Tips & Techniques

Picking and Preparing the Perfect Holiday Turkey


The holidays are here and for many of us that means hosting family and friends for a turkey dinner (or lunch). There can be a lot of pressure on the host to find and prepare the perfect turkey, so we have come up with a few tips to make sure you have the perfect bird.

Tip #1

Make sure you get a large enough bird to feed everyone. If you are hosting a bigger group, getting a bird in the 20 pound range seems like a good idea. In reality these birds are so large that they do not cook evenly and are much harder to work with. Instead, buy two smaller birds in the 14 pound range. If you are hosting a smaller gathering, a smaller bird will work just fine. You always want to make sure you have enough meat (plus who doesn’t like leftovers?) so plan on 2 pounds per guest. Using this ratio a 12 pound bird will easily feed a group of six.

Tip #2

Thawing your turkey is an important step and should never be rushed. Make sure you purchase your bird far enough in advance to allow it to thaw in the refrigerator. Most birds will take 48 – 72 hours to fully thaw. When thawing in the refrigerator place the frozen turkey in a pan to catch any water or drippings. If you must rush the thaw a bit you can place it in a bucket of cold water, but make sure and change the water often enough to keep the temperature under 40º at all times. Harmful bacteria starts to grow at  40º and you don’t want to take any risks.

Tip #3

Clean the bird thoroughly once it is fully thawed. Pull out the giblets and reserve them for gravy if you would like, and then rinse the bird under cold running water and pat it dry with paper towels all over (including the inside). This will achieve several things. First, most turkeys have been pre-brined in a saltwater solution so you want to rinse it off well before cooking. Second, it will give you a nice dry surface for your prep. Finally, it will make sure any contaminants from butchering and packaging are rinsed off before you cook it.

Tip #4

Clean your prep area before you begin and clean it often as you prepare your turkey as well. Most turkeys carry harmful bacteria but when your preparation area is safe and clean you run little risk of making yourself or someone else sick. Having a good bleach spray or wipes and paper towels is recommended as bleach is guaranteed to disinfect any area that raw turkey may have touched. Don’t forget to also wipe down the sink where you rinsed the bird to make sure any contamination from this step is taken care of.

If you follow these tips, you will be ready to safely prepare a delicious turkey. In our our next blog post on the perfect holiday turkey we will look at the pros and cons of brining vs. injecting, whether or not to stuff your turkey, what rubs are best for a smoked turkey and how to prepare and smoke  your bird on whatever grill you have.

KettlePizza Assembly and Cooking Tutorials


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Assembly of the KettlePizza is incredibly easy. A couple of bolts, some washers and wing nuts and you’re ready to go! Here is a quick video outlining the process.

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Our Favorite Steven Raichlen Accessories!

Our Favorite Steven Raichlen Accessories

Steven Raichlen Insulated Hot Food Gloves

Steven Raichlen Insulated Hot Food Gloves

Perfect for moving hot food around on a smoker, these insulated rubber gloves are our hottest Steven Raichlen item. They’re light and flexible but still protect your hands from heat so you can get in and out of your smoker without losing a lot of heat. Note: these gloves are not meant for handling hot coals or grates – they’re for moving food only!

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Big Green Egg

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The Weekend Warrior’s Secret to Perfect Barbecue!

Thermoworks Thermapen

In talking with our customers one of the most frequent complaints I hear is that the grilled foods they produce off of their grill is tough or dry. When I ask what internal temperature they are cooking to the answer is generally, “I don’t know.” My response, every single time, is that checking internal temperature will bring you excellent, dare I say perfect, results!

Thermometers aren’t just for telling you when food has reached a safe temperature. They will make sure that you cook your grilled creations to the desired doneness, which will wow your guests and family members alike.

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