Monday, January 7, 2013

Make Ahead Turkey

My daughter heard about this method from a friend whose grandmother used it every year so I thought I'd try it.  And I decided that afterwards I would post about it since a few people expressed interest in how it turned out.  So I did try it but I didn't post about it.  I'm sure of it now because I went back and looked and there was nothing there.  Yes, I am that forgetful that I could have done it and then forgot but that's a subject for another post.

We purchased our fresh, 24-pound turkey the weekend before Thanksgiving making sure that the date to serve or freeze allowed plenty of time to have it for Thanksgiving and to use any leftovers for at least a day or two.

On the 20th we roasted it and the extra breast we'd purchased and refrigerated both overnight.
Bright and early on the 21st I got to work.  I started by searching online for carving instructions.  In the past, some poor guy always got stuck with the task in the middle of four or five women running around putting on a huge dinner in a small kitchen with very little counter space.

On this day I was by myself with plenty of room and everything I needed to finish my task.

I sliced the breast meat and wrapped and sealed it in aluminum foil packets.

And I chunked and sliced the dark meat and packed it with the bits of white meat that didn't slice as attractively.

As I worked, I had plenty of room to sort and package appropriately.  Oh and I had time to enjoy my coffee as I worked.  That was a huge plus.
Some of the white meat was immediately packaged and frozen for 'cream of turkey' served over toast bites at a later date.

I separated the fat from the broth drippings to save for the next day's gravy.

And before I knew it, I was done.

And now the review.

While researching a carving method, I read that the turkey should rest at least ten minutes before carving.  I always thought this was so it would be easier to slice but according to what I read that day, it's so that all the juices don't immediately run out creating a dry turkey.  And now I'm a believer.

This was the all-time best turkey I ever ate much less served.  It couldn't have been more moist and delicious.  And everybody agreed.

Plus when those casseroles were finishing before dinner, we tucked the packets of turkey meat in wherever they would fit and it couldn't have been easier.

The one small negative that I have to include is that I thought the white meat for sandwiches the next day was just a little dry.  It could have been a lot of things like it should have been sliced thinner or I wasn't really that hungry or I didn't put on enough Miracle Whip but, with that said, it is my intention to prepare my Thanksgiving turkey this way every year.

It was the easiest, best, and tastiest Thanksgiving turkey EVER.


  1. Well, that sounds like pure genius! And now I'm hungry for turkey. :)

  2. That's a great idea. Anything to relieve the Tday chaos a bit. Of course, I suck at advance planning. You'll have to remind us all next year, okay?

  3. And it really was awesome turkey! I can't even begin to say how nice it made our Thanksgiving day! It was sooooooo nice! Thanks for taking the time ahead of time to make the best turkey ever and such an easy day for us!!!


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