Despite being associated with Thanksgiving and getting treated like a celebratory meal, turkeys are among the best-served white meat dishes around the world, at any time.
They are big birds. This makes their preparation a handful and tedious. It is a process that consumes a lot of time as well as being rigorous. Some people prefer buying packaged and pre-cooked turkeys.
Others who take the long route of preparation from scratch to smoking and making the bird ready, enjoy the extra benefits of a savory homemade meal.
They get to dictate the ingredients they want for the turkey meat’s injection, the smoking method, and other beneficial factors.
Due to its size, the meat is likely to have leftovers. Reheating is the only choice there is if you want to retain the original flavors and texture of the turkey.
You can use the oven, microwave, or other methods such as Sous-Vide. The meat should be slowly heated in low heat to prevent dryness. The suitable temperature for reheating is 250° F.
For those who prefer buying packaged smoked turkeys, reheating them is recommended. This means that you’ll be doing that to the whole bird, unlike in the home-smoked poultry where you’ll be heating scattered leftover parts.
Basic Instructions for Reheating Smoked Turkey
Turkeys have incredible versatility. If proper care is not applied during reheating, it can turn from soft, savory, and mouthwatering to a hard crisp of chewy and tasteless meat.
Leftovers make yummy snacks when reheated and served alongside other dishes.
Turkey sandwiches are an example of the diverse healthy snacks that can be derived from these leftovers. They are low in calories and high in nutrients.
Shredded turkey, contributes to the thickness of soups when used as an ingredient. Turkey drippings are responsible for thickening gravy when used to prepare it.
Before reheating packaged or leftover meat from the freezer or refrigerator, you must first thaw it. Cooking such a turkey before defrosting can lead to dire health consequences.
How to Reheat a Whole Turkey?
The first step is to defrost your turkey and bring it to room temperature. This takes about 60 minutes to 4 hours depending on how long it was frozen. It can be done through refrigeration or by leaving the bird on a tray in open spaces until the frost melts away.
This method requires patience, focus, and precision. A lot of attention is required to make sure that the meat is not overheated or drained of all its juices and moisture.
The main focus should be getting the turkey heated proportionally and evenly in all parts.
What is the Right Temperature to Reheat Smoked Turkey?
The recommended temperature for reheating turkey ranges between 250 degrees and 350° F. If you decide to do it at 250 degrees Fahrenheit, the process becomes slow. Regardless, the results are good because the meat does not lose any moisture or end up too dry.
350° F yields quick results but it comes with consequences. The meat remains drained from moisture, tough to chew, and very dry.
Wrapping the leftovers or full bird in foil during the process locks in the juices and the heat. This speeds up the process.
The meat’s temperature should also be checked from its insides.
When reheating the pre-smoked and packaged bird, 40° to 100° F is the correct temperature to consider it ready. This amount of heat gets the meat out of the danger zone according to the health guidelines for heating or cooking meat.
Fresh turkey that has not been cooked or smoked before, is considered ready when the internal temperature reads a165° F. A probe thermometer comes in handy as far as recording the accurate temperature is concerned.
What is the Correct Time Range to Reheat Smoked Turkey?
If you are slow heating at 250° to 275 ° F, you require about three to four hours before you can consider it ready for consumption.
At 325° F, 2½ hours are enough to get it ready. Again, a smaller turkey may take less time than the big one.
On most occasions, the internal temperature is the major determinant as to whether the meat can be served or not.
After heating, another ½ hour is spent resting the meat still wrapped up in aluminum foil. The time is taken to let it suck in flavors and retain its moist texture.
The number of hours spent in reheating also relies greatly on the apparatus such as the microwave and oven used for reheating.
How to Prepare Leftovers for Reheating?
Leftovers are usually put in storage containers before getting tossed into the freezer or refrigerator.
So, the first thing to do before reheating the meat is to take it out of the freezer and defrost it.
After that, you can choose to rub the poultry or coat it with a similar seasoning as the ones used originally.
This maintains its texture and refreshes its flavors.
You can now put it in the microwave or oven, having made the necessary temperature settings.
How to Reheat in a Microwave
A microwave can be used in this process. Once your frozen turkey has reached room temperature, bathe it in a bowl containing broth or stoke. This gives it a moist coating that can withstand microwave heat. Alternatively, you can use olive oil, butter, or wine vinegar.
After that, set the ideal temperature on your microwave and wait for the countdown to come to an end before delving into the savory pieces of poultry.
Excess meat can be stored to be eaten later – about four days into storage. Getting creative with your prepping tactics plays a major role in determining how soft or dry the outcome will be. You can serve reheated turkey with different side dishes per your liking.