Coyotetale
Coyotetale
Leaping coyote in mid-air
Man in the
Maze

Home

Tubac Villager

SoAZ Weather

C-Mail

Kady

Milo

Flckr!

GD

Writing

Cooking

1's and 0's

Desert Quiz

Contact

Web Cams

Talking Turkey

Text Version

Cooking the bird...

Safe Turkey Cooking

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Check the wrapper to see how much the turkey weighs and determine approximate cooking time (see chart below). Remove the giblet bag and the neck from the turkey cavity. Wash the turkey inside and out and pat skin dry with paper towels.

2. Place turkey breast side up on a rack in a shallow (about 2 inches deep) roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer in thigh. Add 1/2 cup water to the bottom of pan, if desired.

3. Cover turkey loosely with a tent of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Roast the turkey until temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 180°F. Cooking time will vary. For example, a 20 pound turkey will take 4 1/4 to 5 hours to cook, check the temperature on the thermometer after 4 1/4 hours.

4. Meanwhile, mix the stuffing or dressing. Place in a casserole and pop it into the oven during the last hour or so of roasting time.

5. Remove the foil tent after 1 to 1 1/2 hours of cooking time to brown the skin. Brush with vegetable oil to enhance browning, if desired.

6. A whole turkey is done when the temperature reaches 180°F. The thigh juices should run clear (not pink) when pierced with a fork and the leg joint should move freely.

7. Allow the turkey to set 20 to 30 minutes before carving to allow juices to saturate the meat evenly.

Note: Cooking times do vary. Why? There are many reasons - oven temperature may not be completely accurate, the turkey may be very cold or partially frozen, and/or the roasting pan may be too small which inhibits the flow of heat. The USDA highly recommends use of a meat thermometer to determine doneness of turkey.

Stuffed Roast Turkey

For uniform cooking results, the USDA recommends cooking the stuffing outside of the bird. If you insist on stuffing the turkey, stuff loosely and follow the steps below.

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Check the wrapper to see how much the turkey weighs and determine approximate cooking time (see chart below). Remove the giblet bag from the breast and remove the neck from the turkey cavity. Wash the turkey inside and out and pat skin dry with paper towels.

2. Mix stuffing and lightly fill cavity. Allow 1/2 to 3/4 cup stuffing per pound of turkey. It is safer to understuff than to overstuff the turkey. Stuffing expands during cooking. Refrigerate any leftover stuffing and bake in greased casserole during the last hour of turkey roasting time.

3. Place turkey breast side up on a rack in a shallow (about 2 inches deep) roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer in thigh. Add up to 1/2 cup water to the bottom of the pan, if desired.

4. Cover turkey loosely with a tent of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Cooking time takes longer for a stuffed turkey. For example, a 20 pound stuffed turkey will take 4 1/4 to 5 1/4 hours to cook. ( See timetable below).

5. Remove the foil cover after about 1 to 1 1/2 hours of cooking to brown the skin. Brush with vegetable oil to enhance browning, if desired.

6. A whole turkey is done when the temperature in the thickest part of the inner thigh reaches 180°F and the stuffing is 165°F. The juices should run clear (not pink) when a l ong-tined fork is used to pierce the thickest part of the thigh.

7. Check the internal temperature of the stuffing. Insert the thermometer through the cavity into the thickest part of the stuffing and leave it for 5 minutes. Or use an instant red thermometer which will register the temperature after 15 seconds. The stuffing temperature will rise a few degrees after the turkey is removed from the oven. If the center of the stuffing has not reached 165°F after stand time, return the turkey to the oven and continue cooking.

8. Allow turkey to set 20 minutes before removing stuffing and carving to allow juices to saturate the meat evenly.

USDA Roasting Timetable for Fresh or Thawed Turkey at 325°F.

These times are approximate and should always be used in conjunction with a properly placed thermometer.

Unstuffed

8 to 12 pounds

2 3/4 to 3 hours

12 to 14 pounds

3 to 3 3/4 hours

14 to 18 pounds

3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours

18 to 20 pounds

4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours

20 to 24 pounds

4 1/2 to 5 hours

Stuffed

8 to 12 pounds

3 to 3 1/2 hours

12 to 14 pounds

3 1/2 to 4 hours

14 to 18 pounds

4 to 4 1/4 hours

18 to 20 pounds

4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours

20 to 24 pounds

4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours

(The USDA does not recommend cooking turkey in an oven set lower than 325°F.)

Detailed Cooking Time Table:

TURKEY Cooking Temperatures and Times

Oven Cooked

Approximate Cooking Time

Type

Temp.

