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The Ultimate List of Turkey Tips: How to Save Your Thanksgiving Dinner


You knew this day would eventually come, and you’ve mastered the art of bringing the wine or a simple side, but the time has come to cook your first Thanksgiving turkey. Better not screw this one up, kid! Luckily, there’s still time to hone your craft, but not without a testing a few things out, first.

McGonigle’s Market is here to help you nail this Thanksgiving meal with our ultimate list of tips. Follow these tips and pick up a fresh turkey at McGonigle’s to try them out before the big day and avoid a Thanksgiving meal catastrophe:

How Do I Choose A Thanksgiving Turkey?

Before you choose a turkey, it’s important to know how many people will be attending your Thanksgiving meal. McGonigle’s has a wide variety of turkey sizes, from a 10-11 pound fresh hen turkey that serves around 6-10 people, all the way up to a 24-26 pound fresh tom turkey that will serve 22-30 guests.

It’s also important not to skimp on quality when it comes to buying your turkey. Afterall, it is the main attraction! At McGonigle’s we are all about having the freshest turkeys on the table, which is why our turkeys have absolutely no additives or preservatives and are the highest quality bird you can buy in Kansas City.

When Should I Order My Turkey?

If you haven’t ordered your Thanksgiving turkey from McGonigle’s, DO IT NOW! Pickup for items ordered is on Tuesday, November 22nd and Wednesday, November 23rd from 8 A.M. to 6 P. M.

Need help choosing your Thanksgiving sides or a fun fall dessert? We have those too! Order them online, along with your turkey, today!

When Should I Defrost My Turkey?

fresh-turkey-cooking-instructions-mcgonigles-market-kcA turkey only needs a day or two to defrost, right? Wrong! A 20-pound turkey can take up to five days to thaw out in the refrigerator. Luckily, ordering your turkey fresh from McGonigle’s will allow you to skip the defrosting process altogether!

However, if you do choose to buy your turkey frozen, it’s better to leave yourself too much time than not enough. And for the smarties who will try to beat the system and ignore this tip: No, a turkey will not fit in the microwave no matter how desperately you need it to. (Trust us, we’ve seen it all)

How Long Should I Cook My Turkey?

If you’re unsure about how long to cook your turkey, we suggest cooking it at 325 degrees Fahrenheit with the following cooking times:

  • 8-12 lb. Turkey, 3 1/2 –4 hours, stuffed, 3-3 1/2 hours unstuffed
  • 12-16 lb. Turkey, 4-4 1/2 hours, stuffed, 3 1/2-4 hours, unstuffed
  • 16-20 lb. Turkey, 4 1/2-5 hours, stuffed, 4-4 1/2 hours, unstuffed
  • 20-24 lb. Turkey, 5-6 hours, stuffed, 4 1/2-5 hours, unstuffed
  • 24-28 lb. Turkey, 5 1/2-6 1/2 hours, stuffed, 5-6 hours, unstuffed

Also, make sure to use a proper meat thermometer, not just the pop-up timer, to determine that your turkey is fully cooked. Your turkey should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit at the thickest part of the thigh.

Click here for further instructions on how to cook the perfect turkey!

Should I Do A Turkey Test Run?

The first time cooking the Thanksgiving turkey can be stressful, but there’s still time to try it out before the big day! Pick up a fresh turkey from McGonigle’s today, and try out your skills before your mother-in-law is there to judge them.

Have you ordered your fresh Thanksgiving turkey? If not, do so before they’re all gone.

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