If you look up thankful in the dictionary you’ll find a picture of a perfectly cooked turkey. Seriously, go look. And if it isn’t a picture of a delicious turkey you need a new dictionary. The bird isn’t the reason for the season, but it’s the reason everyone gathers around a table and listens to their uncle’s conspiracy theories or puts up with questions about when you’ll settle down. Turkey makes it all worth it.
The best part is that the leftovers can create meals just as good or better than the original. You might be preparing your own turkey or highly anticipating your family’s secret recipe, but no matter what you should help with the clean up. Those who help clean get more leeway with leftovers, just in case you needed anymore incentive. Before you get there, here is our Hero guide to turkey and leftovers.
Preparing The Turkey
This isn’t an exhaustive guide on how to prepare a turkey, but there are some standard things you should know. Before you get started, make absolutely sure the bird has completely thawed. You cannot take shortcuts with this. After the thawing done you can roast, grill, slow-cook, or deep-fry the turkey. You’ll need a meat thermometer no matter the method. You need the inside to reach 165ºF before serving.
For detailed instructions and to figure out which way look the tastiest, read here:
Is It Your Responsibility To Carve The Bird?
Wielding the carving knife is an honor that should be taken seriously. Your instincts might tell you to dig in like a Wildling, but there is a method to the madness.
- First, remove the string (obviously)
- Cut and remove the legs and thighs.
- Cut the drumstick away from the thigh. This can be done at any point, just make sure you do it.
- Take out the wishbone and make a wish with someone real quick.
- Slice through the joint and remove the wings.
- Slice against the grain to remove the breast meat.
- If the temptation to snack while carving is too much, just make sure no one is looking.
About Those Leftovers
Thanksgiving is only complete if over the next several days you continue to feast on turkey in as many ways possible.
- Turkey Sandwich: You can put whatever you want on this, but you should definitely try bacon, cream cheese, and a fried egg. Good for the morning after, and great at curing hangovers.
- Turkey Press: Use sliced turkey and spicy mustard for this hot sandwich. Spread the mustard on each piece of bread. Cover the mustard with cheese, try Swiss if you have it. Layer on the turkey and put the pieces together. Heat oil in a skillet then put the sandwich in. Press down with your spatula and flip occasionally. Three to four minutes on each side should work fine.
- Turkey Tacos: Combining two amazing foods should be common sense. Cook onions in a skillet with oil, and don’t forget to add sliced avocado. Use leftover gravy if you’re feeling adventurous.
- Turkey Salad: Chances are you have leftover lettuce, might as well not waste it. Speaking of leftovers, use as many of them as you can. Extra almonds? Toss them in. Dressing or stuffing fits in nicely too. Add onions, tomatoes, and your choice of salad dressing for a big bowl of awesome.
- Turkey Chili: This may take some planning ahead of time. If you have the ingredients for chili or chili from the day before, shred the turkey and add it to the mix. After heating the chili, add cheddar cheese and serve with tortilla chips. It doesn’t need to be Thanksgiving to indulge in this meal.
Cleaning Up Your Mess
- The job isn’t done until everything is clean, remember that for more than just cooking. Anything that touched raw meat, even if it was only a second, should be thoroughly washed. Hero Clean’s Dish+Hand Soap is the best way to clean any cutlery that can’t go in the dishwasher, as well as pots and pans. Not to mention your hands. Your counters and stovetop will no doubt be a mess. Hero Clean’s All-Purpose Cleaner demolishes dried gravy and turkey grease with ease.
- After the kitchen is spotless, refer back to the leftovers section for you reward.