Cooking Turkey and Holiday Foods
Good Cooking's Basic Turkey Cooking Guide,
Yes, a Guide and Not a Recipe!
Eastern Wild Turkey - Picture
credit Gary M. Stolz, USFWS
How to Cook a Turkey---Basic Preparation and Roasting
Preheat oven to 325° or 350° F (see chart below) at least an hour before you
put the turkey in. Remove the neck, liver, and other
body parts from the turkey. Rinse the turkey inside and out twice with
cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place on several sheets of
plastic wrap or aluminum foil (this keeps your workspace clean) to season.
Brush the turkey with oil, margarine or melted butter and season with salt,
pepper or your favorite seasonings inside and out. Cut off the wing tips if you
and save for a stock. Truss the turkey (tie with string) or use the plastic or
metal clamps supplied with the turkey. Place the turkey on its side on a
wire rack in an uncovered roasting pan. Discard the aluminum foil you
seasoned it on and once again wash the area you were just working in with
disinfectant soap to prevent cross-contamination of the work surface.
Turning the turkey and roasting on all sides for an even
doneness is a restaurant's secret! Roast at your set temperature. Start the roasting on one side, turn to the other
after 45 minutes. Roast another 45 minutes on the other side and finish breast up, tented with foil
(to keep the breast moist) if you
like. Note that a 16-18 pound bird
will take about 4 3/4 hours. You need to take into consideration that you will
be turning the bird and opening the oven door several times. This will
lower the oven temperature and increase the cooking time. This is why my
time is longer than the 3 1/2 hours that other recipes call for a similar
size bird. Most recipes pretty much cook the turkey in one position
and basting may or may not occur. Adding a mirepoix after the first 45
minutes of roasting will give you great flavored pan juices to use for a
gravy or all by itself. For the mirepoix: use 2 cups thinly sliced onions, chopped celery,
chopped carrots and 3 cloves of garlic added to the pan. Start basting
with the pan juices every 30 minutes
after the first turning of the bird
and do it quickly as not to lower the oven temperature too much. After
another 45 minutes of roasting, turn the bird breast side up for the final
length of cooking time. At this point I recommend tenting the breast with
a loose sheet of aluminum foil to prevent the meat from drying
out---continue to baste evey 30 minutes. To check for doneness: internal
temperature should reach 165° F. when a thermometer is inserted in to the
turkey's thigh at the thickest part, or the turkey's timer should pop up. Remove
the turkey and let stand 30 minutes before carving.
Oven temperatures vary greatly from oven to oven so it is highly recommended
to buy a good quality oven thermometer to check your oven and become familiar
with how to adjust the oven's dial to correspond with the desired temperature.
You may also call a service technician from your stove's manufacturing service
center to calibrate the oven's controls. Do this a few weeks before your
Good Cooking's Turkey Roasting Time Table
Weight in pounds
||Cooking time in hours
½ - 3 hours
3 - 4
||4 ¾ - 5 hours
||5 - 5 ¾
||5 ¾- 6 ½ hours
Variables such as how many times you open the oven door and cooking other
items in the oven with the turkey, will affect the above times---use it
as a guide and remember that the only true way of testing doneness is to
use a probe thermometer, inserted in the thigh bone area, where it meets
the carcass bone. Safe food handling guidelines suggest a turkey be
cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
Use the above guide or
check out our new Java Script Turkey Cooking Time
Calculator. It's a computer generated app with more helpful
Photo from Taste of Home
If you have the time and want a challenge then try
It's a turkey stuffed with a duck and a chicken---Warning---I
hope you have patience to tackle this one! When you're done
only one word will describe it, Wow!
Original and never copied from another
website---recipes for your Feast!
Brining your Turkey
Corn Bread Dressing
Spinach Pear and Bacon Salad with
Scalloped Oysters aka. Oyster
Sweet Potato and Pecan Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
Parker House Rolls
Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
Roast Prime Rib of Beef
Golden Squash Soup with Sage
Rack of Lamb w/ Chipolte Chile
and Honey Glaze
Now that dinner is over, what are you going to do with
all of the leftovers?
Never fear, Good Cooking is here! Here are six easy recipes that will help
get out of the leftover holiday turkey rut.
Good Cooking's original suggestions---
Leftover mashed potatoes become-----Vegetarian Curried Vegetable Cutlets!
Leftover squash becomes-----Golden
Squash Soup with Sage!
Leftover stuffing becomes-----Turkey
Leftover cranberry sauce becomes----Low Fat Lemon and Cranberry Cheese Cake!
Leftover Salad becomes-----Turkey
Leftover white meat becomes-----A Triple Decker Turkey Club Sandwich!
Check out these links for additional help on cooking a turkey---