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  #1  
Old 11-14-2011, 06:07 PM
nonacetone nonacetone is online now
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Roasting The Turkey Before Thanksgiving?

I've heard of such things, and I was wanting to do it this year. We'll be hosting the in-laws, and I want things to go reasonably well.

I'll be brining the turkey, and roasting it in the oven, as usual. Only it'll be done the day before.

How do I keep the turkey nice and moist after it comes out of the oven, and sits in the fridge all night? I know it's supposed to be sliced, and placed in a 9x13 pan. Pour some turkey stock over it, along with a few pats of butter, cover tightly, and place in the fridge until needed. In my case, I'll be reheating it the next afternoon.

How much turkey stock should I pour over it?
How much butter on top? Is butter really even needed?
Do I reheat it covered, or uncovered? I'm assuming it's supposed to be covered, though.
How long do I keep it in the oven to reheat? At what temperature?

I just want the day to be less hectic for myself, opening up more oven-time for other dishes, and I'm hoping this would help. Am I being stupid in wanting to even bother trying this stunt? Am I asking for trouble?
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  #2  
Old 11-14-2011, 06:22 PM
sitchensis sitchensis is offline
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If time and work are a factor I would use those oven bags they sell for turkeys. Those bags cut the time down and there is no basting.

If I were to show up to a Thanksgiving like you are suggesting I would think it’s a little weird.
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  #3  
Old 11-14-2011, 06:34 PM
nonacetone nonacetone is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sitchensis View Post
If I were to show up to a Thanksgiving like you are suggesting I would think itís a little weird.
Really? Why would you consider it to be a little weird?
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  #4  
Old 11-14-2011, 06:41 PM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
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Honestly it strikes me as a little weird too...basically like eating leftovers on The Big Day.

Last edited by zombywoof; 11-14-2011 at 06:41 PM..
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  #5  
Old 11-14-2011, 06:44 PM
nonacetone nonacetone is online now
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Huh. Ok. Thanks for the opinions! I'll keep that in mind, then.
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  #6  
Old 11-14-2011, 06:45 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is online now
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If you've never done it this way before, why take the risk of trying it out on your in-laws? Unless you're trying to discourage a return visit, of course.
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  #7  
Old 11-14-2011, 06:53 PM
nonacetone nonacetone is online now
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Chefguy, yeah. Ok, no. But, well...
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  #8  
Old 11-14-2011, 06:54 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Yeah, it would be a little weird. For some reason, plenty of stuff can be premade for Thanksgiving (cranberry sauce actually improves with a bit of time in the fridge) but the turkey ought to be done that day.
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  #9  
Old 11-14-2011, 06:55 PM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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Do a test run prior to Thanksgiving.

Alternately, consider Mark Bittman's 45 minute turkey roast - you butterfly the turkey and roast it that way.
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  #10  
Old 11-14-2011, 07:00 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Cooking a turkey is one of the easiest things you can do, so I'm with those who say why do this. I use the plastic bag method, and all you have to do is stick in the oven (maybe prep it a little), insert the meat thermometer, and take it out when done. It's take a long time, but the actual work is minimal.

I would make the other stuff the day the before, if needed. Besides, you want your house to smell like roast turkey on T-day. That's part of the whole deal!
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  #11  
Old 11-14-2011, 07:03 PM
Saint Cad Saint Cad is offline
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Cut the legs, thighs and wings off the turkey and roast them separately from the breast. It'll cut down cooking time.
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  #12  
Old 11-14-2011, 07:06 PM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
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It seems to me much of the point of roasting a whole turkey is in the visual appeal of its presentation, which evokes Norman Rockwell paintings and all that.

*If* I were going to cook it and slice it up a day ahead for some reason, I'd cut up the bird and roast it in pieces in order to get the dark meat optimally cooked without worrying about drying out the breast meat.
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  #13  
Old 11-14-2011, 07:08 PM
nonacetone nonacetone is online now
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I agree. The turkey roasting is easy. I've done it many, many times.
I guess I'll just go ahead and make everything else early in the day, and keep it all warm in assorted crockpots. Just to get it all out of the way. I'll put in the rolls when the turkey comes out of the oven.

