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As a crisp creeps into the morning air and the leaves just start changing hue, we're ready to say goodbye to grilled corn on the cob and turn our attention to seasonal favourites like apples, pumpkin spice and, of course, holiday turkey. And even if you're not quite feeling ready for turkey time just yet, starting to plan a few weeks ahead can make pulling off an unforgettable holiday feast easier, especially if it's your first time hosting. Read on to learn exactly how to get your turkey ready for a holiday feast.
The first step to throwing a holiday feast is planning ahead, and you should reserve your bird with a butcher at least a few weeks in advance.
Order roughly 1.25 pounds of turkey per guest—so, for example, a 12- to 13-pound bird to feed a party of 9—so everyone can get their fill and have some leftovers, too. If you want lots of leftovers, order 1.5 pounds per guest.
Roasting an unforgettable turkey takes some time, and you may need to start up to a week before your feast.
If your turkey came frozen, it could take days to thaw. If you're thawing in the fridge, count on one day of thawing per 4 to 5 pounds of turkey; for thawing in a water bath, plan for a half hour of thawing per pound of turkey.
Most turkeys will come with the neck and giblets inside the bird. Remove these and set them aside to cook separately. Use paper towels to pat the bird dry, including inside the cavity.
A classic rub made from thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper works well with virtually any stuffing, while a sage rub perfectly complements the cornbread stuffing.
Set your oven to 325°F to cook your bird evenly. The total cook time will depend on the size of your turkey, so let a meat thermometer be the ultimate judge. Your turkey is cooked when the breast meat reaches 170°F and the thighs reaches 180°F. After it's done, allow the bird to rest for at 20 least minutes before carving. This is the perfect time to use the oven to warm up your sides.
You're almost ready to serve your bird, now you just need to carve. We suggest carving in advance rather than at the table, since you can take your time to get it right. Remove the drumsticks and wings to serve whole, and slice or pull the rest of the dark meat. Remove the turkey breasts and slice the white meat into ½-inch slices, using a carving knife or chef's knife. Fill your platter with a variety of cuts and serve - and bask in the glow of compliments from your guests, you've earned them!
The secret to savoury, lump-free, turkey-flavoured gravy? Fond (the meaty little bits leftover in your turkey roasting pan) and two packets of Club House Turkey Gravy Mix. Make our Perfect Turkey Gravy recipe in a few simple steps.