If you look forward to roasted turkey with all the trimmings at the centre of your holiday table, then let us do some of the heavy lifting for you by delivering your bird directly to your doorstep. Our friends at Hayter’s have been humanely raising and harvesting the finest quality turkeys near Dashwood, Ontario, for three generations. The Hayter family is devoted to caring for their flock, they know that TLC yields a superior product. These antibiotic-free birds are comfortably raised in open-sided barns, with plenty of room to roam and spread their wings. The birds are fed a balanced diet and given plenty of fresh water to drink. The happy and stress-free birds are checked on every few hours and given extra bedding as needed. Hayter's turkeys are absolutely delicious, no matter how you choose to prepare them, and cooking up a whole bird is an economical way to feed a hungry crowd. Go ahead and add this bird to your next subscription box and invite your clan to dinner. One whole turkey can feed a group of 7-10 people, or less with lots of leftovers.
COOKING TIP: The first step in preparing your turkey is to thaw it completely in its original package. Turkeys can be thawed in the fridge, or in the sink with running water. In the fridge, it takes 24hrs for every 2.5kg, so plan for 2-3 days. If you need your bird thawed faster, place it in a clean sink or laundry tub filled with cold water. It should take 2-3 hours to thaw, or about 1 hour for every 2.5kgs.
Once thawed the first thing to do is remove the neck and a bag of giblets (gibs) from inside the cavity before cooking. So pull up your sleeves and reach in, WARNING: this job is not for the squeamish! The giblet bag contains the heart, gizzard, and liver. Some people chop the gibs up and add them to stuffing. We like to add them to a stock which flavours our pan gravy.
There are countless ways to dress and cook a whole turkey. Some people inject butter or brine into the meat and some rub compound butter on or under the skin. Some like to stuff their bird, while some prefer stuffing on the side. Whether you oven roast, deep fry, air fry, smoke or BBQ your bird, it's important to cook until the thigh temperature reaches a minimum of 180°F (82°C).
Turkey breast is a very lean meat protein, and when roasting a whole bird the light meat tends to cook faster and dry out before the thighs are fully cooked. To ensure your bird is tender and moist throughout, we suggest brining or soaking your bird in a salty, aromatic bath prior to cooking.
Place your turkey in a shallow pan and roast in a 325°F (163°C) oven until the thigh temperature reaches a minimum of 180°F (82°C). Depending on the size of your bird, the style of your oven, the material of the pan, and how many times you open the oven door this can take anywhere from 3 hrs 20min to 5 hours. We strongly recommend that you use a calibrated oven thermometer to check the internal temperature to ensure doneness. If you chose to stuff your bird the cooking time will increase, make sure to cook until the centre of the stuffing reaches a minimum of 165°F(74°C). Once cooked, tent your bird with foil and let it rest for about 15 minutes before carving.
The only thing better than roast turkey is the leftovers. Throw all the bones and connective tissue into a stock pot to make bone broth, which is great for sipping on its own, or as a base for turkey noodle soup. Do you have some meat left over? Slice it thinly and serve it on bread with leftover cranberry sauce, mayo, and stuffing for a quick lunch.