The house smelling like roasting turkey is nice!
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  #14  
Old 11-14-2011, 07:26 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zombywoof View Post
It seems to me much of the point of roasting a whole turkey is in the visual appeal of its presentation, which evokes Norman Rockwell paintings and all that.
Yep. A Thanksgiving without a whole bird roasted that day is not Thanksgiving to me. You simply do not play around with Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) and, if you want to deviate from the menu, you do that with additional items, not with substitutions. A roast bird (sorry, but no bags for me) is required. I've done one Thanksgiving with a bird thrown on the smoker (by request) and, while delicious, it just wasn't right for me. A Thanksgiving with a pre-cooked turkey covered in broth and reheated would be all wrong.
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  #15  
Old 11-14-2011, 07:27 PM
D_Odds D_Odds is online now
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I understand and feel for your problem. One oven, many dishes to prepare. And the turkey may be so large as to prevent other dishes from fitting in the oven at the same time.

Other items might be better prepared the day (or the morning of), and reheated. I've often, depending on the weather, used my outdoor deck as a makeshift refrigerator. A turkey needs to rest at least 20 minutes, so you also have time when it comes out. The downside to hosting Thanksgiving is you don't get to host too much.

When we've hosted, I go overboard with planning and checklists, but it helps ensure nothing is forgotten and that you are using your facilities as much as possible.
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  #16  
Old 11-14-2011, 07:40 PM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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I reheat leftover turkey in a microwave, not an oven. When I part out a bird, I put it onto a pyrex pie plate add a slosh of chicken stock, cover with plastic wrap and nuke on a lower percentage in 5 minute increments so I don't end up with bird pucks.
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  #17  
Old 11-14-2011, 08:13 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Thing is, what could you possibly want the oven for that's more important than the turkey? Green bean casserole can go in when the turkey's resting. Pretty much everything else we do besides stuffing is stovetop.
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  #18  
Old 11-14-2011, 08:42 PM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is offline
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My mom has been pre-cooking and freezing the turkey for a few years now. I don't like turkey anyway but this is much more edible than turkey cooked on the day. It's juicier.

I also prefer it because I'm the one in there helping her on Thanksgiving day so it's all much easier if we don't have to work around the turkey or worry about ruining the turkey.

But like I said I don't really like turkey and therefore don't quite like Thanksgiving so I might be way off. But I say if it's easier for you, DO IT!
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  #19  
Old 11-14-2011, 08:45 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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That suggests to me that you haven't really had good turkey. When I was growing up my mom made shitty turkeys - I make awesome ones.
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  #20  
Old 11-14-2011, 09:23 PM
D_Odds D_Odds is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
Thing is, what could you possibly want the oven for that's more important than the turkey? Green bean casserole can go in when the turkey's resting. Pretty much everything else we do besides stuffing is stovetop.
Mac & cheese
Biscuits
Sweet potatoes
Other roast vegetables
If hosting for a large gathering, a second meat, such as ham or lamb
To honor our families Italian-American heritage, we often have lasagna, manicotti, shells or some other baked pasta (usually meatless to appease vegetarians)

I could go on and on. The larger the gathering, the more diversity I might try to get into the menu. I've got a double oven (actually, more like 1.5 oven) and I need to time everything just so to get the most food on the table freshly cooked.
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  #21  
Old 11-14-2011, 09:30 PM
salinqmind salinqmind is online now
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The turkey cooked in the oven bag does NOT take a long time, it cooks really fast (relatively speaking,) and is very juicy and falling-apart tender. Read the instructions on the oven bag box, you'd be surprised. My parents got the brilliant idea one year to roast the thing the night before, carve up, refrigerate, and resurrect in the oven the next day. Tasted like ass, with that re-warmed taste, but YMMV. Put enough gravy on it, lotsa side dishes, no one notices. (But I think turkey tastes lousy anyway, no matter how you cook it.)
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  #22  
Old 11-14-2011, 10:09 PM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
Thing is, what could you possibly want the oven for that's more important than the turkey? Green bean casserole can go in when the turkey's resting. Pretty much everything else we do besides stuffing is stovetop.
This is where slow cookers can help a LOT. And they don't have to be in the kitchen, even. Ask every group to bring a slow cooker (or two) and tell the group that they are in charge of the dish in the cooker, and packing up the leftovers from that cooker, and taking the cooker home.
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  #23  
Old 11-15-2011, 03:43 AM
nonacetone nonacetone is online now
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Thank you, everyone.
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  #24  
Old 11-15-2011, 03:47 AM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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This reminds me of the first Thanksgiving dinner my mother gave for her new inlaws. It was the first time she ever attempted baked alaska.

