all I think I will go with a slightly smaller turkey and then do the extra legs on the grill idea - perfect solution! Anyone know where I can order clean-up gnomes?
 
allie November 2, 2010
Go with a smaller turkey and roast a couple of turkey legs and a boned turkey breast or 2 separately. That way, you'll have one manageable turkey to carve at the table and platters of turkey ready to go with breast meat/dark meat.
 
Mr_Vittles November 2, 2010
My dad would always make his turkeys on a Weber grill. He would smoke/ roast 25 pound turkeys on his grill. If you cannot use a grill or do not want to to roll out a 25 pounds beast. I would go with a 15 pounder for your oven. That should be enough if not all your guests will be eating turkey, those two hams should do the trick. Remember the sides will also fill their bellies. Brine, Roast, Eat.
 
TiggyBee November 2, 2010
I've always adhered to the pound per person rule and realistically, I'm wondering why because with the abundance of side dishes, desert, etc., no one ever seems to come close to eating that much! Maybe you'd do better with 2 smaller size turkeys so that you don't have to go so large? You'll still most likely have left-overs, but at least the turkeys won't be dry and you'll have peace of mind that everyone who wants some, will have it.
 
Verdigris November 2, 2010
When running a retirement center kitchen we figured 1/2 pound of turkey per person. That factored in all the waste. I have found it I use that quantity for my personal gatherings it does result in a manageable quantity of leftovers! But everyone does manage to get their choice of meat type! Larger birds tend to have a better yeild. In your case, you could probably get buy with a 16 pound bird. I would error on having too much available and go with around 20 pounds.
 
pierino November 2, 2010
You don't need a turkey you need a pteropdactyl. Would a second turkey be possible? Perhaps grill roasted outside? That would also give you a third flavor.
 
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