MIAMI COUNTY — Thanksgiving isn’t called turkey day for no reason.
The National Turkey Federation estimates that 200 million turkeys are eaten per year. More than 46 million turkeys are gobbled down at Thanksgiving, while Christmas consumption comes in at 22 million and Easter eats results in 19 million turkeys put away.
Carl Bowman is co-owner at Bowman & Landes Turkeys Inc. in New Carlisle. Bowman & Landes raises free range, antibiotic-free turkeys on 2,200 acres, with a commitment to quality.
“During the holidays we sell all sorts of turkey products,” he said. “Whole frozen turkeys, breasts, boneless roasts, and breast fillets are available throughout the year. Fresh cooked turkey breast, smoked turkey breast, turkey ham, and many more products are available year round in our retail store on our farm.”
Bowman offered some tips for consumers to ensure getting the perfect bird. To calculate the best size to buy, Bowman said it’s one pound per person for a whole turkey and half a pound per person for a turkey breast.
“The quickest safe way to thaw a turkey is in cold water,” he said. “You need to change the water every hour. It takes about 30 minutes per pound for the bird to thaw. You can also thaw it in the refrigerator, which takes a day or up to three depending on the size.”
A third way to thaw is by placing the bird in a large paper bag which provides some insulation. Allow an hour per pound for thawing.
Turkey can be held three to four days in the coldest part of the refrigerator. If the turkey needs to be held an extra day or two, Bowman said to place in the freezer for several hours to chill and then place in the refrigerator.
Roasting and deep-frying are the most common ways of cooking a turkey. Bowman said brining is a flavorful alternative to prepare the bird as well.
“You combine a cup of brown sugar, one and half cups kosher salt, a gallon of water, a teaspoon each of rosemary and thyme and a sliced orange,” he said. “Put the turkey in a container for one hour per pound to keep it cold. After that, take turkey out of the container, rinse and place in cooking container and cook as usual.”
There’s more than one way to prepare a turkey. Below are some recipes from the National Turkey Federation. Prepare the bird as you please, and have fun “gobbling” it up.
Southern Deep Fried Turkey
whole turkey, non self-basting: 10 to 12 Pound
prepared vinaigrette dressing: 2/3 Cup
dry sherry: 1/3 Cup
lemon pepper seasoning: 2 Teaspoons
garlic powder: 1 Teaspoon
onion powder: 1 Teaspoon
cayenne pepper: 1 Teaspoon
peanut oil: as needed
Remove the giblets and neck, rinse the turkey well with cold water and pat dry thoroughly with paper towels. Take care to dry both inside cavities. To allow for good oil circulation throughout the cavity, do not truss or tie legs together. Cut off the wing tips and plump little tail (as they may get caught in the fryer basket).
In a medium bowl, mix vinaigrette, dry sherry and seasonings together. Strain the marinade.
Place the marinade in an injection syringe. Inject the marinade in the turkey breast, thighs and legs.
Place the bird in a large food-safe plastic bag, refrigerate and marinate for at least 2 hours. Turn the bag and massage the turkey from time to time.
Drain the marinade from the turkey and discard marinade. Place the turkey in the fryer basket or on a rack, neck down.
Place the OUTDOOR gas burner on a level dirt or grassy area. Never fry a turkey indoors, in a garage or in any structure attached to a building. Do not fry on wood decks, which could catch fire, or concrete, which could be stained by the oil. (Safety tip: have a fire extinguisher nearby for added safety.)
Add oil to a 7 to 10 gallon pot with a basket or rack. At the medium-high setting, heat the oil to 375 degrees F, (depending on the amount of oil, outside temperature and wind conditions, this should take about 40+ minutes).
When the oil temperature registers 375 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer, slowly lower the turkey into the hot oil. The level of the oil will rise due to the frothing caused by the moisture from the turkey but will stabilize in about one minute. (Safety tips: to prevent burns from the splattering oil wear oven mitts/gloves, long sleeves, heavy shoes and even glasses. It is wise to have two people lowering and raising the turkey.)
Immediately check the oil temperature and increase the flame so the oil temperature is maintained at 350 degrees F. If the temperature drops to 340 degrees F or below, oil will begin to seep into the turkey.
Fry about 3-4 minutes per pound, or about 35-42 minutes for a 10-12 pound turkey. Stay with the cooker at all times as the heat must be regulated to maintain 350 degrees F.
When cooked to 165-170 degrees F in the breast or 170-175 degrees F in the thigh, carefully remove the turkey from the hot oil. Allow the turkey to drain for a few minutes. (Safety tip: allow the oil to cool completely before storing or disposing.)
Remove turkey from the rack and place on a serving platter. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.
NOTE: Use only oils with high smoke points, such as peanut, canola or safflower oil. To determine the correct amount of oil, place the turkey in the pot before adding seasoning and add water until turkey is covered. Take turkey out of the water before marking the oil level. Measure the amount of water and use a corresponding amount of oil. Dry the pot thoroughly of all water.
Lemon-Garlic Roasted Turkey
whole turkey, fresh or frozen, thawed: 1 15-Pound
extra virgin olive oil: 3/4 Cup
freshly squeezed lemon juice: 1/3 Cup
fresh garlic, peeled: 6-8 Cloves
lemon zest: 1 Tablespoon
salt: 1 Teaspoon
freshly ground black pepper: 1 Teaspoon
lemon wedges as needed
parsley or other fresh herbs as needed
Remove giblets and neck from turkey; reserve. Rinse turkey with cold running water and drain well.
In blender, combine olive oil and lemon juice. While blending, drop in garlic cloves one at a time. Gradually add lemon zest. Continue to blend until mixture is pureed.
Using an injector, inject marinade into all parts of the thawed turkey. (Strain marinade if it is too thick to pass through the injector.)
Gently massage turkey to distribute marinade.
Place turkey in a large plastic bag (cooking bag or food service grade plastic bag). Close bag and refrigerate overnight.
Remove turkey and drain excess marinade. Scrape off excess marinade and discard. Do NOT re-use marinade to baste the turkey.
Fold neck skin and fasten to the back with 1 or 2 skewers. Fold the wings under the back of the turkey. Return legs to tucked position.
Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large shallow (about 2-1/2 inches deep) roasting pan. Rub turkey with salt and pepper.
Insert oven-safe meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, being careful the pointed end of the thermometer does not touch the bone.
Roast the turkey in a preheated 325 degree F. oven about 3-3/4 hours. During the last hour of roasting time, baste with pan drippings. If necessary, loosely cover with foil to prevent excessive browning.
Continue roasting until the thermometer registers 180 degrees F. in the thigh, or 170 degrees F. in the breast. Remove turkey from the oven and allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving.
Place on a warm large platter and garnish with fresh herbs and lemon wedges.
Recipes provided by the National Turkey Federation. More recipes can be found at www.eatturkey.com.
Reach Allison C. Gallagher at [email protected] or on Twitter @Troydailynews.