You won’t regret cooking turkey in a crockpot! It is tender! Try it and let us know what you think.
- One 14# turkey, thawed (Smaller fits in pot more easily, but my analysis at the end is for a 14# turkey I cooked.)
- Seasoned Garlic Salt (I had Lawry’s Course Ground Garlic Salt with Parsley)
- 1 Tablespoon of chicken base or 1 cube of bouillon
- An oval crockpot
In the crockpot, add 1 cup water with a crushed chicken bouillon cube (or use 1 cup chicken broth, or 1 cup water with a tablespoon chicken base mixed in). (Chicken base from a jar, a paste, is great to keep on hand.)
To crockpot: Remove neck, heart, giblets from cavity and place whole turkey, breast up, and sprinkle with seasoned garlic salt. My 14# turkey needed to be cut up to fit with lid. I cut off legs, thighs, wings. I also, importantly, cut out the backbone with ribs and cut off the tail. This gave much needed space in the crockpot, as well as not having to pick out lots of small bones from the pot later.
If cutting the turkey: Save the meaty back, neck, and fatty tail for making stock later. Put this “waste” in the freezer in a freezer bag. (It’s really not waste, though.)
Arrange turkey pieces, heart and giblets in crockpot (with water/broth as above) and sprinkle with seasoned garlic salt.
Cover, cook on high 8 hours, or if overnight on low 12 hrs.
After cooked: Remove meat to a platter or container. Pick out bones and skin from crockpot and save in the freezer with waste saved earlier.
For the remaining liquid in the crockpot: Place a screen strainer on top of a clean pot and pour (strain) the liquid from the crockpot into the screened pot. Add any solids to your saved waste.
Using a fat separator, pour the screened broth into the separator. Place separated broth in a bowl with a lid. If you don’t have a separator you can refrigerate the broth and skim the fat later. This broth is for gravy. Now you have your turkey dinner meat and gravy broth. Refrigerate for later or prepare gravy now and enjoy your meal!
Gravy: If you don’t have your own gravy recipe: Put broth in a pan on the stove. Bring to a low boil. Mix equal amounts of corn starch and hot tap water in a small glass then slowly pour into the broth while continually whisking broth. Still whisking, add some thyme and black pepper to taste. If too thick, add a little water at a time. If too thin, add a little corn starch/water mixture addition. If it needs more meaty flavor, stir in a little chicken base or bouillon.
Turkey Stock from Bones for Soup: Retrieve waste from the freezer. Defrost (in microwave is ok) and roast (bake) at 420° until brown. Roasted bones are flavorful and make a rich stock. Place roasted items in a stockpot. Add water, enough to cover bones 3-4 inches. Add: Cut a big onion in half, skin on, 3 celery stalks cut in half, a large carrot cut in half, and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer and let simmer, uncovered, until reduced down a few inches, about 6 hrs, until it tastes good to you. Strain and retain stock, free of any solids, for use when making soup from your favorite Noodle or Rice recipe. You can freeze the stock for soup later. Remember to freeze some pieces of turkey, too, to cut up into your favorite soup recipe.
How does this all shake out economically? You’ll get multiple turkey dinners and soup from this bird!
Out of a 14# turkey I got 4#-1.5oz meat (about 30% meat). Wow. Not much, huh? That’s 9#-14.5oz waste (about 70%).
Except! I will make soup after roasting bones and skin (waste).
So I guess that’s great! Especially since the turkey was 29 cents a pound at Thanksgiving time. Meat without bones then equates to $.99 a pound, and broth is a bonus. Buy extra turkeys during the holiday and freeze them. They freeze a year and these meats for wonderful sandwiches have no nitrates and preservatives. Sure beats $6.99 a pound for unhealthy preserved cold cuts! A winner!