How to Cook the Perfect Turkey – TK Ranch Style!

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TK Ranch

Let's Talk Turkey, again

Last year I shared my turkey recipe and this was a very popular post. As I mentioned before, the number one question I receive is how to prepare a bird properly. Please find below how I prepare a turkey for our family gatherings on TK Ranch.

Free Range Turkey

Turkey 101

Being prepared helps boost a person's confidence, especially if this is your first time wrestling a 20 pound turkey — and believe me it can feel that way sometimes.

1. Buy your ingredients: If you have not ordered one of our turkeys, please do it right away. On TK Ranch most of us are gluten intolerant which means we need to buy gluten-free bread or crumbs for the stuffing. You will need two loaves for a large bird. If you like gravy you will also need to have some gluten-free flour on hand; I like to use Namaste. You will also need a pound of butter, 2 large onions, 8 celery stalks, sea salt, freshly ground pepper and poultry seasoning for the stuffing — and lots of fresh garlic for the rub. You will need a small piece of tin foil — about 15 cm across — and some skewers.

2. Thaw the turkey: The first thing you need to do is give your bird enough time to thaw before it is prepared. The night before my turkey is to be cooked, I fill my kitchen sink up with cool water and immerse the frozen bird — make sure you leave it in the packaging as this will prevent the bird soaking up excess water. It should be thawed by morning. If it is still a bit frozen in the morning, run cool water into the cavity of the bird for a few minutes.

3. Prepare the stuffing: The night before, I cut the slices of gluten free bread into large chunks — about 2 cm square — and place them into a large bowl or onto a cookie sheet to dry out overnight (and cover them with a tea towel). If you want to be really prepared you can also dice up the onions and celery the night before. Make sure you leave the butter out overnight so that it is soft for the rub.

4. Prepare your desserts — especially anything that needs to be baked because most ovens aren't big enough to cook a turkey and pies on the same day! Gluten-free Pumpkin Pie is a staple here as well as Cranberry Pie — if you would like my recipes, please email me.

5. Prepare the turkey: I am an early riser and this is beneficial on days when I am expecting crowds of people for supper. The first thing I do in the morning is check the turkey — drain the sink and once it is empty cut open the packaging on the bird and remove it. The turkey should be thawed or very close to it. Inside the bird you will find the giblets and the neck in a small plastic bag. My grandmothers always boiled the giblets in a small amount of water (excluding the liver) and then added this water to the gravy for flavour — I just feed them to our dogs. Once the giblets are removed I run tap water into the cavity of the bird to remove any leftover ice and rinse the bird very well. I then turn the bird over, pull the skin away from where the neck was and rinse this area well — this is where any leftover stuffing will be placed.

6. Pre-cook the stuffing: While your bird is rinsing, place the onions and celery with a half pound of butter into a large pot and saute. When they are soft, I add 1 tablespoon of sea salt, half a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper and two tablespoons of poultry seasoning. Mix well and cook a little longer to blend the seasonings. Turn off the burner and add the bread crumbs to the cooked onions and celery. Mix everything well and set aside to cool.

7. Mix the Rub: Finely dice 6 large cloves of fresh garlic and mix it into half of the remaining butter. Set aside to blend the flavours.

8. Stuff the turkey: Lay a clean tea towel on the counter and give yourself lots of room. Lay the turkey down breast side up and release the legs if they were placed in a fold of skin to hold them. Look inside the bird to ensure there is nothing there and place your pot of stuffing down on the counter close by. I use my hands (because it is easier) and begin placing the prepared stuffing into the body cavity, pressing it lightly to pack the body as full as possible. Once full, I take a small piece of tin foil and place it over the stuffing (usually it is protruding from the body cavity) and tuck it in. This helps keep the stuffing from falling out and keeps moisture inside the bird. Carefully turn over the bird and stuff the neck area with the remaining breadcrumb mixture — I usually have lots of stuffing left over and end up stretching this skin so that the bird looks like a hunch-back. I secure the skin firmly to the back of the bird using one or two turkey skewers. Turn the bird back over and voilà — you have successfully stuffed a turkey.

9. Truss the turkey: This is simply a method used to stabilize the bird by tying the legs and folding the wings. Take a small piece of string and tie the front legs together. The wings take a bit more skill — fold them down and tuck them under the bird — the only thing I can compare this to is undoing my bra — the wings should be in the same position, like the turkey was trying to undo its bra. Place the turkey into a large roasting pan that is fairly deep to catch the juices for gravy. Preheat your over to 425°F.

10. Apply the rub: Take the butter/garlic rub and generously slather it all over the bird. My daughters sometimes get creative and inject seasoned butter with a large needle and syringe into the breast as well. We also liberally season the bird with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

11. Cook the turkey: Place the bird in the center of your pre-heated oven UNCOVERED. Leave the oven at 425°F for 30 minutes to seal in the juices of the bird. Turn down the heat to 325°F and continue to cook the turkey (low and slow) until it reaches an internal temperature of 170°F. You can baste the turkey several times while it is cooking to help keep it moist, but I prefer keeping this juice for gravy. A general rule of thumb is that it will take 20 minutes to cook one pound of turkey — so if you have a 20 pound bird it will take approximately 6.5 hours. Please ensure that you USE A MEAT THERMOMETER to temp your turkey or you risk overcooking the bird which dries it out — stick the thermometer into the thickest part of the leg to get an accurate reading.

12. Let the bird rest: After the bird has reached an internal temperature of 170°F, remove it from your oven. DO NOT SLICE IT FOR 15 MINUTES — let it relax to reabsorb the juices. While it relaxes, you can remove the stuffing from both ends and prepare the gravy.

13. Carve the bird: Once the turkey has relaxed, carve it and serve with your favourite dishes. On TK Ranch, we always serve mashed potatoes, steamed carrots with honey and garlic, sweet potatoes with roasted pecans and maple syrup, canned beets and a large green salad.

14. Enjoy!

 

If you have already placed an order and want to add to it, you can either:

  1. Place another order and we will combine them when we fill the orders, or;
  2. If what you would like to add is less than our minimum order ($50) please contact us and we will update your order and send you a confirmation email.

If there is something you would like that is "out of stock" on the website, please put a note in the comments section of your order (include the item name and number you would like). If we receive the item before we fill your order, we will happily add it for you :).

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The last day to order for our upcoming EDMONTON delivery is this Sunday

Our next CALGARY delivery is October 24th

BACK IN STOCK

This week we uploaded almostĀ every product that we carry. Please check out our on-line store for your family's
favourites.

Grassfed Standing Rib Roast

Grassfed Ground Beef

Filet Mignon/Tenderloin Steak

Free Range Chicken Wings

Pork Fat

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Animal Welfare Approved -grassfed-Here is wishing for an early spring!

All the best,
Colleen Biggs
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“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.”
– Wendell Berry

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