Today is penny day at Publix, there will be a mystery item for 1 cent. I don’t yet know what it is, but when I go to run errands I’ll find out. I’m going to try to guess because I had to duck in to Publix yesterday to grab some canned food (although they are still on sale this week, so no huge hurry) and I noticed at the end cap of one of the aisles they were stocking it full of Publix bottled water. So, that’s my guess, it’s a six-pack of bottled water. I’ll find out later today. Don’t forget that you need to cut the coupon out of the first section of the newspaper to get the penny item.
Last night, I slow-roasted the small turkey (15 lbs.) and it came out this morning, everything was great. It was slightly overcooked, which actually is fine for breaking it down and using the parts separately, but wouldn’t be as good for a main dish carved turkey. I’m going to have to watch my proportions for the actual Thanksgiving. Call this a dress rehearsal.
I filled the turkey with cut up apple, orange, onion, loose herbs, and garlic. I rubbed the skin with my own blend of herbed butter – 8 ounces of butter whipped with lots of fresh parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram (that was dried, I don’t have a marjoram plant). The skin was rubbed all over with the butter, plus as much as I could stuff under the skin in between the skin and meat, I filled as much of that as I could with the butter. To cook – I first roasted it, uncovered, at 425 to get the outside crispy and seep in the herbed butter under the skin. Then I lowered the temperature to 200 degrees, covered the whole thing in foil, and let it roast overnight. In the morning, when I checked it, the internal temperature was just about 170 degrees. Whoops. It should be around 165 to be perfectly moist. It looked perfect, browned and crispy skin, and the legs moved easily, and the dark meat looked very moist.
I let it cool on the counter and started to break it down. I split the breasts away from the bone, leaving the skin on, and separated the two halves. One half is going in the freezer, skin and all. The other half I sliced into smaller pieces for sandwiches. We sampled it, and found the top part of the breast was really flavorful without anything added to it, but slightly dry. The bottom of the breast was much more moist and tasted even better. I hear this is a common complaint and there’s all sorts of suggestions as to how to mitigate that – ice down the top of the breast before cooking, cover it with bacon, cover it with foil, etc. For these purposes it is actually fine for us, but I think what I’ll do next time is not cook it as long. 165 internal temperature would probably have been perfect.
Also, this was a non-brined turkey. The one we have for Thanksgiving is a Butterball and it’s brined. That always makes a difference.
I pulled off the drumsticks and wings and bagged them, those will make 2 meals.
De-boned dark meat went in a freezer bag, it’s enough for at least 4 casseroles, soups, or stews.
Bones and associated meat stuck to them are now in the slow cooker to cook for 10 hours, that will then be strained and made into stock for soups and other recipes. It will yield about a gallon of stock.
The drippings off the turkey were just over 2 quarts. That’s more than enough for stuffing and gravy to make ahead of time for Thanksgiving.
Not including the parts I’m going to use for Thanksgiving, there’s a lot of meals from this one 15 pound turkey that I got at 59 cents a pound plus had a $5 off coupon that I used on it … so I paid a net of $4 for this turkey. Butter was free after coupon and the herbs I have growing here, so no cost added there.
- One-half of breast sliced for 10 sandwiches
- One-half of breast portioned to 4 meal-size pieces
- 2-3 pounds of dark meat to make 4 meals of 4 servings each
- 2 drumsticks and 2 wings, will make 2 meals
- Gallon of meaty stock, will make 4 meals
That’s 36 servings from one small turkey. Not counting the drippings because those will be used in the Thanksgiving preparations, but those will create another 10-12 servings. Pretty good cost-per-serving. And it’s tasty!
While Publix and Bi-Lo are still doing this sale, I recommend buy as many turkeys as you can fit in your refrigerator and freezer. It was about 3 hours of work on my part, preparing the turkey, making the rub and the aromatic stuffing, and breaking it down afterwards, but that’s worth it for all the meals it will make. If I get the chance to get another small one (10 lbs or thereabouts) I’m getting it.