Preparing and Stuffing a Turkey

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Stuffing Primer - This photo tutorial shows everything you've wanted to know about stuffing a turkey plus a FAQ that will make you a turkey expert this holiday season.

I was knew someone who didn't know you had to remove the turkey neck and giblets before roasting the bird. It was her first time making Thanksgiving and no one had ever taught her. We're to here to help new cooks make a fabulous turkey, from start to finish.

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Before you can cook the turkey, be sure to remove the package of giblets from the body cavity, and the neck from the cavity (photos 1, 2 and 3 above). Save the turkey neck for making stock or soup. The giblets can be used for making gravy or stuffing.

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An optional step is to roast your turkey on a bed of vegetables like shown in photo 4. We used a mixture of onions, celery and carrots. This will keep the turkey lifted of the bottom of the pan, allowing the juices to run down, as well as give the pan juicess and therfore the gravy, more flavor. You may or may not want to use the vegetable layer, depending on the turkey recipe you are using.

Photo 5 shows lifting the skin without completely separating it. You should do this in order to rub oil or butter on the turkey. You can also place fresh herbs under the skin to infuse the meat with additional flavor. We use this technique in our recipe for Turkey with Fresh

Herbs and Pan Gravy
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Another way to infuse flavor into the turkey is to use an injector to inject marinade or melted butter into the turkey meat itself, as shown in photo 6. You can fin injectors at gourmet shops, or get one at a discount through Amazon.com by clicking here.Stuffing a Turkey

It's important to stuff the turkey just before roasting. It is not safe to store stuffing in an uncooked turkey, even if it is kept in the refrigerator.

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When stuffing the turkey, keep it loose. You want to avoid tightly packing in the stuffing as it will expand somewhat during roasting. Stuff stuffing in the neck cavity by lifting up the front flap of skin as in Photo 1, and in the body cavity, as in Photo 2. After stuffing, replace turkey legs in metal holder or truss turkey with twine.

FAQ
What are giblets and what should I do with them?

Giblets are the turkey's neck, gizzard, heart and liver. When cooked until tender, they make a great addition to gravy or stuffing. If you have dogs, you can also cook the giblets for your pet. Make sure all bones are removed, chop up the meat and let Fido enjoy the feast too.

What is a self basted turkey?

Self basted turkeys have been injected or marinated in a solution which usually contains edible fat, natural broth, stock or water and seasonings. Self-basted turkeys are labeled with the percentage of solutions and their ingredients.

My turkey is getting too brown and it's still has a long time to cook. HELP!
No problem, if you find the top of your turkey is getting to brown, simply cover it loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil and continue to roast the turkey according to schedule.

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