The Food Guy, Steven Keith Eating his way through the state, plate by plate

When to Buy that Delicious Big Bird

When you’re ready to head to the store to buy your big bird, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Plan on about 1-2 pounds of turkey per person. (Just depends on how many leftovers you want to enjoy and/or deal with!)
  • If you’re cooking a fresh turkey, allow only 1 or 2 days between buying and roasting it. Be sure to store it in the refrigerator on a tray or pan to catch any juices that may leak out. And don’t worry if your “fresh” turkey seems a little on the frozen side. By law, even fresh ones have to be kept no warmer than 30 degrees.
  • Avoid prestuffed turkeys, as harmful bacteria may be in the stuffing.

And if you go down the frozen route, here are two ways to safely thaw that beast:

  • In the refrigerator in the original wrapper – Allow approximately 24 hours of defrosting time for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey.
  • In cold water – Submerge it in cold water, allowing about 30 minutes per pound to thaw. But be sure to change the water every 30 minutes, and cook the bird immediately after thawing. (Do not refreeze!)