Stick with what you know.
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  #25  
Old 11-15-2011, 07:02 AM
muldoonthief muldoonthief is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Bodoni View Post
This is where slow cookers can help a LOT. And they don't have to be in the kitchen, even. Ask every group to bring a slow cooker (or two) and tell the group that they are in charge of the dish in the cooker, and packing up the leftovers from that cooker, and taking the cooker home.
Here's a sample letter you can write to your guests asking them to bring some side dishes.
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  #26  
Old 11-15-2011, 07:43 AM
CrazyCatLady CrazyCatLady is offline
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My dad's family has pre-cooked the turkey for ages. My aunt who always hosts used to live in a house with a double wall oven, and between the smaller oven size and the other stuff she had going on, it was generally easier for someone else to do the turkey. You ever try to transport a hot turkey? It works for shit. So it got done the night before, broken down into large cuts, kept overnight, reheated at Aunt Barb's next day, and then sliced and put on a serving plate. I've never noticed it being dry or icky or "tasting reheated" or in any other way worse than the turkeys my husband has roasted (well, aside from the differences that come with actually seasoning the damn thing.)

Sure, you lose out of that Norman Rockwell presentation in the dining room and having everything fresh-carved to order doing it this way. But when you're doing a buffet in the kitchen and then retiring to folding tables, you worry far less about that sort of thing. And besides, it's Thanksgiving. It's not about the food. It's about being with people you love and being grateful for what you have.

I say the same thing I say about changing any other holiday practice: if it's going to make your holiday easier and less stressful, go for it. If you're clinging to a tradition that makes you stressed and cranky and sucks the joy out of the celebration, you're doing it wrong.
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  #27  
Old 11-15-2011, 08:24 AM
D_Odds D_Odds is online now
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Originally Posted by CrazyCatLady View Post
And besides, it's Thanksgiving. It's not about the food. It's about being with people you love and being grateful for what you have.
That statement is wrong on so many levels.

Food is the reason I prefer to host (despite the work) or attend Thanksgiving on my family's side versus at my in-laws. I really don't care which family I spend time with (as long as there is one room to watch football), but Thanksgiving especially has a host of home-made foods that just aren't prepared other times of the year. And my side of the family, with it's Italian (father) and southern-soul plus native American (mother) roots cooks so much better than my wife's (Filipino) family, especially when preparing traditional American dishes.
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  #28  
Old 11-15-2011, 08:36 AM
Cheesesteak Cheesesteak is offline
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Originally Posted by muldoonthief View Post
Here's a sample letter you can write to your guests asking them to bring some side dishes.
What's funny is while the letter is thoroughly ridiculous, I can easily imagine having conversations like this when doling out who's bringing what. When my mom does thanksgiving, there's always a call or two regarding who is going to bring their "favorite" recipe/dish. I tend to do pies, my sister sweet potatoes, etc. and someone has to be the clearing house of who brings what, so you don't get 3 trays of green beans and no shrimp cocktail.
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  #29  
Old 11-15-2011, 10:34 AM
MarcusF MarcusF is offline
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Being a poor deprived Brit we don't have Thanksgiving but we do have turkey (and roast gammon) for Christmas dinner and for years I've been pre-cooking the meat. I can't say I like it - mostly it works but I agree, visually it's not the same and there is a danger of it being dry - but I've not found an alternative for our situation.

