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FREDERICKSBURG, PA – November 6, 2012 – More than 50 million American families will sit down to a traditional turkey dinner this Thanksgiving. Bell & Evans, retailers of The Excellent Turkey™, offers excellent tips on choosing the right turkey – and the best recipe – for your Thanksgiving dinner.

“Bell & Evans turkeys give you a choice far better than your limited supermarket options of fresh or frozen,” says Scott Sechler, owner of Bell & Evans. This holiday season, Bell & Evans offers you the choice of three fresh, whole turkeys – Premium Fresh Young Turkeys, Brined Young Turkeys and Free Range Organic Turkeys.

All Bell & Evans turkeys are all-natural, raised without antibiotics and fed a healthy all-vegetable diet.

The Bell & Evans Excellent Turkey is bred to grow slower. According to Epicurious Magazine, the additional maturity time results in a tender, moist, richer flavor. Bell & Evans turkeys are selectively bred to produce an extremely broad breast with up to 54 percent more white meat than other brands. Confirmed to be “Lite” by the USDA, Bell & Evans turkeys have 55 percent less fat and 25 percent fewer calories than other turkeys.

Bell & Evans turkeys are fresh – never frozen. Sechler recommends using only fresh turkeys, for a moist, tender turkey dinner, without needing an extra day for defrosting your bird. He points out you should plan on at least one pound of turkey for each person at the table.

For those who prefer their Thanksgiving turkey with stuffing, Sechler suggests preparing your stuffing and turkey separately. According to Food Network Magazine, you should cook your turkey until the thigh reaches 165 degrees before adding stuffing. Sechler says preparing the stuffing separately ensures that it is thoroughly cooked without overcooking the bird.

A favorite Thanksgiving turkey recipe at Bell & Evans is also an easy one to master. You’ll need a large shallow roasting pan, a small saucepan, enough cheesecloth to cover your bird, ½ pound of butter, and ½ teaspoon each of dried sage, thyme, marjoram and crushed rosemary.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Rinse your turkey inside and out and pat dry. If you prepare your stuffing separately, you may want to place onion quarters, celery stalks, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper in the turkey before roasting to add flavor and richness to the drippings that will come in handy when you make your gravy.

Cut your cheesecloth to a length that will cover the turkey and unfold it to a single thickness. Melt your butter in the saucepan, and add your spices. Place the cheesecloth into the saucepan, thoroughly saturating it.

Place your turkey in the pan, breast-side up. Place the pan in the oven, and reduce temperature to 325 degrees. After 15 minutes, drape the butter-soaked cheesecloth over your bird, completely covering it. After one hour, baste your turkey every 15 minutes to keep the cheesecloth moist. Remove the cheesecloth for the last 30 minutes of roasting time to crisp the skin.

Sechler says you should remember to place the turkey into the oven at refrigerator temperature. The colder the bird, the longer it will take to cook.

Roasting time varies according to your oven and the size of your bird. As a guide, an 8-12-pound turkey will take 2-3 hours. Up to 16 pounds will take 3-4 hours. Up to 20 pounds will take about 5 hours.

Finally, don’t carve your turkey until it has been out of the oven for at least 20 minutes. Sechler says this extra time will permit the juices to be evenly absorbed and the meat will slice much easier.

Bell & Evans Turkeys are available in November and December at select retailers east of the Rockies.