How To Prep A Turkey

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It's here, the tips and advice you need to prep your turkey.  What better person to walk you through it all then Ace Hardware's Grilling Expert, Chef Jason!

How To Prep A Turkey


Selecting the right Turkey

Picking the Right Size
  • Remember that you will yield about 50% of the total weight
  • 19# Turkey will Yield about 9.5# of meat (dark and light meat)

  • I like to plan on about 1 – 1 ¼ Pounds of cooked turkey per person
  • This will account for any shrinkage, heavy eaters, leftovers, take home portions, etc

**What Turkey is Right? – Read the labels, all turkeys will say what they contain, when in doubt check the nutrition panel for sodium content**

Solution Free Turkey – should say contains Naturally Retained Water – that’s it

  • This allows you to control the flavor from the package to the plate
  • These Turkeys take on flavor very easily
  • I prefer this Turkey, that way I control all the flavor from start to finish

Pre Seasoned Turkey – should say contains some % of Solution or Broth

  • This is a convenience that means there is already some brine in it
  • These Turkeys allow you to season the outside and get cooking
  • Less opportunity to control the end flavor

Defrosting the Turkey

  • I recommend the safest defrost process there is…. From the freezer to the fridge
  • Place turkey in a pan to catch any juices that may drip/leak
  • Plan on 1 day of defrosting per 5 pounds of Turkey
  • Plan ahead for the best defrosting plan

Turkey Prep Tips

  • Carefully open the netting and remove
  • Carefully open the packaging and remove
  • Drain any juices into the pan
  • Remove the Giblets from the front neck area – usually under the flap of skin
  • Remove the Neck from the cavity
  • Trim off the Neck skin if desired
  • Trim off the tail portion if desired
  • Rinse the cavity and turkey
  • Place rinsed turkey back into a clean pan
  • Tuck the front wing tips under turkey
  • Prepare to Brine the turkey
  • Prepare to inject the turkey

For more tips, go to

Published: 3/2/2020