Skip Main Navigation
Media Alerts and Press Releases
Harris Teeter Wants to Talk Turkey
Follow these helpful tips for a smooth holiday meal preparation

Harris Teeter Wants to Talk Turkey
Follow these helpful tips for a smooth holiday meal preparation

Charlotte, NC – Harris Teeter wants to help our shoppers during the holiday season by providing them with a few Holiday Turkey Preparation Tips.  We hope you find them useful during the holiday season.

The weekend before:
1.) Make a complete shopping list. Buy dry goods now. For example:
a. Buy all beverages and paper goods.
b. Buy anything that goes in the freezer, such as ice cream and frozen vegetables.
c. Buy anything canned such as cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie filling.
d. Or, make fresh cranberry sauce, seal tightly and refrigerate

3 Days Ahead:
1.) If your Turkey is frozen begin thawing now.

2 Days Ahead: Buy fresh foods, and get some prep work out of the way.
1.) Buy the perishable groceries today or tomorrow – a fresh turkey, fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products and so on.
2.) Begin preparing desserts. For example, for apple pie, make the pie crust, wrap tightly and refrigerate; peel and slice the apples; toss them with lemon juice, seal tightly and refrigerate.
3.) Peel potatoes and sweet potatoes, and slice any vegetables; seal tightly and refrigerate
4.) Make salad dressings.
5.) Slice bread into cubes for stuffing; wrap lightly and store un-refrigerated

1 Day Ahead: Set the table and bake the desserts.
1.) Get those fun things out of the way – set the table, and arrange flowers or centerpieces. Enlist the kids to help.
2.) Bake desserts. Let cool, and cover.

3 to 7 hours before Serving:
1.) Season and roast the turkey, following basic roasting guidelines located on the package.
2.) Preheat the oven to 325° F. 
3.) Remove the turkey's neck and giblets from both cavities. The liver may be baked alongside the turkey for half an hour, while the heart, gizzard and neck may be simmered for two and a half hours. Chop this meat and use it in a stuffing or gravy, if desired.
4.) Place the turkey breast-up in a shallow roasting pan; add 1 cup of water to the pan. Brush with melted butter or margarine and season inside and out with salt, pepper and herbs if desired.
5.) For maximum tenderness, it is recommended you cover the turkey loosely with a foil tent for the first 2 1/2 hours of roasting time, then uncovering it to allow it to brown.
6.) Allow proper roasting time for an unstuffed bird – follow the chart below for guidance. It is not recommended you stuff a large bird as the stuffing may not reach a safe temperature in adequate time – bake the stuffing separately.
• 8-12 Pound Turkey Unstuffed  @ 325 degrees  2  ½  to 3  ½ hours
• 12 – 18 Pound Turkey Unstuffed @ 325 degrees 3 ½  - 3 ½ hours
• 18 – 20 Pound Turkey Unstuffed @ 325 degrees 4 – 6 hours
• 20 – 24 Pound Turkey Unstuffed @ 325 degrees 4 ½ - 6 hours
• 4 – 8 Pound Turkey Breast Unstuffed @ 325 degrees 1 ¼  to 2  hours
7.) Prepare the stuffing with similar seasonings, but don't bake it yet.
8.) Prepare sweet potatoes and other vegetable dishes, but don't bake them yet.

Get Ready to Carve and Serve the Turkey:
1.) Keep the turkey covered to keep it warm and let it rest before serving.
2.) Remove the side dishes from the oven.
3.) Warm rolls or other bread items and mashed potatoes.
4.) Dress the salad.
5.) Transfer side dishes and gravy to formal serving dishes; have the family help.

Carving the Turkey:
1.) Let the turkey rest before carving it, and
2.) Carve it legs first, then wings, then breast
Cut through the skin where the leg is attached to the breast. Pull until the thighbone pops out of its socket – if the bird is fully cooked, this should be easy. Slice off this whole portion, including the back meat around the corner, over to the spine. Then, on the carving board, use a knife to separate the drumstick and the thigh, then the thigh and the back meat. Serve these items whole, or carve the meat off the bones, working parallel to each bone.
Cut through the skin where the wing is attached to the breast. Again, pull until the wing comes out of its socket, and then slice off the wing. Serve the wing whole, or slice the meat from the bones on a carving board.

Begin slicing parallel to the bone, making thin, vertical slices, and remove them from the ribs of the carcass. Slice each of these in half or thirds if desired.
Once the turkey is carved and the meat is laid on a platter, ladle it with gravy, if desired, and garnish it with something green such as thyme, rosemary or parsley.

Let’s Be Safe:
1.) To be safe to eat, the turkey's breast meat must register 170° F., and its thigh meat must register 180° F. Use a meat thermometer to tell – insert it 2 1/2 inches into the thickest part of the meat, not touching the bone. When inserting a meat thermometer into the breast, insert it on the side instead of on top, so it's easier to read and more accurate.
2.) To assure safe stuffing, make sure it registers at least 165° F.

*Never let cooked Poultry stand at room temperature for more than 2 hours

Happy Turkey Day from Harris Teeter and our generous suppliers who provided the company with the Holiday Turkey Tips!