Gluten Free Turkey

Last Christmas I thought “Well, at least I know I don’t have to worry about the TURKEY being gluten-free. It’s meat!” All I thought I had to do was avoid the “pre-stuffed” birds. So I didn’t do any research into it. Luckily, I had reserved a fresh, organic, free-range turkey from Whole Foods. They didn’t pack it in anything and it said specifically said “no additives.” So thankfully my blasé attitude toward assuming my turkey was naturally gluten-free wasn’t an issue.

Ah, well, it turns out that turkeys actually CAN have gluten in them – from additives and packaging broths that contain wheat.

Your best bet for getting a gluten-free turkey is to purchase one as minimally processed as possible. Fresh from the farm (check out one way you can get farm-fresh products in my article here), organic, free-range turkeys with no additives or broths.

Links to Gluten-Free Turkey Brands (as of Nov 23, 2010)
Jennie-O: (Premium Basted Young Turkey & Fresh Young Turkey)
Empire Kosher Poultry: Frozen Whole Turkey & Turkey Breasts, Fresh and Frozen Ground Turkey (many more kinds listed on the site)
Plainville FarmsYoung Turkey, Young Turkey Half, Breast with Ribs, Boneless Breast Roast
Perdue Perdue Carving Whole Turkey
Bell & Evans (limited availability (check here) but a good bird if you can get it!)
Honeysuckle White (most of their products are gluten-free, but click on this link and look in the middle of the page for a list of products that are NOT safe and DO contain gluten)

How big of a turkey should I get?
Allot one pound per person (1.5 lbs/person if you want leftovers)

How to cook your turkey?
Hum… now that you’ve found it, are you wondering what to do with it? With all the other dishes being prepared, we take the super easy route and subscribe to the Bird in the Bag methodology. Here’s what we do:
• Buy a turkey roasting bag (with ties included)
• If your turkey didn’t come with one, buy a pop up “it’s done!” insert
• Preheat your oven to 325
• Take out all the giblets inside (that’s my husband’s job! ick!)
• Salt inside cavity
• Then either stuff your bird with a gluten-free stuffing (which increases cooking time) or just throw a little Bell’s Seasoning inside. Or a few big old sprigs of fresh rosemary (that’s what I’m going to do this year!)
• Lift skin off top breasts of bird and either put a nice layer of GF Stuffing there or rub some seasonings into the meat (like some freshly chopped rosemary or Bells)
• Slather the outside of the bird with either Extra Virgin Olive Oil (if you’re being healthy) or, believe it or not, my grandmama’s trick: liberal amounts of mayonnaise. A nice thick, funny looking layer of mayo makes your turkey SOOO juicy and evenly brown…
• Sprinkle more Bell’s Seasoning outside to lightly cover
• Put the turkey into the roasting bag, tie it up (ties provided), place it on a rack in a roasting pan and pop it in the preheated 325 oven.

Now, here’s the hardest part: DON’T OPEN THE BAG! No matter how much you want to check it, no matter what anyone else who’s there for the feast says, you don’t have to baste it! The bag keeps all the moisture in there. You’re going to have the moistest, juiciest bird ever!!

If you can resist opening the bag.

• After about 20 minutes per unstuffed pound, the bird should be done. (A 15 pound turkey should cook in about 4 hours)
• Remove turkey from bag and revel in the moistest bird you’ve ever served. For about 20 minutes. (the time it takes to cool enough to successfully carve it)
• Enjoy! :)

And for those not into our Bird in a Bag ways (we won’t hold it against you, swear!), here’s a link to a great article on the Whole Foods website. Enjoy!

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