It's turkey season. Here are tips for saving money on buying a turkey as suggested by the ThriftyFun community.
Turkeys are so cheap right now. If you have a small family or even if you are going out for T-giving dinner, do buy a turkey anyway. The butcher can saw the frozen bird in half for you, thaw half to cook now, and wrap and stick the other half in the freezer to use a couple of months later. Turkey is so good and good for you. Take advantage of this inexpensive bargain!
By Linda L from Vista, CA
Brining will make even the cheaper frozen turkeys taste better. I also often look for fresh turkeys to be marked down a day or so after Thanksgiving. Because they are marked fresh, they have to sell them quickly before they go bad. I just pop it into my own freezer until I am ready to cook it again.
When you have a choice, buy a large turkey. The first 14 lbs of a turkey are all bones!
Our local grocery starts the middle of October punching your turkey card, so all you spend on regular purchases gets credited. I usually end up with 2-3 free turkeys by Thanksgiving. Oh, and where husband works, each gets a free turkey about 12-15 lbs, and there are those who work there that can donate their turkey (if alone or not needing it) to the local food shelf.
Along comes the great turkey prices to draw you into the store to buy other things. So I stock the freezer up on turkeys. When I can spend $.39 lb instead of $1.39 lb, I can find room!
Also, I will partial thaw in the fridge, then open the turkey and cut it up like chicken, and quickly refreeze the drumettes, drums, breasts, thighs and then backs (for stock) in packages to use.
When cooking for the holiday, I fix the turkey(s) the week before, slice off white/dark meat into certain tupperware that fit my large crockpots and then pour over canned broth, toss into freezer and it is ready to go. I take out to thaw in fridge day before needing it, morning of, tip out into crockpots, put on high, all juice included, and have the most delicious moist turkey.
By T&T Grandma
I know they may be costly but on Thanksgiving it is a Butterball, no two ways about it. I love my Butterball and my butter turkey sculpture made out of butter. Thanksgiving is Football and Macy's parade and turkey with my giblet and sausage stuffing. Real good. Oh and family too.
After we are done with the turkey, I boil the carcass. Cool and strain out the bones. Place the stock into the fridge overnight, the fat will rise to the top. Skim off the fat and put the stock into freezer bags. Now you have turkey broth to add to dishes or start soup with throughout the winter months.
I think turkeys bigger than 22 lbs or so don't give you any more meat--the cavity is just larger, and you tend to get a bazillion tough tendons on the drums. I like large turkeys about 17-21 lbs--lots of meat, not just an empty cavity! Small ones are nice, too.
For the past two years, I've used Safeway.com's "2-hr turkey" recipe that was developed by Sunset magazine--it's excellent. You can get the recipe online or at the store free. You basically grease the turkey, leave it empty(no dressing, sorry) and put it into a 475 degree oven--sounds crazy but it is juicy and saves tons of my time! I used to baste every 20 min for about 6 hrs! Crazy use of my time.
I change their recipe a bit, as I use a mix of butter(I like the taste) w/ their recommended olive oil, and I use more spices than just salt n' pepper. You tend to have to microwave the hindquarter joint (drum/thigh) for a few extra minutes (3-5) as it's a tiny bit pink.
Also, sometimes huge packs of drums (very tendony) go on sale for around 79cents all year, I season them, layer them in my large crock pot, pour a cup of water on top, and cook them on low all night. The next morning our house smells great, and once cool enough, the meat slips from bone, tendons (yuck)/cartilage, and skin. I pack up this dark meat (I like it better than white) and freeze it, along w/ the great broth. I use it for bunches of recipes or sandwiches(hot turkey sands w/ mashed and gravy, anyone?), but our family favorite is homemade turkey pot pies. Some finely chopped onion, peas/carrots/potatoes, turkey meat, and white sauce made from a butter roux and lots of pepper and salt, put into small individual dishes w/ it's own pie crust and baked...yum!
To T&T Grandma Thank- you so much for the great idea. Best one by far. I'm definitely going to do this. Thanks again & Happy holidays
When my sister in law isn't around to pick the bones for me, I like to buy just the breast. More meat, less bones. For 20 cents or so more I think it is a better deal, not so much to mess around with.
My mom buys 6 or 8 additional turkeys every year when they go on sale. She gets our family together several months out of the year and we have a turkey feast and family reunion. We all love having a "Thanksgiving Dinner" in July and it is a cheap way for Mom to feed us all.
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