Jennie-O sent me an oven-ready frozen turkey to try, and I chose to write about how you can cook frozen turkey without thawing. I was not compensated for this post in any other way, and all opinions are my own.
Blogging ain’t easy. With all the creating, cooking, photographing, writing, promoting, responding, and all the other tasks that come along with this job, I spend countless hours working each week. It does have some perks though like when companies like Jennie-O send me a surprise whole turkey. I seriously had no idea this thing was coming, and when I opened the package, my reaction was something like, “Ooh! A whole turkey! How nice! Wait. Where am I going to put this thing?!”
I recently confessed that we are frozen food hoarders, and my freezer is constantly jam packed. I normally clear out the refrigerator, buy a turkey a few days before Thanksgiving, and put it in the fridge to thaw. My freezer is never ready to handle a 12+ pound bird. When I got a surprise turkey, I had to get creative and make space for it. As I was cramming it in there, I got a glimpse of the bag that said OVEN READY. At first I thought that meant it’s neck hole wasn’t stuffed with the neck and gizzards and what not, but no. It seriously meant it was ready for the oven without even thawing.
This is craziness. Everyone knows turkeys have to be thawed. My grandma always thawed hers on the counter overnight, and we somehow never died of food poisoning. Nowadays, it’s recommended to thaw your bird in the refrigerator, which for a big bird can take days and days. The ease of taking the thing out of the freezer and putting it right in the oven seemed way too good to be true. I had to find out if I could be one-arm holding a perfectly roasted turkey with a smile on my face like the lady on the bag or if we’d be ordering pizza for dinner.
I followed the instructions exactly, pulling the turkey out of the outer package, putting it in a roasting pan, cutting slits in the magic cooking bag, and sticking it in a 375 degree oven for a few hours. It was already seasoned, so that’s literally all there was to it. No rinsing, putting butter under the skin, freezing your hand off while digging for the treasure bags stuffed inside the bird, or any of the other usual turkey-roasting “fun.” It took me less than five minutes to get the turkey cooking.
You know what? It turned out pretty dang good! I relied too heavily on the suggested time on the package and overcooked it a bit, but it was still very tasty. When I checked the temperature after four hours, it was at 200 degrees. Oops. It even has one of those pop-up indicators showing when it’s done, but I wasn’t watching it closely enough (and it was hard to see through the bag). I couldn’t get a classic photo of a golden brown whole turkey because the dark meat was so tender it was falling off the bones. I could get the breast out intact, but the moist dark meat mostly fell apart. The skin turned out surprisingly brown, which I think was helped along with paprika. I was worried that it would be bland since I couldn’t season it myself, but the meat was very well flavored.
The package says it’s foolproof, and I have to agree IF you start checking it every 15 minutes after three hours. If you are new to making a Thanksgiving turkey, this is absolutely the way to have a stress-free day and impress your guests. Even if you are a turkey roasting pro, why not make your life easier and try to cook a frozen turkey without thawing or prep?
One last thing: This oven-ready turkey even includes a gravy packet that just needs to be heated with water. It has more ingredients than I would like to see in gravy since homemade is just butter, flour, stock, and seasonings. Still, it was perfectly delicious and even gluten free. Again, if you are nervous about making Thanksgiving dinner, you should absolutely go for it with this easy gravy shortcut!
This turkey would pair perfectly with these side dishes:
Thanks again to Jennie-O for sending me this Oven-Ready Frozen Turkey!