Weight

Unstuffed

Stuffed

Turkey, whole




Breast, half
Breast, whole
Breast, whole
Drumsticks
Thighs
Wings

325F

8-12 lbs
12-14 lbs
14-18 lbs
18-20 lbs
20-24 lbs
2-3 lbs
4-6 lbs
6-8 lbs
3/4-1 lb
3/4-1 lb
6-8 oz

2 3/4-3 hrs
3-3 3/4 hrs
3 3/4-4 1/4 hrs
4 1/4-4 1/2 hrs
4 1/2-5 hrs
50-60 min
1 1/2-2 1/4 hrs
2 1/4-3 1/4 hrs
2-2 1/4 hrs
1 3/4-2 hrs
1 3/4-2 1/4 hrs

3-3 1/2 hrs
3 1/2-4 hrs
4-4 1/4 hrs
4 1/4-4 3/4 hrs
4 3/4-5 1/2 hrs

Start with meat at refrigerator temperature. Remove from oven when meat thermometer reads 175-180F; temperature will continue to rise as it stands.

Grilled

Approximate Cooking Time
Internal Temp. 180F

Type

Weight

Unstuffed

Stuffed

Whole turkey
(indirect heat)

8-12 lbs
12-16 lbs

2-3 hrs
3-4 hrs

 

Cooked at 350F in Oven Bag

Approximate Cooking Time

Type

Total
Weight

Regular
Size
10" x 16"

Large
Size
14" x 20"

Turkey Size
10" x
23 1/2"

Whole turkey, unstuffed

8-12 lbs
12-16 lbs
16-20 lbs
20-24 lbs

 

1 1/2-2 hrs


2-2 1/2 hrs
2 1/2-3 hrs
3-3 1/2 hrs

Whole turkey, stuffed

8-12 lbs
12-16 lbs
16-20 lbs
20-24 lbs

 

2-2 1/2 hrs


2 1/2-3 hrs
3-3 1/2 hrs
3 1/2-4 hrs

Turkey breast, bone-in

4-8 lbs

10-12 lbs

 

1 1/4-2 hrs


2 1/4 -
2 3/4 hrs

Turkey breast, boneless

2 1/2-3 lbs
5 lbs
8-12 lbs

1 1/4-1 3/4 hrs


2-2 1/4 hrs



3-3 1/2 hrs

Turkey drumsticks

1 1/2-2 lbs

2-3 lbs

1 1/2-1 3/4 hrs


1 1/2 -
1 3/4 hrs

 

Preheat oven to 350F. Add 1 Tbsp. flour to oven bag. Brush turkey with vegetable oil or butter. Remove poultry from oven when meat thermometer reaches 180F. If using a Turkey Size oven bag for foods smaller than 12 lbs., gather oven bag loosely around food, allowing room for heat circulation, close with nylon tie and cut away excess oven bag.


Oven Cooking Bag Method

Preparing a turkey in an oven cooking bag can be a safe and a delicious alternative to the traditional roasting method. In this technique, a large heat tempered plastic cooking bag especially designed for oven temperatures is used. Bags can be purchased in the paper goods section of most grocery stores. Instructions for use are printed on the box.

When using an oven-cooking bag, preheat the oven to 350°F. To prevent bursting, a tablespoon of dry flour is shaken around to coat the empty bag and slits are cut in the bag to allow steam to escape. The pan holding the turkey in the bag must be large enough so the bag does not hang over the sides. Allow ample space for the bag to expand during cooking so that it does not touch the top or sides of the oven or it will melt.

This method produces a moist-heat cooking environment. A meat thermometer can be inserted right through the plastic in the thickest part of the thigh. The turkey is done when the temperature reaches 180°F.

Aluminum Foil Wrapped Method

Wrapping and cooking the entire turkey in aluminum foil requires increased oven temperature to ensure safety. Preheat the oven to 450°F. This method actually steams the turkey in its own juices. It produces a moist bird with a light golden, non-crisp skin. The cooking time is reduced due to higher temperatures and the trapped steam inside the foil.

Brush the turkey with melted butter, vegetable oil or margarine. Tear off a piece of 18 inch wide heavy-duty aluminum foil that is 3 times longer than the turkey. Place the turkey lengthwise in the middle of the foil, breast side up. Bring the foil ends up overlapping the turkey. Insert the meat thermometer through the foil into the thickest part of the thigh.

Place turkey in a shallow roasting pan and bring sides of foil up around turkey. Do not make an airtight seal. To brown turkey: open foil during last 30 minutes of cooking. Roast until meat thermometer reads 180°F. Broth may accumulate in the foil during cooking. Reserve this flavorful broth for moistening stuffing or for making giblet gravy. Cooking time can be reduced by as much as 30 minutes to an hour compared to traditional roasting timetable.

Braised Method - Covered Roasting Pan

Braising is cooking the turkey in a small amount of water or stock in a covered roasting pan in a 325° to 350° oven. The roasting pan needs to be large enough to accommodate the turkey and the lid must fit snugly on the pan. Braising is a moist-heat method similar to the oven cooking bag method. The cavity of the turkey can be filled with onions, celery and other vegetables or with your favorite stuffing.

Insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh and cook to 180°F. Pour off the wonderfully flavorful cooking liquid that accumulates in the bottom of the pan and use it for a side dish of dressing. The turkey will brown lightly during braising and this method creates a moist tender turkey.

New Orleans Fried Turkey

New Orleans fried turkey is just what the name implies, a whole deep fried turkey. This method is used with chicken or with small turkeys. An 8 to 10 pound turkey is stuffed with garlic, onions, peppers and various seasonings and the entire bird is lowered into a huge vat of hot oil and fried until crispy and golden brown.

Turkey on the Grill

Overview:

1) brine, 2) baste, 3)smoke, 4) cook low and slow.

What you need:
Unstuffed turkey, meat thermometer, butter, olive oil, 2 tbsp allspice, 2 cups Kosher salt, 1/4 cup brown sugar, rosemary both dry and fresh, thyme, 1 tbsp peppercorns, sage, charcoal grill, ideally a large Weber kettle, charcoal, drip pan – a disposable roasting pan works well, chips for smoking (hickory or mesquite), food-grade container for brining such as a 5-gallon HDPE bucket with a lid.

2 Days Prior:
Prepare brine – bring 2 gallons water, 2 cups kosher salt, 1/4-cup light brown sugar just to the boiling point. Add 2 tbsp allspice, lots of fresh rosemary 1 tbsp sage & 1 tbsp thyme and some cracked peppercorns. Cover, remove from heat and let cool overnight. Or, use Alton Brown's brine recipe.

1 Day Prior:
In the morning, place brine in refrigerator. Check to be sure inside of turkey is thawed. It’s helpful to pull out neck and organs. In evening before bed, rinse bird thoroughly, place in clean brining bucket, completely immerse the bird in the chilled brine and cover the container. If cold outside, leave bucket somewhere safe from animals overnight. Otherwise, store in refrigerator.

Cooking Day:
After 8-10 hours of brining, pull the bird from the brine and rinse very thoroughly. Then pat dry and allow to air dry until cooking. Clean the grilling rack. Soak in water a half of a small bag of hickory chips. Put a sieve on the top to hold them in the water (a pot with a steamer works well). For planning, cooking time is about 15-20 minutes per pound, but prepare for some flex time.

Prepare a good amount of baste with fresh rosemary & thyme butter by heating on low: unsalted butter, herbs and a little olive oil (two to three sticks of butter and 1/2 to 3/4 cups of olive will make enough). After 20 minutes or so, turn off heat and let this cool until just warm. Baste between legs and body and tie the legs together. Baste the sides of the breast and inside of wings and tie the wings together. Insert a thermometer between a thigh and the body (not touching bone).

Cooking:
Brush the rack with olive oil and set aside. Start 30 - 50 coals, depending on kettle size. Once they’re turning gray, Work the ash remover to clear out as much potentially airborne ash as possible. Divide the hot charcoal pile in half. Place drip pan between the coals and put about 2 cups of water in it to provide moisture to the smoke during cooking. Place the cooking rack on the grill. Leave the bottom vents open. Put lid on grill and open the top vents about 1/4 to 1/2.

Baste bird and if desired and dust with powdered (dried) rosemary, thyme and sage (do not salt – the meat will be salty from the brine). Open grill, place the bird on the rack and replace lid.

Check the fire every 1/2-hour or so, adding 3 to 4 briquettes to each side every 40 to 50 minutes. Baste the turkey after you add the coals. Just before you put the lid back on, you can add presoaked (hickory or mesquite) chips on each side. The wet chips can be particularly helpful if you think you’ve added too many coals and the fire is getting too hot.

If the turkey starts to get too dark, place a piece of foil over it. Be aware that the smoking will make the turkey much darker than usual, but this is different than the darkness caused by heat.

Pull the bird when it reaches 180 degrees in the thickest portion of the thigh, and let it rest for at least a 1/2-hour. If the drip pan survives in a clean state, you can use this as a base for gravy.

Marinated Turkey

Marinating is a soaking technique, which enhances the flavor and tenderness of meat. Since commercial turkeys are young (4 to 6 months) and tender, the mission of this marinade is to spread flavor throughout the bird. Marinating liquid may contain herbs, spices, pepper, garlic, oil, salt and almost always an acid such as lemon juice, wine or vinegar.

Use glazed ceramic, glass and plastic as a holding vessel. A large stockpot or canning kettle lined with a turkey-sized oven-cooking bag can also be used. Add the turkey, breast end first, to the kettle and cover with prepared marinade. Always refrigerate the turkey during the marinating process and do not serve the leftover marinade unless it is cooked first.

