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What are Turkey Lifters?

By J. Beam
Updated May 16, 2024
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Turkey lifters are kitchen gadgets whose name is derived from their most common use. They best resemble small pitchforks and are used for lifting a turkey from its roasting pan to a serving platter. Though retailers sell more of these gadgets near Thanksgiving than any other time of year, they are not limited to lifting turkeys.

Generally made of stainless steel, the best turkey lifters are sturdy enough to lift up to a 30-pound (13.6 kg) turkey without bowing or bending. They are also useful for lifting other roasted meats from pans and transporting to platters for serving. In addition to providing an easy way to transfer meats from pan to platter, turkey lifters are also handy for holding the meat in place while carving or slicing.

Turkey lifters are not expensive, and can be purchased at any retail store that sells kitchen items and house wares. They typically come in sets of two. When selecting them, look for a set that is not packaged. This will allow you to examine the construction of the lifters, and test them for a comfortable grip and quality design. It's also important to make sure the turkey lifters have a solid handle and that the tines are securely attached. Since they will primarily be used for lifting hot, heavy, expensive meats, quality in design and construction is very important.

With the new popularity of silicon tools for cooking and baking, there is a creative addition to the traditional utensil-style turkey lifter. A silicone mat or net with sturdy and flexible handles on either side is a very convenient and useful alternative. These resemble a hammock for the turkey or roast, and sit beneath it as the meat cooks. When it's ready to be moved, grabbing the handles and air-lifting the bird to a serving tray is easy and and can be much less awkward than with traditional tools.

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Discussion Comments
By yournamehere — On Dec 16, 2010

How exactly does one go about choosing a turkey lifter? My sister said that she wants one for Christmas, and for the life of me I don't know how to go about choosing one.

I'm thinking about going with one of the silicone ones, just because they are the newer and more innovative model, and also because I think they look cuter.

However, I kind of wonder whether it would really be sturdy enough for a thirty pound bird -- she likes to cook the really gigantic ones, you know, the ones that you have to get the extra-large fryer for.

Do you all have any advice when it comes to buying a turkey lifter? Like, any brands that are particularly good or anything? And should I go with metal or silicone? Thanks!

By LittleMan — On Dec 14, 2010

Oh, this article is so right, if you are like I am, and cook a big turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas every year, then a turkey lifter is an absolute must.

It just has so many benefits. First, your bird cooks more evenly. I don't know if you've ever noticed, but a lot of times when you cook a turkey it's really hard to get it to cook to the same degree all the way through. I always used to completely toast the top of mine and then end up with the middle just barely done. However, with a turkey lifter, it cooks better all around since you're getting hot air all around the bird instead of just on the top.

Another thing that's really great about a turkey lifter is that you don't get "soggy bottom," where the turkey gets all mushy on the bottom since it sits still for so long. With the lifter, you get almost a rotisserie effet as the hot air goes all around the bird.

So I would totally recommend getting one. Even if you only use it once or twice a year (and believe me, once you use it you'll get addicted too), it's definitely worth it.

By galen84basc — On Dec 11, 2010

When it comes to turkey lifters, it's really better to shell out for agood one to begin with than to get one of the cheapy aluminum ones.

There is nothing more rustrating than trying to keep our turkey from collapsing on one of those things, and opening the door of your oven a tone otimes while you're cooking jus tto pick that thing back up really messes with your cooking time.

So really, do yourself a favor and get a high quality turkey lifter to begin with. I only use metal ones, though I've heard that some of the silicone ones are OK too.

Just get a good one -- you'll thank yourself for it later!

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