As the cheaper alternative, I strongly believe that frozen turkeys have been badly underestimated and put below fresh turkeys. In the sea of frozen turkeys, there’s one that stood out for me. You can make Harris Teeter Frozen Turkey into a delicacy, but you must know what you’re doing to make a delicious meal.
Before I had sufficient experience, I foolishly thought that fresh turkey was better than frozen, but all of that changed when I got to prepare the Harris Teeter one, mainly because I had the right tips. To these tips, I added my own signature and so came to the instructions below. So, how to cook Harris Teeter Frozen Turkey?
Harris Teeter Frozen Turkey Cooking Instructions
Harris Teeter Turkey is very easy to cook, but you’ll need a few simple pointers, especially if you’re just starting your culinary turkey. Before you set off on your turkey venture, I advise you to do something first — relax.
Many would say that turkey cooking is complicated, but I’m here to tell you that it’s actually very simple. So, follow these steps, and happy cooking!
Step 1: Thawing
If you’re cooking this turkey, keep in mind that it comes frozen, so you have to start with this step. Frozen turkey is considered the less delicious type, but that can’t be further from the truth. The thing is, many people don’t know that before cooking a frozen turkey, thawing it is a must.
You can properly thaw it in a few ways, so feel free to select the one you are most comfortable with.
The simplest way to thaw your turkey is to let it thaw in the refrigerator, which is what I prefer to do. If you aren’t in a hurry, this is the best and easiest way to go. Just place your turkey on a shallow tray and pop it on the bottom shelf of your fridge.
Let it sit in the fridge for about 24 hours or at least overnight. This way, your turkey will defrost gradually without getting damaged due to abrupt temperature changes. Before refrigerating your turkey, set the fridge temperature below 40 °F, i.e., 4 °C, to prevent bacterial growth.
The best method if you are in a rush is to thaw your Harris Teeter frozen turkey in cold water. This is where most people make a huge mistake and put the turkey in hot water, thinking that it will thaw faster.
The abrupt temperature change can stiffen parts of the turkey, damage the meat, and make it overly dry when cooked. So, take a bowl of cold water and submerge the turkey inside. Let it thaw for at least half an hour.
If you are very short on time, the microwave thawing method can do a good job as long as you don’t leave the turkey inside for too long. Place the turkey in a microwave-safe dish and cover it with a cotton towel. Set the timer to 30 seconds and check the turkey’s condition before each subsequent cycle.
You can even cook it frozen, but, as you can see in this video, the process is completely different, and it’s a bit more complicated. Still, I strongly recommend not skipping the thawing step and saving this method only for the most critical of moments.
Step 2: Prep Time
The first thing to do in this step is to remove the turkey from the packaging. Many opt to rinse the turkey after removing the package, and that’s ok; just make sure your hands are extremely clean.
The turkey rinsing should remove the impurities the package might have left, but the package is sanitary, so even if it left something on the turkey, it isn’t as dangerous as the germs you may transfer onto the turkey if your hands aren’t sufficiently clean.
Place the turkey on the counter and season it. You can season it with only salt and pepper or add something more complex. I use salt, pepper, herbs, and paprika, but I also like to switch it up from time to time.
I usually tenderize the meat by rubbing the mixture of olive oil and seasoning into the turkey while my oven is preheating. Simply massage the oil into the turkey and let it marinate for about 20 minutes.
Step 3: Cooking the Turkey
Never cook a turkey in a cold oven. Preheat the oven to 325 °F, i.e., 163 °C, for about 20-30 minutes before placing the turkey inside.
Put the turkey on a parchment-paper-covered baking tray with the breast side up and let it roast. The usual roasting time is 15 minutes per pound. Harris Teeter Frozen Turkeys are usually 10-14 pounders, so the entire roasting time would be between 150 and 225 minutes.
Don’t disturb the turkey for the first hour and a half, and don’t open the oven hatch. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should just forget about it. Check the turkey through the glass and track its color.
I prefer to cover the turkey with aluminum foil before I place it in the oven so that it doesn’t over-brown, but it is entirely up to you. If you cover it, you don’t have to baste it because the foil will seal the juices.
If you roast your turkey uncovered, then start basting in the last hour. Baste the turkey three times in 20-minute intervals.
What to Serve with Harris Teeter Turkey?
You can serve your Harris Teeter Turkey with traditional turkey sides, such as breadcrumb stuffing or cranberry sauce.
Mashed potatoes, fries, or roasted potatoes are always an excellent choice. Veggies in all forms, such as steamed, fresh, or roasted, always work great. I also love salad combinations — any salad works here.
Rice, spinach, peas, beans, or caramelized carrots are great sides for this turkey. All kinds of bread and savory pies, as well as cheese platters or even simple veggie plates, are more than enough.
How to Store Leftovers?
For more extended storage, use the freezer. Place the leftovers in airtight containers or freezer baggies and pop them inside the freezer. This way, they will remain safe for three months.
Refrigerate your leftovers for short-term storage. Pop them in an airtight container or wrap them in a foil and place them in a regular container if you don’t have an airtight one. This way, your Harris Teeter Turkey leftovers will be safe for up to four days.
What do you make with your turkey leftovers? I would love to read about your favorites in the comments below! My personal favorite is this pasta dish!
Harris Teeter Frozen Turkey Cooking Instructions
- 1 Harris Teeter Frozen Turkey (10 lbs)
- 1 ½ tbsp Olive Oil
- ½ tsp Paprika
- ½ tsp Dried Rosemary
- ½ tsp Dried Thyme
- ⅓ tsp Cayenne Pepper
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Thaw your frozen turkey according to the instructions given in the article above.
- Preheat the oven to 325 °F, i.e., 163 °C, for about 20-30 minutes before placing the turkey inside.
- In the meantime, mix the seasonings with the olive oil and rub it into the turkey. Let the turkey marinate like this for the rest of the preheating time.
- Put the turkey on a parchment-paper-covered baking tray with the breast side up and let it roast. The usual roasting time is 15 minutes per pound. The entire roasting time would be between 150 and 225 minutes.
- Don't disturb the turkey for the first hour and a half, and don't open the oven hatch.
- Start basting in the last hour. Baste the turkey three times in 20-minute intervals.
- Near the end of the cooking process, insert a meat thermometer into the middle of one of the thickest parts of the breast or thigh. A fully cooked turkey should reach at least 165 °F (75 °C).
- When your turkey reaches this temperature or when the cooking time is up, take your turkey out of the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- That's it! Now you can serve your turkey with some of the side dish recommendations from the article. Enjoy!