Yield: Varies by size of bird
Frozen Turkey with pickle bucket or deep sink
1/4 stick unsalted butter
2 tsp. crushed rosemary
2 tsp. rotisserie chicken seasoning (I use McCormicks)
1 tsp. garlic pepper
1 large sweet apple (honeycrisp, red delicious, gala, jonygold, etc.)
1 large onion
1 oven ready bag
foil baking dish
1 Tbs. all purpose flour
PROPER THAWING OF BIRD
It is extremely important for the safety of your family and your health that you properly dethaw your turkey before cooking. Refrigeration thawing is not optimal since the cool air coming off of the bird as it thaws, will either freeze or spoil surrounding refrigerated items such as fresh vegetables, milk, sour cream, etc. It also takes several days to thaw by refrigeration where thawing by the cold water method takes hours and does not require refrigeration.
Times are approximate, but they are: 30 MINUTES THAW TIME PER POUND FROZEN TURKEY.
If your bird exceeds the size of your sink to be used, use a pickle bucket (5 gallon pail) that has been properly cleaned and sterilized with boiling water before beginning. Your bird must be COMPLETELY SUBMERGED in water during the thawing process. Place your bird in its packaging (do not remove anything, netting, handle, pricetag and all) into the sink or bucket. Completely cover the bird with COLD water. DO NOT USE WARM OR HOT WATER. This will create an environment for breeding bacteria. Turkeys are very dirty birds and precautions must be taken. Change the water every 30-45 minutes until bird is completely thawed. If, by chance, you think it’s thawed and find out otherwise, simply pull out the giblets bag from the cavity and set aside for future use or seal in airtight container/freezer bag and refreeze, and place the turkey inside of an oven bag (the box usually comes with 2 or more bags), seal tightly with tape and repeat process until thawed. You MUST throw away the dethawing bag and use a fresh bag for baking.
PREPARING THAWED BIRD FOR BAKING
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Baking time: 20 MINUTES PER POUND THAWED TURKEY. You will still need to temp the turkey to internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Check this AFTER the turkey popper pops. The turkey popper is just a guideline and does not guarantee that the turkey is cooked through.
Rinse off bird with cold water and remove giblets from inner cavity. Stuff whole apple and onion into cavity. If there is not enough room, slice up apple and shove as much as possible around onion. These items will infuse flavor and juices into the bird. DO NOT STUFF BIRD WITH STUFFING OR OTHER ITEMS TO EAT. It is very dangerous as the bacterias of the bird also soak into the center cavity and there is no way to properly temp the inner cavity of the bird while cooking and it is the last thing to get cooked through. Do not worry about cleaning the apple or onion as they will be discarded once the turkey is finished.
Using paper towels, pat dry the outside of the bird. Using 1/4 stick of butter, smear skin with butter until evenly covered. (Everything covered will give a nice golden brown to your bird). Discard any left over butter into the trash. Sprinkle with rosemary, garlic pepper and chicken seasoning.
PREPARING COOKING BAG
Once your bird is ready, wash your hands thoroughly and soap and hot water and dry them. Then proceed on with prepping the cooking bag. Using 1 Tbs. of flour inside the bag, twist it closed, blown up and shake to cover inside of bag with flour. This is to prevent sticking and I have found, the best way to. It is a light dusting so don’t worry about having to “see” it everywhere inside. If you shook the bag, it’s good! Shake out excess flour. Breast side up, insert your bird, feet towards the opening. Twist closed so the bag is nice and puffy and either tie shut or ziptie shut with provided cooksafe item. Make 6 1-inch slices in the top of the bag to vent.
Place turkey foil tray on top of cookie sheet (this will aid in removing turkey from oven later) and carefully place turkey IN bag inside foil tray. It is now ready to be placed in center rack of oven and bake according to size of bird, listed above. No basting is required and it is actually frowned upon. Set it and forget it!
PLEASE MAKE SURE TO COMPLETELY WASH ALL COUNTERS, UTENSILS, CLOTHING AND SKIN THAT CAME IN CONTACT WITH ANY RAW TURKEY. Also immediately remove all packaging of turkey and throw not only in trash, but in your dumpster to get it out of the house. Salmonella is a very serious bacteria that can make everyone very sick. Simple precautions can help keep you and your family safe this holiday season!
Once your turkey temps out to 165 degrees F., carefully remove from oven. You will notice quite a bit of juices or “drippings” that you will want to save to prepare your gravies (recipes listed). Remove bag from turkey by way of cutting with kitchen shears, watching out for the steam which can burn. Using 2 forks, insert into both ends of turkey through the cavity to lift onto serving plate. Remove apples and onion and discard. Let turkey rest (just sit there undisturbed) for 20 minutes before serving.
With all of that being said, there are many variations of baking a turkey, but this one I have found, works the best for me for a beautiful, moist and delicious bird that doesn’t taste too gamey. Have a good holiday season!