How Big Of A Bird Do I Need? And More Turkey Tips


This week we are going to “Talk Turkey” all week with a series of articles to help you navigate the holiday season. Let’s start with the bird itself:

How Big Of A Bird Am I Going To Need?

Simple, about 1lb per adult per the Agricultural Department. Figure 2 little ones (not teenagers) equals one adult. If you like lots of left overs, go a pound and a half per adult. According to most chefs, a 22lb. turkey will yield about 12 pounds of meat, or 22 servings.

Should I Buy My Turkey Now?

If it’s frozen, yes. If going with a fresh farm turkey you can refrigerate it for a max of 2 days. By theory, frozen turkeys have a shelf life of about a year.

How Long Does It Take To Thaw My Bird?

If you are thawing it in the fridge, DO NOT unwrap and figure 24 hours for every 5 lbs. So, a 10 lb. Turkey takes 2 days. 22 lb. Turkey 4- 4.5 days.

If you are going to thaw it in cold water, keep it in it’s wrapping, wrap a garbage bag around it and squeeze all the air out. tie it off and drop it in a bucket or sink so that it is totally submerged. Figure 30 minutes per pound, so a 10 lb turkey only takes 5 hours. As long as you refresh the water every 30 minute to an hour.

Yes you could thaw it in a microwave. Make sure you take all the metal clips off . Expect a mess. And follow your microwaves thawing instructions. This should really only be done in case of emergency.

So, here is Refrigerator v. Cold Water Thaw Formula based upon above

10 to 18 pounds 2 to 3-1/2 days 5 to 9 hours
18 to 22 pounds 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 days 9 to 11 hours
22 to 24 pounds 4-1/2 to 5 days 11 to 12 hours
24 to 29 pounds 5 to 6 days 12 to 15 hours


Should I Brine?

This is a personal preference. Most nowadays brine. Momma never brined, I prefer not brining or at the very least dry brining.  But, most of my friends wet brine. We will talk more about wet v. dry Tuesday and Wednesday.

Watch for more articles later this week for smoker, fryer, and oven tips.

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