How To Choose The Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

As Thanksgiving approaches, thoughts turn to the type of turkey you should buy. This can be a difficult decision to make, especially if you are cooking one for the first time. Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect turkey for your family and friends.

Select a turkey that is the right size for your number of guests. Before you go out for a turkey you will need to determine how many people are coming for dinner. Consider setting a date for the RSVP to make sure you have your choice of great turkeys. This way you won’t have to pick out of whatever is left on the shelves. Once you have figured the number of people you`ll be feeding that day, and keeping in mind that leftovers are always appreciated, plan on buying one pound to one and a half pounds per person.

Decide whether you want to get a fresh or frozen turkey.
Frozen turkeys are cheaper but they need to be thawed for long hours before you can start cooking them: a full day for every 4 pounds of turkey being thawed. If you have limited storage space, you may prefer a fresh turkey.
Be sure you purchase it only 1-2 days before cooking, and stay from pre-stuffed fresh turkeys. These turkeys can contain harmful bacteria if handled improperly. If you do want your turkey to be pre-stuffed, purchase a frozen pre-stuffed turkey that is marked with USDA or State inspection seals.

Decide between the traditional roasted turkey or something more unusual like deep fried turkey. Smaller turkeys, 8 to12 pounds, and turkey parts such as breasts, wings, and thighs are best for frying. Just keep in mind that deep-frying a whole turkey presents some unique hazards. Make sure you take extreme caution and cook your turkey outdoors on a flat, non-flammable surface.

Consider buying a boneless turkey breast instead of a full turkey. Boneless turkey breasts are a great choice for smaller Thanksgiving gatherings. A full turkey would be near impossible for a few people to finish before it goes bad.  Turkey breasts are also a great buy if you are planning on going away right after the holiday. This way you won’t have to worry about turkey leftovers.