The problem is that the family gathering (14 people) and Christmas Dinner are at my SIL's who has the biggest house but only has a single - smallish oven. For various reasons we don't actually join them until Christmas Day. Net result there is neither the necessary oven(s) nor the time to cook a large turkey. I might look into the butterflied 45 minute roast mentioned up thread but I doubt that would work with the size of bird we need

As to how to do it, I've tried covering with stock but - to me - this just tasted like a TV dinner- yuk! These day what I do is cut off the whole breast in one piece, carve it in thick slices, reassemble it and wrap in aluminium foil. The red meat I carve and make up into packs with scraps on the top and bottom. The scraps dry out but the slices stay moist and tender. Not saying this is perfect, I'd rather cook it fresh, but it does work.
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  #30  
Old 11-15-2011, 11:00 AM
Ellen Cherry Ellen Cherry is offline
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I advocated for doing as the OP suggested in DiosaBellisma's thread last week. My re-warmed turkey is AWESOME. So there.

But anyway, reading through this thread reminds me of one the times I made the turkey at my home and transported it to my brother's. He, in his own kitchen, roasted a duck. A duck! It was so exciting! Duck! And we got that cooking-bird smell.

So bring your turkey cut up and roast a duck on site. Tell 'em I sent ya.
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  #31  
Old 11-15-2011, 11:24 AM
StGermain StGermain is online now
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How is the skin if you soak it in broth? The meat I can take or leave, but my favorite part is crispy skin.

StG

Last edited by StGermain; 11-15-2011 at 11:24 AM..
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  #32  
Old 11-15-2011, 11:41 AM
CrazyCatLady CrazyCatLady is offline
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Originally Posted by StGermain View Post
How is the skin if you soak it in broth? The meat I can take or leave, but my favorite part is crispy skin.

StG
We never soaked it in broth, so I don't know. We always just cut the breast meat off in two big hunks and the legs off, then put them in a foil-covered pan with a touch of broth to reheat.
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  #33  
Old 11-15-2011, 12:45 PM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is offline
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Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
That suggests to me that you haven't really had good turkey. When I was growing up my mom made shitty turkeys - I make awesome ones.
Actually I am a super-taster for bitter and I find roast turkey to be bitter, like coffee or brussell sprouts. Yech.

My mom is actually a really good cook.
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  #34  
Old 11-15-2011, 01:07 PM
Marconi N. Cheese Marconi N. Cheese is offline
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We've been using covered standalone electric roasters for years. Plug em in anywhere, temperature controlled, and leaves the oven free.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I897 using Tapatalk
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  #35  
Old 11-15-2011, 01:29 PM
villa villa is offline
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Originally Posted by panache45 View Post
This reminds me of the first Thanksgiving dinner my mother gave for her new inlaws. It was the first time she ever attempted baked alaska.

Stick with what you know.
Is that you, John? Since when did my brother move to Ohio?
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  #36  
Old 11-15-2011, 02:40 PM
D_Odds D_Odds is online now
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Originally Posted by StGermain View Post
How is the skin if you soak it in broth? The meat I can take or leave, but my favorite part is crispy skin.

StG
That depends on the chef and how much time is put into the preparation.

The problem with a turkey is that it is huge, and if you are cooking more than just the turkey, it will be hard to fit in a refrigerator. But, if you have the facilities, you can brine the bird for 12-18 hours, then let air dry uncovered in the refrigerator for a similar amount of time. To help enhance the crispiness, rub with a small bit of baking powder (do NOT overdo it).

If you don't have room for that, dry thoroughly with paper towels...lots and lots of paper towels. Then place in a roasting pan, breast side down and on ice (to cool the breast relative to the rest of the bird) and place in front of a fan for ~30 minutes before roasting. A little oil (or butter, but I prefer oil) will go a long way to helping obtain a decent skin.

Turkeys can also be dry-brined, but I have never tried that.

Note that I am talking about a brine, not simply a broth bath. I don't soak in broth, though I guess that regular versions of broth may be saturated with enough salt to achieve the same result.
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  #37  
Old 11-15-2011, 10:07 PM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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Quote:
Being a poor deprived Brit we don't have Thanksgiving but we do have turkey (and roast gammon) for Christmas dinner and for years I've been pre-cooking the meat. I can't say I like it - mostly it works but I agree, visually it's not the same and there is a danger of it being dry - but I've not found an alternative for our situation.
My electrologist is originally from England and we got to talking about holidays one day. I asked if she celebrated Thanksgiving, since she came to the US as an adult and doesn't have the childhood memories and traditions. Boy, does she EVER. Apparently Turkey Day is her favoritest day of the year.
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