Since most of us only prepare a turkey once a year, I thought I would do a little review of the basics, a little turkey 411 if you will.
1. Deciding what size bird to buy. If you are buying an unstuffed whole turkey, you should plan on buying about 1 pound (uncooked weight) of turkey per a person, more if you want leftovers.
2. Defrosting your bird. If you purchase a frozen bird, you should plan to defrost it in your refrigerator up to 5 hours per every pound. That means your average birds, 14 to 19 pounds , will take 3 to 4 days to defrost completely. You should set your bird on a tray, in its original packaging in your refrigerator to defrost. This is why it is important to purchase your bird now, today, if you haven't already. It is never recommended to defrost a turkey at room temperature. However if you prefer you can defrost your turkey in your kitchen sink, in it's original packaging, in a cold water bath. This method will take about 30 minutes per a pound, meaning it will take on average 5 to 10 hours per a bird. Although this is quicker, I do not find it easier, since you have to change the water every 1/2 hour to maintain the right temperature.