Brine Method

Brining is a pretreatment in which the whole turkey to placed in a salt and water solution known as brine. This pretreatment produces a wonderfully moist and well-seasoned bird. Brining should be done in the refrigerator or in a cooler with 5 to 6 ice packs to keep the turkey and brine at 40 degrees or below during the entire brining process. Brining is more manageable with a rather small turkey from 12 to 14 pounds.

Table salt or kosher salt can be used to make the brine. Crystal kosher salt is recommended since table salt contains additives such as anti-caking ingredients, iodine and other additives. Table salt is also very finely ground and more is required to produce good results.

1. Start the brining method the day before you plan to cook the turkey. Start with a fresh or completely thawed turkey. Wash the bird inside and out and remove the giblet bag and neck.

2. In a large stockpot, plastic tub or cooler dissolve 2 cups kosher salt or 4 cups table salt in 2 gallons cold water. Add 1 cup sugar. Stir until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved.

3. Herbs and spices may be added to brine to enhance the flavor. Add several crushed bay leaves, several sprigs of dried thyme, or other dried herbs, if desired.

4. Place the turkey in the brine solution, breast down. Cover and chill for 6 to 8 hours. Or use the overnight method by reducing the salt and sugar amounts by 1/2 so the turkey does not retain too much salt.

5. Remove the turkey from brine, rinse inside and out under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels. Place on a shallow pan and refrigerate overnight. This allows the skin to dry out so it becomes crisp during roasting. This step may be omitted if desired.

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place turkey on shallow roasting pan. Tie legs together and tuck wings underneath the bird. Coat the skin with butter or olive oil. Cover the breast loosely with aluminum foil. Add 1 cup water to bottom of pan.

7. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the turkey. Check the wrapper to see how much the turkey weighs and determine the approximate cooking time (see chart). Roast the turkey until temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 180 degrees or thigh juices run clear when pierced with a fork.

8. During the last 1 to 1 1/2 hours of cooking time remove the aluminum foil from the breast and baste with pan juices to encourage browning. Add more water to the pan if necessary.

9. When the turkey is done, allow it to set 20 minutes before carving to allow juices to saturate the meat evenly.

 

Spiced Apple Cider Brined Turkey

1. Use a mortar and pestle or spice grinder to crush whole peppercorns and allspice. Do not grind to a powder; large pieces should remain. In a 4-quart saucepan combine water, kosher salt, sugar, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves and ginger. Stir as you bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Boil gently for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Add chilled apple cider. Stir to combine. Refrigerate brine while preparing the turkey.

3. Remove turkey from wrapper. Remove giblets and neck from body cavity and neck area. Refrigerate these parts for stock for making gravy, later.

4. Rinse turkey inside and out under cold running water. Twist wing tips and tuck behind turkey. Place two plastic oven cooking, one inside the other. Set the bags in a large stockpot or roasting pan. Or use a large plastic tub, bags not needed. Roll top of bags over for ease in handling. Place the turkey, breast first, inside the double thickness of bags. Do not use trash bags or any bag that is not food-safe (chemicals from bag will leach into turkey).

5. Pour chilled brine into turkey cavity and around outside of turkey. Pour an additional two cups cold water around turkey. Secure bag with twist tie. If using a roasting pan, turn turkey breast down. Rotate turkey four times during brining so brine reaches all parts. If using a stockpot the brine should cover the turkey, rotation is not needed. Refrigerate turkey for 12-14 hours.

6. Remove turkey from brine. Rinse under cold running water. Rinse well inside and out. Pat skin dry with towels.

7. Place turkey on a platter and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. This will allow the skin to dry. The skin will be very crisp with this drying step, however this step can be omitted. Turkey skin will still brown, but it will be less crispy.

8. Preheat oven to 350 F. Transfer turkey to a heavy roasting pan. Stuff the bird with chopped vegetables and zest. Position meat thermometer in thickest part of thigh. Tie legs together and tuck wings underneath the bird.

9. Cover the skin with softened butter or olive oil. Add 1-cup water to bottom of pan and place turkey in hot oven. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the turkey. Check the wrapper and cook according to weight. Roast turkey until temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 180 F or the thigh juices run clear when pricked with a long tined fork or leg wiggles freely in the joint. A 12-pound turkey will take about 3 hours and 15 minutes to roast. Add 15 minutes for each additional pound.

10. After 2 hours of roasting, baste turkey with some of the pan drippings, if desired. If skin is browning too quickly, cover with aluminum foil during last hour of cooking time. Resist the urge to open the oven during roasting time. Loss of heat and moisture will interfere with roasting time.

11. When turkey is done (180 F), allow the bird to sit 20 to 30 minutes before carving. This will allow the juices to redistribute evenly through the meat. Reserve pan juices for use in gravy, dressing, etc. Store leftover turkey promptly after the meal.