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Thanksgiving is getting closer and I want to cook a turkey. However, I want to cook a test turkey first.

Problem is, the turkeys in the grocery stores will be massive, and I just want to practice on a small turkey.

I was wondering if I can just use a chicken for practice? What do you do when you want to practice something before serving it to guests?

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Depends what you're trying to practice? The thing most people have trouble with is simply overcooking it, because they don't use a thermometer! –  Jefromi Oct 10 '13 at 5:24
    
@Jefromi, I'm surprised: I would have expected most people to undercook it because they're used to cooking small birds like chickens. –  Peter Taylor Oct 10 '13 at 9:30
    
@PeterTaylor I don't mean they're guessing. They follow instructions, probably of the form X minutes per pound, which are designed to be conservative and make sure the whole thing gets cooked. And maybe they test it by cutting into it, probably still erring on the side of caution, and not taking into account the additional cooking that'll happen after they take it out of the oven. –  Jefromi Oct 10 '13 at 14:18
    
Or they rely on that stupid useless button. –  mikeTheLiar Oct 11 '13 at 10:39
    
@mikeTheLiar Yeah. Step one, throw away the damn button! –  Jolenealaska Oct 13 '13 at 18:35

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I like to practice too if it's something I've never made before. Roasting a chicken will give you an opportunity to practice the all-important skill of correctly placing the thermometer, but chicken has a different flavor than turkey. One option is to get the smallest turkey you can find, experiment with a brine (which I highly recommend for roasted turkey) and perhaps go into Thanksgiving with a bit more confidence. You can always cut up the turkey meat and freeze it for sometime after Thanksgiving when you're no longer sick of turkey. Leftover turkey makes great tamales or enchiladas.

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