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Is the Jennie-O Oven-Ready Turkey Really Worth It?

A few days ago the folks at Jennie-O sent us one of their Oven-Ready freezer to oven turkeys. According to their website these turkeys — which have been around for the last four years — require, "No Thawing. No Mess. No Prep. No Apron." That's right, no thawing. You literally take it out of the freezer and you stick it in the oven. In fact, you don't have to touch the bird ever.

I must admit, upon learning how it works — cooked in "Fool-Proof" bag — I was more than just a little skeptical. However, in the name of tasty eats, I knew I had to try it.

So how did it turn out? Was it really "fool-proof" and was it tasty? To find out the answer to these questions and more,

When I opened the outside container, I was met with an 11.8 pound turkey vacuum sealed inside of a translucent yellow bag. I followed the directions and cut a few slits in the plastic in order to break the vacuum seal. I then pulled the plastic away from the bird, placed it in a roasting pan and tossed in to a preheated 350F oven. That was it; my hands never once made contact with the actual bird.

Fast forward several hours and I was cutting into a succulent and juicy turkey. The skin was a little on the salty side, but the flavor was classic and not overpowering. It was also tender and juicy on the inside. As someone who loves to cook, I found it to be a little bit odd; there were a few seasonings I would have liked to use. However, I know quite a few people who don't love cooking and just want to have a nice bird on Thanksgiving. If you're one of those folks, then I would recommend you give it a try.

The experience is absolutely effortless, but not totally flawless. I didn't wait for the popup button to pop up — I find that by that time, the birds are usually overcooked — so I went with the thermometer method instead. Unfortunately, due to the plastic bag that the turkey is roasting — or is it steaming? — in, it was really difficult to see exactly where you were sticking the thermometer. I also found that gravy made from the drippings was too salty with a hint of artificial flavor to it. You also can't make any stuffing in it, and it does not come with the giblets/innards pack like most turkeys.

Overall I'd say, if you love cooking, then go ahead and skip out on this one, but if you're looking for a simple way to get a pretty good Thanksgiving bird on the table, then rush out and pick one up. The turkey will come out juicy and you won't have to worry about defrosting. The price on Jennie-O's website says $57, however I saw them at my local Safeway for under $25.

Have you tried it? If so, what did you think?

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