Thursday, November 24, 2011

Should You Wash The Turkey? How Long To Cook It? And Mary's Little Lamb

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.  Is there anyone in your life who made a difference when you needed it?  This is a good day to call her up and say thank you.  Go ahead.  Even if you have people coming over in two hours.  Just say, Hi, I wanted to say thank you.  I don't have a lot of time now, but I'll call you back.  But I didn't want to wait any longer.  Thanks!

Meanwhile, if you're trying to figure out how to prepare that turkey, you'll find a bit of variation in the  advice online.

Wash the turkey or not?  I get contradictory advice:

Better Homes and Gardens:
Don't wash the bird. Washing raw poultry is not necessary, and the splashing water may contaminate surrounding objects. In general, the less you handle poultry, the safer it remains.


Finally, rinse the outside of the turkey and inside the cavity with cool water and pat dry. As a precaution against the spread of harmful bacteria, be sure to wash the sink, countertop, and any utensils that have come in contact with the uncooked meat, as well as your own hands, with soap and water.

 Cooking times are closer but still vary greatly

Here are three recommendations.  We have a 21 pound turkey the advice from these three different sites are, for cooking at 325˚F: 4.5-5 hours,  5.5 - 6 hours, and 3.5-4.5.  What seems to be common among them all is that it's done when the inside temperature should be 165˚F.

From the United States Department of Agriculture  Food Safety Inspection Service :

Timetables for Turkey Roasting
(325 °F oven temperature)

Use the timetables below to determine how long to cook your turkey. These times are approximate. Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your turkey and stuffing.

4 to 8 pounds (breast) 1½ to 3¼ hours
8 to 12 pounds 2¾ to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3¾ hours
14 to 18 pounds 3¾ to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4½ hours
20 to 24 pounds 4½ to 5 hours

 From Homecooking at aboutdotcom:
Approximate Roasting Times for Unstuffed Turkey

Turkey Weight

6 to 8 pounds2-1/2 to 3 hours
8 to 12 pounds3 to 4 hours
12 to 16 pounds4 to 5 hours
16 to 20 pounds5 to 5-1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds5-1/2 to 6 hours

 This one, I just realized, is from AskAndyAbout Clothes.
Do I want to take turkey cooking advice from a clothes blog?  And he doesn't say where his information comes from.  But I like his times.

Turkey weight with giblets Oven temp Internal temp when done
Cooking time
10-13 lb. 350° F 165° 1 ½ to 2 ¼ hr.
14-23 lb. 325° 165° 2 to 3 hr.
24-27 lb. 325° 165° 3 to 3 ¾ hr.
28-30 lb. 325° 165° 3 ½ to 4 ½ hr.

Last year we took advice to cook the turkey faster and it was great. 

And what does Mary's Little Lamb have to do with Thanksgiving?  Find out below.

In 1817, New York became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday; each celebrated it on a different day, however, and the American South remained largely unfamiliar with the tradition.

In 1827, the noted magazine editor and prolific writer Sarah Josepha Hale—author, among countless other things, of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”—launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians.
Abraham Lincoln finally heeded her request in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when
Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s plan, known derisively as Franksgiving, was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.

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