How to choose a turkey for Christmas, how to cook it properly

How to choose a turkey for Christmas, how to cook it properly

American films often mention Thanksgiving Day. The constant attribute of this holiday is rosy turkey. Now it has become fashionable to cook it with us. Usually they do it at Christmas. In Russia it is customary to bake something on Christmas Eve as a large piece. Earlier in Russia dairy pigs were cooked like this, now they have switched to poultry. Unlike geese and ducks, turkey is much easier and much more useful. What you need to know about this bird?

Main selection criteria

The hostesses are worried that after baking, you get a dry turkey. In fact, you need to be afraid of other moments.

This bird can be poisoned; there are quite a few such cases.

Whole carcasses are in demand on a holiday, unscrupulous sellers and manufacturers throw all their deposits on the counter, and they also put a “Christmas” price tag.

What to look for:

  1. Expiry date if the bird is in original packaging. Carefully look at the print package, if there is a sticker, then try to lift it. Perhaps, under it other information.
  2. Look, smell if turkey is purchased on the market. Do not be afraid to open the carcass, smell inside, assess the color of the meat, yellow or gray patina should not be.
  3. Examine the skin. Since the turkey is cooked entirely, there should be no gaps, dark spots, or dirt on the surface. Otherwise, a beautiful crust will not be.

Next, we choose by common features: we pay attention to ice, which should not be in chilled poultry or water, if frozen turkey is bought. Touch the skin, it should not be too dry, slippery or sticky.

Carcass Weight

Big turkey looks gorgeous on the table, but it has a huge number of minuses. It's not even the price of the bird. It will be difficult to prepare, the process will take a very long time. Remove the massive carcass from the oven, put on the table, it is also difficult and hard to cut. Another point - a small family does not need so much food. In addition, on the table in addition to the bird there will be other dishes.

The optimal size is up to 10 kg.

For a family of 4-5 people, you can buy a small turkey 3-4 kg. She will cook much faster.

Storage and thawing temperature

If you plan to purchase fresh poultry, then we buy the day before cooking, not earlier. Better yet, agree and pick up immediately after slaughter. In this case, we get the freshest meat, the risk of poisoning is nearing zero. But it is not always possible to buy fresh turkey, it is often necessary to take a freeze. In this case, there are other problems.

Important! Frozen turkey is also desirable to buy before cooking. In the freezer for her place may not be, the bird is dimensional. Storage "on the balcony" or on the street is unacceptable! Temperature fluctuations, even if it does not rise above zero, ruin the meat, badly affect the taste.

How to properly defrost a turkey:

  1. Fill the bird with cold water, leave it in the room, periodically change the liquid.
  2. Leave in the refrigerator for 7-12 hours. Then we maintain 1-3 hours in cold water.

It is simply impossible to keep a bird at a temperature above 15 degrees. The carcass is large, until it completely thaws inside, microbes will begin to multiply in the outer tissues, the processes of deterioration and rotting will start. And the more you should not try to defrost the turkey in the microwave.


The purchased turkey must not only be properly defrosted, but also processed. Do this immediately before pickling and after thawing.

What is the treatment:

  1. Wash. In a typical car wash, the bird may not fit, use a large basin, you can immediately go into the bath and arm yourself with a shower.
  2. Plucking feathers. If a lot of them, you can first burn.
  3. Purification of the insides. Often in the abdomen there are blood clots, some guts or other parts, all this needs to be removed.

By the way! The treated bird is wiped dry with paper. A drop of water should not remain, they interfere with the penetration of salt and other spices.

A few words about stuffing

Often stuffed turkey, like chicken. In the carcass thrust apples, cereal, some vegetables. It is important not to do this in advance. The bird will begin to secrete juice, fermentation will begin, unnecessary compounds will be formed to no one. If citrus is left in the bird for a long time, the meat will become bitter.

One more thing - do not fill the turkey tightly stuffed. This will affect the cooking time, which even for an empty carcass can be five hours.

American Turkey: very simple, deliciously delicious

The famous American recipe. For the preparation of such a turkey, pot-type cast-iron cookware is used with a grill at the bottom and a high roomy lid. If there is nothing like this, then you can take a baking sheet or a cauldron, put a stand from below so that the bird does not touch the bottom and seal the top with foil.


  • turkey 6-7 kg;
  • 400 g butter;
  • 1 head of garlic;
  • 2 bunches of parsley;
  • 1 tbsp. l salts;
  • 1 tsp. ground pepper.

Method of Cooking

  1. Chop the butter and leave to soften. Then add the greens, salt, ground pepper and garlic, stir.
  2. Separate 2/3 of the oil mixture. Raise the skin on the turkey breast, thrust the cooked dressing. Put a little in the abdomen. The remaining mixture rub the bird on top.
  3. We place in a cauldron or in another container with a lid. We are covering.
  4. Put the turkey in the oven, cook for 3 hours at 150 degrees. Then remove the cover, raise the temperature to 200 degrees, leave for another 45 minutes.

Turkey “Tender” under the blanket

The original recipe of the Christmas bird, which always turns out. This option differs not only in additives, but also in the way of baking. The temperature in the oven does not rise, but decreases. A bird is being prepared under a blanket of ordinary gauze, take a large piece.


  • 5 kg turkey;
  • 200 g butter;
  • 200 ml of white wine;
  • salt, thyme, pepper, rosemary.

Method of Cooking

  1. Mix ground spices and salt. Grate the turkey inside and out, first with spices and then half the oil.
  2. The wings are wrapped under the back, the legs are tied together, you can put the sliced ​​lemon or orange, a rosemary sprig inside. We tie the skin on the neck so that the air does not pass.
  3. We heat the wine and the remaining oil to dissolve it. We take a piece of Mari, rolled 6 times. We soak in wine, cover the cooked bird.
  4. Put the turkey under gauze for half an hour in the oven, the temperature is 200 degrees.
  5. Remove the carcass. We do not clean gauze, but soak it again with wine and oil, now we do it with a brush, we simply lubricate it.
  6. Put the bird in the oven again, cook for 2.5 hours at 160 degrees. Then remove the gauze blanket. If the turkey is not browned, then you can again smear wine and bake for several minutes without coating.

There are many recipes for turkey with pre-marinating, soaking in salt water, sauces. It is believed that after such manipulations the taste of the bird improves. This is a great option if you still have a lot of time before the holiday.

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