Skills: Cooking turkey 2
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Today’s tips are similar to what I talked about a couple of weeks ago, but I added more information about  cooking a turkey:

  • *Cover with foil and let rest 20-30 minutes out of the oven before carving to allow the juices to settle back into the meat. This is one of the most critical steps in roasting any kind of meat because the turkey or roast will continue to cook for another 10-20 minutes outside the oven AND this process will produce a moister meat.  

  • Breast meat and stuffing should register 165 degrees and the thickest part of the thigh should register 175-180 degrees on a meat thermometer

  • If you aren’t planning on stuffing your bird fill the empty cavity with cut up fruits like apples, oranges or lemons and fresh herbs to add to the flavor of the meat

  • Fold the wing tips under the bird to keep them from getting over cooked

  • Brining- don’t brine self-basting turkeys. Brining is great for fresh, natural and minimally processed turkeys. Brining creates a very moist turkey. Brine a 14-16 pound turkey for 6 hours.  The turkey can be brined the day before you plan to cook it. Make sure your brine is cold before putting the turkey in the liquid. Brine only in plastic or stainless steel.  Rinse the turkey thoroughly before cooking.

  • Butter/seasonings under the skin- . With your hands, carefully separate breast skin from the meat and spread seasoned butter, herbs, and spices in between. Season outside with salt and pepper before cooking.  DON’T deep fry.

  • Roasting- low heat (325° F) 10-12 minutes per pound, recommended that you roast upside down and covered with foil until there is about ˝ hour left in your cooking time.  Remove foil and flip the turkey breast side up to brown. This unusual step boasts of a moister turkey breast. Another method is to simply tightly cover the breast with foil and remove for the last ˝ hour to brown- no turning necessary.

  • Roasting/stuffed- low heat (325° F) 12-15 minutes per pound.  Loosely pack the stuffing into the turkey’s cavity. The stuffing should register 160-165° F to be safe to eat.  If the stuffing isn’t hot enough and the turkey is done, remove the stuffing and put in a greased casserole and continue to bake while the turkey is resting.

  • Roasting- high heat (400°-425° F) 10 minutes per pound for a stuffed turkey, 8 minutes per pound for an unstuffed bird.  This process creates a very crispy skin and doesn’t dry out the meat as much as a low heat roasted turkey. A self-basting turkey is not recommended for this cooking method. Use a heavy duty roasting pan and not a disposable aluminum one. Make sure that the liquid in the pan doesn’t run dry.  Try not to open the oven door because that will drop the temperature of the oven.

  • Roasting in an oven bag- medium heat (350° F), 15-16 minutes per pound, make sure to spray the inside of the bag with cooking spray so it doesn’t stick to the bird. Place the stuffed or unstuffed bird on top of cut up vegetables inside the bag for added flavor to your gravy.  Make sure to cut a few slits in the bag to allow steam to escape.

  • Deep fat frying- use a fresh turkey that has been brined and no more than 14 pounds.  Use only peanut oil. To determine the correct amount of oil place the turkey in the pot. Add water until it reaches 1 to 2 inches above the turkey. Remove the turkey and note the water level, using a ruler to measure the distance from the top of the pot to the surface of the water. Pour out the water and dry the pot thoroughly. Dry the turkey thoroughly before putting in the hot oil. Do not deep fry a stuffed turkey or a self-basting turkey.

  • Grilling- use a small turkey no larger than 12 pounds. Allow 15 minutes per pound. The turkey will have a great smoky taste, but there won’t be any juices available to make gravy.  Make gravy with chicken stock and cider as an accompaniment.                                         



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