Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner - Forty Seven Pound Turkey Style

My Really Big Thanksgiving Turkey Drama Finale - and a Question and Answer session.

Well, the huge Forty Seven Pound turkey got put in the oven at 1:00 am on Thursday, carved at 2:00 pm Thursday, and we said blessings around 3:15 pm.

No one got sick!  


We got a lot of questions about this bird so I will try and answer some of them here:

Where did you get it?  Feed store as a two/three day old poult (yes I had to look that up. poult = baby turkey)

How old is that thing?  We got three of them in May of 2013. We butchered April of 2014 so not quite a year.
We got pheasants at the same time.

How much does it weigh? (ready to go into the oven)? 47 pounds

How much did the live turkey weigh before you butchered it?  Don't know.  It was hard enough to wrastle a 47# dressed turkey; can't even imagine weighing a live one.

What are the dimensions? 20x15x9 all wrapped in butcher paper and saran wrap and more butcher paper.

How did you get a turkey that big?  Umm, not sure (apparently no so good at this question and answer thing)

What did you feed that thing?  Grass, garden pickings and some grain.

Are your sure it's not an ostrich?  Pretty sure.

Is your oven big enough?  Yes, the oven's a GE Performance and measures 24"L x 16"D x 17"H.

Is your pan big enough?  Nope.  I had to borrow one from my workplace and it was still four inches shy on the width.

Are you going to "spatchcock" that thing?  This means snapping the backbone so it makes it "smaller".  And nope.  We didn't do it.

Are you going to cut it into pieces to cook it?  No, we did it whole.

Are you going to dig a big hole and cook it luau style?  That's a good idea, but no, did it in the oven.  And after the neighbors did a pig once and burnt the thing into nothingness, I'd be too scared too.

How about smoking it?  I don't know if a smoker would be big enough.  And, more importantly, I don't own one.

You used a brown bag there?  What's that all about?  Yes we did use brown paper bags.  Six of them stapled together.  I usually Reynolds bag them, but the max size on those are 24#.  The brown bag method is mentioned here:

How long is that going to take to cook?  According to the directions, 10 hours.  13 minutes a pound times 47 pounds equals 611 minutes or 10 hours.  At 350 degrees, or 325 degrees convection oven.

How long did it actually take to cook?  We put it in at 1:00 am.  The internal temperature reached 165 around 7:00 am.  And this was after I turned the oven down to 300 around 5:00 am.  We left it on 200 until 1:30 when we started carving.

Do you think the meat will be tough?  I didn't know when we started the whole thing, but it turned out it was super moist.  I will say the skin wasn't real moist, but that was on the top, exposed the most to air.

How many people are you expecting? Fourteen.  And we all like turkey.

Do you like leftovers?  Yup

How many leftovers did you have?  Nary a one.  Not kidding.  The family took every last bit.  In the words of my daughter "I guess you know they liked it."  We got the ham.

Why didn't you let the poor turkey live?  He was bred for meat and we knew this the day we got him.  They aren't meant to be kept forever.  He got so big his legs were already at risk for breaking under the weight.

How can you eat something you raised and named?  One, we didn't name him (well, he was either Baker or Broiler, we're not sure which).  Two, I know exactly what goes into my animals so I know exactly what I am eating.  I can only be in control of that if I raise them.

How can you butcher something you raised?  I wasn't sure I could.  Once the logic side stepped in, knowing it was a "meat turkey", I didn't really have a choice.  I know how he died and it was as humane and quick as possible.  We said a blessing and thanked him for providing nourishment.  It sounds corny (believe me!) but that was important to me.  Our fifteen year old daughter helped (as a matter of fact, she did a lot of the work herself, with my husband's guidance) so I know the next generation has some experience raising their own food.  It's not for everyone, and it is a hot topic, and I'm sure not going to judge anyone who thinks it's inhumane.  Just like I hope I'm not judged. 

So there is our Thanksgiving Turkey Drama for the year.  

You can follow the beginning here:  The Really Big Thanksgiving Turkey Drama and on our Facebook Page 

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