Three Reasons to Cook Two Turkeys

13 Nov

My first turkey with a wild rice/mushroom stuffing

The tradition in our family has always been to get the largest turkey we can so that everyone has lots of leftovers. On average, we number seven adults and two kids. Realistically, even a 22 to 24 pound bird doesn’t yield a lot of leftovers. Since its my turn to host this year, my solution is two turkeys. This will solve more than just the problem with the leftovers:

Problem 1 – Big turkeys don’t cook as well as smaller ones.

A few years ago we (as a family) got all jazzed up about cooking turkeys in oven bags. Turkeys cooked in an oven bag come out looking so pretty. They brown up beautifully and there is no basting necessary. The problem is we forget, from November to November, that the underside of the turkey never really cooks all the way through. This is probably not the bag’s fault but is more than likely directly related to the ginormous turkeys we get every year. So, by cooking two smaller turkeys we get more meat and more leftovers. Bonus points that since the primary purpose of one turkey is leftovers, both turkeys don’t have to be cooked on the same day. Hah!

Problem 2 – Two turkeys let me get away with a little variety in the stuffing department.

As a card carrying Libra, variety is practically my middle name. I love experimenting with menus but I am definitely related to some die hard traditionalists. The core T-day menu in our family has been the same as long as I can remember (roast turkey, Dad’s mashed potatoes, Mom’s stuffing, corn and brown-n-serve rolls). I have previously been informed that said menu is NOT TO BE MESSED WITH. As evidence, I give you an excerpt from a conversation I had with my Very Traditional Brother on the eve of my first Thanksgiving in Arizona:

Me: I think I’ll bring some broccoli casserole and a salad.

My brother (voice raising to alarmed status): Salad?? Kath, we never have salad on Thanksgiving!

Me: But, we could! We’re all adults and something green on the table would be refreshing.

My brother (voice wary but resigned): Well, you can bring salad. But I’m definitely not eating any.

I’ll bet you can guess what would happen if I suggested we try a wild rice/mushroom stuffing instead of the Traditional Mrs. Cubbison’s Stuffing that my mother makes every year. Actually I did suggest that and I was resoundingly vetoed. (Side note to Mom: I love you and your stuffing very much. xoxoxoxo)

So problem number 2 is solved with a second turkey that I can stuff with whatever I want. Two turkeys also means two turkey frames which directly solves…

Problem number 3 – I won’t have to arm wrestle my Dad for the turkey bones.

We’re a big soup family. Turkeys have big bones and make awesome broth. Usually there is some debate as to who can claim the turkey frame to make said soup. Although I can easily win if I promise to make soup and share, having two turkeys means it won’t be an issue. It also means I can dedicate one entire turkey frame (and its corresponding broth and leftover meat) to my much beloved gumbo recipe. Score!

So, there you have it. I believe that two 12 to 15 pound birds will accomplish everything I want this year. What about you?  What are the turkey traditions in your family?


Posted by on November 13, 2011 in Holiday, NaBloPoMo, Turkey



13 responses to “Three Reasons to Cook Two Turkeys

  1. Keystone

    November 13, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Kath, that is hilarious! While it’s been a long time since I celebrated T-day with the family, I remember each and every one of those dishes perfectly. And you nailed Bro-fly’s response to Anything That Deviates from Tradition. Thanks for the laugh.

    • Kathryn

      November 13, 2011 at 1:03 pm

      KK – I get to deviate a little more this year since Bro-fly and fam will be elsewhere for T-Day. I’ve got a fantasy menu that is coming together quite nicely on Pinterest.

      Can’t wait for you and the girls (and S-Bo, of course) to get here next month 🙂

  2. Kathy Terian

    November 13, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Hi Kathyrn, First, I love your great blog! You have lots of good ideas & I like your fun commentary.

    We’ve done the “biggest turkey you can find” scenario and the results usually are not good. Our son-in-law Mitch used to caution me about having “turkey tension”, or having “Mr. Nasty” appear on the scene. That BIG turkey brought out the worst in me.

    I like the idea of 2 turkeys, so there’s flexibility with stuffing & soup :-). We make lots of stuffing, so there can be LOTS of left overs. Our family likes the celery & onions just about pulverized, so we do a quick run through the blender to keep them happy. We’ve used the same recipe since our kids were little, so it’s not something we’re about to change.

    We also like TONS of gravy, so I’ve often made make-ahead gravy using turkey wings, etc. That adds to the gravy supply we accululate on turkey day.

    This year we hope to use America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe for “Slow-Roasted Turkey with Gravy”. We watched them prepare it on TV, while our mouths watered.

    Another thing that helps with “turkey tension” is having the turkey done a bit early. We;ve sliced it up, covered with a bit of gravy & kept warm. It turned out great, and no one was in the kitchen to experience any negative behavior 🙂

    Just had another thought – we love to get those prepared chickens from Costco or Sam’s. We use the frame, skin & parts to make a great, rich soup broth. I would think that could be a great addition to the gravy supply.

    Hugs to you, Mrs T

    • Kathryn

      November 13, 2011 at 12:59 pm

      Lots of good ideas, Mrs T. I’ve spent the morning reading up on brining but I think two smaller turkeys cooked in bags might be the ticket. Thanks for following!

  3. trixfred30

    November 13, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Reason 4 -you can never have too much turkey. Its our tradition (although in the UK for Christmas) to create three standards with the left-overs – 1. Turkey & Cranberry sandwiches for Christmas night time 2/ Turkey Korma for Boxing Day and then 3. Turkey Broth about two days after that. Been like that for the 41 years I’ve lived and breathed!

    • Kathryn

      November 13, 2011 at 1:20 pm

      “You can never have too much turkey.” I must say I agree. I’ve never had Korma but I looked it up and the recipe I found looks interesting. I go right to turkey broth on Black Friday (the day after American Thanksgiving) and gumbo the next day.

  4. Brendas

    November 13, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    2 turkeys also mean FOUR DRUMSTICKS so less fighting over just 2. I like to change up the traditional foods too because I don’t like them enough to have all year long… well, mashed potatoes are always welcome. This doesn’t go over well with extended family. This year I’m making the dinner & we’re taking it to grandma’s & she likes everything. Last year we had some of the world’s most delicious Mexican food on Thanksgiving & the few of us that were together had a delightful time!

    • Kathryn

      November 14, 2011 at 1:35 pm

      I’ve heard about fights over drumsticks but they never happened in our family. The wishbone, however, is another story. Shall I save my drumsticks for you? I can freeze them when I’m done cooking 🙂

  5. Mom

    November 14, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Kathryn you are too funny! I would love to try your wild rice stuffing, just not with your brother 🙂
    Anyway, they will be in Utah this time.

  6. Anonymous Bro-Fly

    November 17, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Wild Rice Stuffing?? We, I mean, uhh, other people NEVER do that on Thanksgiving! Your brother sounds like quite a traditionalist, kudos to him, we need more of that in these times. I’ll bet he likes to watch football on thanksgiving too, both games.

    • Kathryn

      November 17, 2011 at 12:49 pm

      Hahaha! I’m still giggling!


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