Frozen Turkey Converted to Near-Instant Dinner - A Love Story

Although this article is too late for your Thanksgiving Day preparations, there is yet hope for Christmas. My purpose for writing this is to illustrate how to cook a frozen turkey quickly. So I'll get right to it.

You will need:

1 Frozen Turkey (sized to fit a 22qt. pressure canner, about 12 lb.)

1 22qt. pressure canner

The process is simple. Take the frozen turkey out of the wrapper and place it in your pressure canner. There is usually a spacer included with your canner to hold items off the bottom of the pot. Please use it to forestall any problems with the turkey sticking to the bottom. Fill the pot with water until the bird is completely covered. Place this heavy thing on your stove and turn the heat to high. Bring this pot of water to a rapid boil.

While waiting (about 15 to 20 minutes), please review the instructions for using the pressure canner. These cooking instruments can be very dangerous if the proper procedures are not used. Once you are familiar with the use of your pot, you are advised to still be careful. Steam is very hot and it doesn't take long for it to burn you. Be very careful.

By now, the water should be boiling. Place the top on your pot and make sure it seals well by checking for leaking steam. Adjust as necessary. Once sealed, the pressure will start to build in the pot. My pot has a gauge on top that indicates the internal pressure. You need to be sure that your pot goes to at least 10 lb. of pressure, but 15 lb. psi is preferable. Once your pot reaches that pressure, the rocking weight will start to move. Monitor the pressure in your pot.

Once you have full pressure in your pot, start to time the cooking process. A frozen bird will be thawed and completely cooked in five or six minutes. After about 10 minutes you will have to pour the pieces out of your pot, so watch the time here. After 5 minutes, remove that heavy pot from your stove with extreme care. It is very hot and it's loaded with steam pressure. If it won't fit in your sink(mine does), place it on the floor and let it cool off for a while until the steam pressure drops off. I put mine in the sink and wait for a few minutes.

Once the pressure drops off to zero, carefully remove the top and you will have a fully cooked turkey in the pot. If it has a pop-up timer, that will be popped up to indicate that the bird is fully cooked. I recommend that you use a probe thermometer to double check the internal temperature of the meat. You should have a minimum of 165 degrees or more to be safe.

The down side is that, in the cooking process, the wing tips usually fall off because they are less thick than the body of the bird. They cook much faster, so the tips and the second joint of the wings are cooked longer than the rest. You are now ready to remove the bird from the pot. Extreme care must be used here. I begin by pouring the water out of the pot and save it in another pot for soup. Then the weight has dropped to just the weight of the bird and the pot. I carefully tip the bird into a roasting pan. At this point, I can begin to carve the bird for dinner or place it in the oven to brown a little. Before you do either, stop and remove the neck and the bag of internal organs that are left for giblets. They will come out easily now. When you have them out, the bird is ready to brown or to be eaten as is.

At this point, I recommend that you save the carcass after you carve up the bird. Place it in the water left over from the pot and boil it down for turkey soup. I place the neck and the giblets in too, but you might want to save yours for the gravy that is normally expected with a Thanksgiving Day dinner.

Please use proper care and caution when using a pressure cooker or canner. They are great tools to speed up the cooking process but they can be dangerous if used improperly. Read and follow all instructions carefully and then enjoy the results. Good eating!

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About The Author,
Jim is a caveman, plain and simple. He belongs to another millennium but he is stuck here, so he tries to make the best of it. He is making the transition from the construction trade to a career as a writer and author. He has a good start and he will leave an indelible mark on the industry, or a stain, however you look at it. He has great hope and expectations for Humanity in general and Americans in particular. For example, how many Americans have walked on the moon? We have been given great promise and much is expected of us. Our founding fathers knew this and expected us to know it as well. So far, it looks as if we have.

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