As the holidays are approaching, my thoughts naturally turn to turkey. Not just any turkey, but a Shady Brook Farms turkey. The only question is, should I go fresh or frozen this year? I’ve tried it both ways, and you really can’t go wrong with either. A fresh turkey means I can start cooking immediately, but a frozen one gives me more flexibility since I can buy it beforehand. The most important thing is that it’s Shady Brook Farms because once you’ve tasted one of their turkeys, you’ll never return.
Whether you join team fresh or team frozen, I’m here to walk you through how to cook a Shady Brook Farms turkey and make it the star of your holiday table. So let’s get into it!
Is Shady Brook Farms Turkey Good?
Shady Brook Farms is known for high-quality, all-natural turkeys humanely raised without antibiotics or added hormones. I’ve found their turkeys to be incredibly juicy and flavorful.
If you want maximum convenience, go with a frozen Shady Brook turkey. I usually buy one a few days before Thanksgiving so I can thaw it in the fridge.
If you prefer a fresh turkey, buy it 1 to 2 days before cooking. Fresh turkeys require less thawing time, but you must cook them within two days of purchase.
How to Defrost Shady Brook Farms Turkey?
When it comes to cooking your Shady Brook Farms turkey, the first thing you need to decide is whether you want to go fresh or frozen. As for me, I prefer fresh. There’s nothing quite like the flavor and texture of a turkey that’s never been frozen. But a frozen turkey can be more convenient, especially if you’re cooking for a crowd or want to get ahead on prep.
If opting for fresh, you’ll want to pick up your turkey 1-2 days before cooking. Keep it in the fridge on a platter to catch any juices. Let it sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes before roasting for the most even cooking.
For frozen, you’ll need to thaw it completely in the fridge, which usually takes 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds. Make sure it’s in a container to catch drips as it thaws.
For quicker thawing in a pinch, submerge the wrapped turkey in cold tap water, changing the water every 30 minutes. It will thaw in about an hour per pound. But cook it immediately after thawing this way.
Shady Brook Farms Turkey Cooking Instructions
Whether you choose to go with fresh or frozen, a Shady Brook Farms turkey will surely be a hit. The natural flavors shine through in the meat, and the leftovers are always in high demand! When it comes to prepping, just follow these steps, and you will have a delicious turkey in no time!
Step 1: Seasoning and Prepping Your Turkey
I like to keep things simple when it comes to seasoning and prepping my Shady Brook Farms turkey. A fresh turkey only needs a little help to make it shine.
First, pat the outside dry with paper towels. Then, generously season the cavity with salt and pepper. I also like to place a halved onion, lemon, and a few sprigs of fresh herbs like rosemary inside to add more flavor as it cooks.
For the outside, I rub the entire turkey with softened butter or olive oil and sprinkle it all over with salt, pepper, and the herbs of your choice. Some of my favorites are rosemary, thyme, sage, and parsley. You really can’t go wrong.
If using a frozen turkey, be sure to thaw it in the refrigerator for 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds. Keep it in its original wrapping on a tray to catch any juices as it thaws.
Once thawed, pat dry with paper towels and proceed with seasoning as you would a fresh turkey. You may need to increase the cooking time for a frozen turkey, so check the packaging for guidance.
Here’s another way to do it easily!
Step 2: Baking Your Shady Brook Farms Turkey
The first thing I do is preheat my oven to 325 °F (160 °C). This temperature will allow the turkey to cook evenly and thoroughly without drying out. For a frozen turkey, you’ll need to allot extra time for it to thaw before putting it in the oven.
Once seasoned, I place the turkey breast-side on a roasting pan rack and cover loosely with foil. For a fresh turkey, bake about 13 minutes per pound. For a frozen turkey, bake about 15 minutes per pound. I baste the turkey every 30 minutes with the juices while it cooks.
Step 3: Checking the Doneness, Making Gravy and Sides
The turkey is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165-170 °F (around 75 °C). The juices should also run clear. Once baked, let the turkey rest for 20-30 minutes before carving and serving.
When it comes to making side dishes and gravy to serve with your Shady Brook Farms turkey, I like to keep things simple but delicious.
I peel and chop a few russet potatoes for mashed potatoes, then boil them until tender. Drain and mash with butter, milk, sour cream, salt, and pepper. The starchy russets get fluffy and creamy. Let’s have a look at some other solutions for side dishes!
What to Serve With Baked Turkey?
When it comes to serving a delicious Shady Brook Farms turkey, the sides are just as important as the main dish.
Homemade stuffing is a must for me. I like to make my stuffing with cubed bread, onions, celery, and fresh herbs. Adding in dried cranberries and chopped nuts gives it a nice sweet and crunchy contrast.
If you want to balance the heavier sides, you can serve fresh vegetables like green beans. I like to sauté green beans with olive oil, garlic, and almonds. Or, for a lighter option, quickly blanch them and toss in a lemon vinaigrette.
Lastly, homemade dinner rolls, biscuits, or cornbread are ideal for sopping up juices and gravy. I like to make my rolls in advance, then warm them up just before serving. The yeasty, buttery aroma fills the kitchen and makes everything feel homemade.
How to Store Leftovers?
Once you’ve enjoyed your delicious Shady Brook Farms turkey dinner, it’s time to think about storing the leftovers properly. As much as I love leftovers, no one wants to get sick from improperly handled food.
As soon as you’re done eating, refrigerate any leftovers within 2 hours. This includes things like turkey, stuffing, gravy, and side dishes.
Don’t just throw everything into one big pot or bowl. Instead, divide leftovers into shallow containers to chill quickly in the fridge.
Most leftovers will last 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. Make sure you eat any turkey leftovers within this period. You can also freeze leftovers in airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags for up to 3 months.
Before eating leftovers, check that there are no signs of spoilage like mold, unpleasant odors, or slimy textures. It’s not worth risking foodborne illness, so if in doubt, throw it out!
Did you find this recipe helpful? Do you have any questions? Feel free to comment below!
Shady Brook Farms Turkey Roast
- Aluminum Foil
- Roasting Pan
- 1 Shady Brook Farms Fresh Young Turkey (Mine was 11 lbs.)
- ½ Onion
- ½ Lemon
- 3 sprigs Rosemary
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- ½ tbsp Sage
- ½ tbsp Thyme
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- First, preheat the oven to 325 °F (160 °C).
- Pat the turkey dry with some paper towels.
- Rub the inside of the turkey with some salt and pepper. Then, put the halves of the onion and lemon into the turkey, along with the rosemary.
- Mix the olive oil with other herbs, salt, and pepper, and rub it into your turkey from the outside.
- Once seasoned, place the turkey breast-side on a roasting pan rack and cover loosely with foil. Bake for about 13 minutes per pound. I baste the turkey every 30 minutes with the juices while it cooks.
- The turkey is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165-170 °F (around 75 °C). The juices should also run clear. Once baked, let the turkey rest for 20-30 minutes before carving and serving.
- Look at all the serving options in the article you can enjoy your turkey with!
Before diving into the nutritional details, please review our Nutritional Disclaimer page for important context and clarifications.